tnef madness

Kevin Miller Kevin_Miller at
Mon Jun 9 18:32:06 IST 2014

Just a quick followup.  After experimenting with the internal and external TNEF decoders in MailScanner to no avail we narrowed down the issue to only messages sent to my internal user.  The sender was able to email me in both plain and html formats with and without attachments.  It turns out that having her delete her nickname entry in Outlook for Jane (the internal user) was the cure.  Apparently whatever is cached there will override default or run-time settings.  TNEF is still problematic in some cases, but in this case it was yet another odd Microsoft command decision to behave oddly that hindered the troubleshooting.

I stumbled across this page: which provided the necessary clue to at least work around the problem.  Hope it is helpful to others…

Kevin Miller
Network/email Administrator, CBJ MIS Dept.
155 South Seward Street
Juneau, Alaska 99801
Phone: (907) 586-0242, Fax: (907) 586-4500
Registered Linux User No: 307357
From: mailscanner-bounces at [mailto:mailscanner-bounces at] On Behalf Of Martin Hepworth
Sent: Friday, June 06, 2014 12:00 AM
To: MailScanner discussion
Subject: Re: tnef madness

you tried using the external tnef scanner at all?

Martin Hepworth, CISSP
Oxford, UK

On 6 June 2014 00:28, Kevin Miller <Kevin_Miller at<mailto:Kevin_Miller at>> wrote:
I've been having trouble with tnef attachements from one person.  Most get through OK, but this one is stumping me.  The sender is not using rich text format.  The mail administrator at her site sent me the following:

" I have deleted Anita's outlook profile and recreated it and have also checked the Exchange settings to see if it is enforcing rich-text format over the user's settings (it is not).  Her email still gets bounced back when sent as HTML with or without an attachment.  Her email is successful as plain text without an attachment, but fails with an attachment.  The attachment is a PDF."

It works for other users at this site - it's just her email that is acting oddly.  She's using Outlook - I'm not sure what version or which version of Exchange they're on.

Looking in the /var/spool/MailScanner/quarantine/20140605 I see a couple of odd directories:
mxg:/var/spool/MailScanner/quarantine/20140605 # l
total 145
drwxrwx---  6 root www    160 Jun  5 13:05 ./
drwxrwx--- 33 root www    800 Jun  5 09:47 ../
drwxrwx---  2 root www 123760 Jun  5 15:04 nonspam/
drwxrwx---  2 root www     72 Jun  5 12:22 s55K40Y6019591/
drwxrwx---  2 root www     72 Jun  5 13:05 s55Kkmnf026492/
drwxrwx---  2 root www  24240 Jun  5 15:01 spam/

Normally I just see nonspam and spam.
Within s55K40Y6019591/ is a single file named message.  Contents are at
I munged the email addresses, and stripped out the middle of the attachment but all else is otherwise intact.

TNEF settings in MailScanner.conf:

Expand TNEF = yes
Use TNEF Contents = replace
Deliver Unparsable TNEF = no
TNEF Expander  = internal
TNEF Timeout = 120

In Mailwatch, I see this when looking at the message:
message/rfc822                  20140605/nonspam/s55Kkmnf026492
message/rfc822\0117bit  20140605/s55Kkmnf026492/message

No idea what rfc822\0117bit indicates but suspect it's a clue...

Kevin Miller
Network/email Administrator, CBJ MIS Dept.
155 South Seward Street
Juneau, Alaska 99801
Phone: (907) 586-0242, Fax: (907) 586-4500
Registered Linux User No: 307357

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