Microsoft KB Archive/173194

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Article ID: 173194

Article Last Modified on 10/27/2006


  • Microsoft Exchange Client 4.0 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Exchange Client 5.0 for Macintosh

This article was previously published under Q173194


Microsoft Exchange Macintosh clients are unable to open attachments that require a third-party application to open them. The attachment is delivered with a generic icon and when the user tries to open it, the user gets the following error message:

File format cannot be read


The file type needs to be defined on the Macintosh workstation whether the workstation belongs to the sender or to the recipient.


To resolve this problem, you need to modify the appropriate file associations in the Exchange Preferences file.

NOTE: To do any of the following, you need a third-party Macintosh application called ResEdit.

Before attempting the following change, you must know the appropriate file extension, creator, and type. To get this information, start ResEdit, and on the File Menu, click Get File/Folder Info, and select one of the files in question.

  1. Make a backup copy of the Exchange Preferences file. In the System folder, click the Preferences folder, and click the Exchange Preferences file icon. From the File menu, click Duplicate. This is just a precautionary measure in case using ResEdit causes a problem with your Preferences file.
  2. If it's not already running, start ResEdit.
  3. Open the Exchange Preferences file.
  4. Open the STR # section.
  5. Double-click Mac File Types.
  6. For every file type, there should be a string entry. To modify a file association, simply select the file association you want to edit. To enter a new string, on the Resource menu, click Insert New Field. Use the format:


  7. After the appropriate information has been entered, save the file.
  8. When the Exchange Macintosh client is started, the edited or new file association is available.


To successfully open an attachment that has a generic icon:

  1. Save the attached file to the hard disk drive.
  2. Start the application.
  3. Open the file.


The creator and type need to be four characters long. Because the type is usually only three characters, a space needs to be added at the end. For example:

Value Name: DAD2:drw2 (this can be case sensitive)
Data Type: REG_SZ String: .cvs

Keywords: kbprb KB173194