Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Internal E-Mail Button: Comprehensive Review of Attachment Problem.

Since August we have observed a series of issues affecting the ability to send documents using the "Internal E-Mail" button from TrialWorks.   This e-mail/blog is re-stating some of the known items as well as introduces the impacts of Microsoft Exchange on the issue.    This article summarizes existing information and introduces new sources of conflict into the mix.



When users send links via the "Internal E-Mail" button, or any other operation that performs the same function, the recipients may see the following behaviors:

·         Missing attachment and message "Outlook blocked access to the following potentially unsafe attachments:<filename>".

·         Present attachment with a failed open attempt that reads: "Operation Failed".  This specific cause must be confirmed as the issue by attempting to open the sent message from the TrialWorks E-Mail Tab, and then opening the attachment.  If the e-mail from the e-mail tab lists the error in bullet-1, than the problem is relevant to this article.   Outlook "Operation Failed" messages have many other causes.



The causes of this issue include four scenarios:

1.       Client-Side Microsoft Updates.  Updates labeled KB980373 for Microsoft Outlook 2003, and labeled as KB980376 for Microsoft Outlook 2007.   They can be manually removed from the affected computers, and blocked from being reintroduced.  In addition, the referenced articles provide "alternative solutions" such as modifying the registry.  However, the remaining causes outlined will influence the success of any operation.

2.       More Client-Side Microsoft Updates. Microsoft Outlook Security Updates that prevent access to "shortcut" attachments.  Updates labeled as KB2293428 for Outlook 2003, and KB2288953 Outlook 2007.  Removing these items, in conjunction with Cause #1, may resolve the issue unless the remaining factors listed here are present.

3.       Microsoft Outlook 2010.   The 2010 version of Outlook natively blocks shortcuts to network files.  The Microsoft documentation indicates that Outlook 2010 is not affected by the updates, which is technically true.   Outlook 2010 prevents access to those files.  However, the "alternative solution" registry edits published by Microsoft may overcome the security issues if Exchange 2007 or lower is present.

4.       Exchange 2010 Mailbox Store.  Adds additional complexity to the situation, as mailboxes which use Outlook 2007/2010 remain restricted from opening shortcut attachments. In these cases, the "operation failed" messages are more common.



TrialWorks 10.08e was designed to address Cause #1 in this article.    In many cases, it works through Cause #2 & #3.  The upgrade manually adjusts the registry settings to permit the "newly disallowed" attachments in Outlook 2003 and 2007. However, Outlook 2010's native behavior is questionable. In some cases, the registry edits work and no further steps are necessary.    The upgrade does not address these issues under Exchange 2010; the root security settings responsible for the restriction are currently being examined.  We currently do not have a recommendation for making changes to your Exchange environment.



The update and registry edit are temporary solutions.  Our development team is working aggressively to re-develop the attachment system in ways that are more compliant with new Microsoft security recommendations for Outlook and Exchange.