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email links "file" not available in "Launch Application"

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Doug Nelson
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Post Posted February 16th, 2012, 9:19 am

Why is the "file" option no longer available in Windows 7 when clicking on file links in Thunderbird email? We send a lot of links like (file://///ntserver/file.txt or file://///ntserver/file.pdf). Using the same verison of Thunderbird (10.0.1), the file option is available when running Windows XP. I have an image of the "launch application" window for both Windows XP and Windows 7 but am unable to paste them here. The window says, "This link needs to be opened with an application." "Send to:" and then "file" is an option above the "Choose an Application" option in Windows XP. However, in Windows 7, we cannot get the file option to appear. If we choose an application, then it tries to open all links using the same application - in other words, if we choose notepad, then it tries to open pdfs using notepad and if we choose Adobe Reader, it tries to open text files using Adobe Reader. Under XP, the file option is great because the system then determines which application to use based on the file extension. Please help!

tanstaafl
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Post Posted February 16th, 2012, 5:56 pm

If you checked "use this from now on" you need to change the action in tools -> options -> attachments to "always ask". I noticed that the helper I added for the file link gets added there.

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Links_to_loca ... o_not_work talks about needing to add some capability.policy settings to override the security setting but I didn't need to. That doesn't sound right. I sent links to local files on my hard disk in messages to my IMAP account.

Under vista I can get it to view a .txt file using Notepad++ but when I try to have it use Irfanview to open a .jpg file it launches Irfanview, but complains about the files headers. If I tell it to use windows photo gallery instead of irfanview no error messages, but it acts like the file was not passed as a command line argument.

I don't know whats causing that problem, but I think it shows that you are not necessarily locked into one application. I searched getsatisfaction (the official support site) and only found:

https://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_mes ... _hyperlink

https://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_mes ... g_and_drop

https://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_mes ... email_body

https://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_mes ... ork_folder says if you install the ThunderBrowse addon with the fix option you send a link to a network folder.

Doug Nelson
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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 9:39 am

Thanks tanstaafl for your suggestions, although I'm no closer.

The first link you provided about needing to add some capability.policy settings we also do not need. We needed those settings years ago in older versions of Thunderbird, but haven't needed them the past couple of versions.

We do not have any problems with links to websites, just links to files that need to be opened with the associated application (notepad, Reader, etc). In Windows XP, when selecting the "file" option, Thunderbird does not add a file entry in the tools, options, attachments which makes sense since these are links, not attachments.

I had already tried the embedded links options, but they only work when using the source of the link, which defeats the purpose of the link since the source is then included within the email (as the size of the email proves and also because if you change the file, the emails created prior to the change show the old version of the file).

I just don't understand why file is no longer an option.

This is the launch application image that is displayed prior to Windows 7:

[img]c:\temp\filexp.png[/img]

This is the launch application image that is displayed in Windows 7:

[img]c:\temp\file7.png[/img]

tanstaafl
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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 12:00 pm

The two images you tried to post were not embedded in your post. Please see http://kb.mozillazine.org/Posting_a_scr ... _the_forum

Doug Nelson
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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 1:33 pm


tanstaafl
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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 2:31 pm

"I just don't understand why file is no longer an option."

It seems to work for me. I don't expect "file" to show up in the launch application menu (except the very first time you open a file link), it shows up as the "content type" in the attachments window.

Image
Image

Doug Nelson
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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 3:50 pm

Sorry, I'm probably not providing enough information.

On all of our users systems that aren't using Windows 7, the first time they click on a file link (whether it's a text file, pdf, etc), they select the "file" option and then check the "Remember my choice for file links." box and then they never see the "Launch Application" window again. Then whenever they click on a file link, Windows opens the file with the appropriate application; Adobe Reader for pdfs, notepad for text files (although in my case it opens text files in UltraEdit since I have established that association), etc. This has worked great.

However, now in Windows 7, since "file" is not an option, you have to choose the application. If I choose notepad for example, if I check the "Remember my choice for file links." box, then Windows 7 will try to open all file links in notepad which doesn't work for pdfs (or if I choose Reader, it will try to open all files using Reader which doesn't work for text files). If we uncheck the box which equates to "always ask", then the users have to go find the appropriate application to open the file. Prior to Windows 7, you didn't have to do this, you just selected "file" and Windows wonderfully used associations to open the file with the right application.

You mention the file entry in tools, options, attachments. Prior to Windows 7, if you choose "file", Thunderbird does not put an entry for file in the Content Type in the attachment window. I have my old system on my desktop using Windows XP and my new system using Windows 7 and the old system doesn't have the file entry. I could provide an image, but take my word for it.

Thanks for all your efforts.

tanstaafl
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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 4:17 pm

"Prior to Windows 7, if you choose "file", Thunderbird does not put an entry for file in the Content Type in the attachment window."

I'm running Vista and it does that. Please see my preceding post. The main limitation I see is that you need to avoid using "remember my choice" and choose the app as needed. I'm not disagreeing with what you see, but I think you are over-generalizing.

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=447765, https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=311267, https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=145421, https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=84128, https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=122022 mentioned file links but didn't seem useful. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=107540 talks about 4 slashes not being accepted (requires 5)

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=135830 is [RFE] Allow graded access to file:// links within mailnews . It has a comment saying https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=84128#c20 describes the security preference needed to disable that security check (set security.checkloaduri false) . However, my copy of 10.0 has that set true by default.

I assume the new behavior is due to the version of Gecko used.

Doug Nelson
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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 5:59 pm

I've not tried any of this using Vista. Everyone here (at work) has either XP or 7. I'm don't think we're getting anywhere (although I certainly greatly appreciate all your effort). Your comment "you need to avoid using "remember my choice" and choose the app as needed" pretty much sums up the whole dilemma. In my opinion (and that of others here at work) this is somewhat of a big inconvenience and a rather unfortunate step backwards. It's one thing for IT people to choose the appropriate application, but another for customers who are just used to having the system automatically choose the appropriate application. We send emails with links with a lot of different file extensions; .txt, .jpg, .pdf, .img, .png, and several others and these files always opened just fine without anyone having to choose the application. Was some feature deprecated? If so, we can't find documentation admitting such. We find it hard to believe that others are not having this same problem and don't understand why a solution isn't available. Whether it's a Windows problem or Thunderbird problem is also being debated. In any case, it's very disappointing as the help desk receives calls about links no longer working. Again, thanks for all your help and suggestions.

tanstaafl
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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 6:36 pm

"Was some feature deprecated?"

No idea. That feature was never documented as far as I know.

I suggest you subscribe to the tb-enterprise mailing list using https://mail.mozilla.org/listinfo/tb-enterprise and submit a post about it. That will raise its visibility, and you might get some good advice from somebody else in the same situation.

You can also file a bug report at https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/ . If you do that please post a link to the bug report.

Doug Nelson
 
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Post Posted December 10th, 2013, 4:12 pm

The solution here, although evasive, seems to be rather simple. Go into Thunderbird, Tools, Options, Attachments, Incoming and select Content Type, file. If the Action is set to "Use (default)" like it is on several other Windows 7 computers I examined, then the file links within the emails should automatically default to Windows associations (Windows will choose the correct application based upon the file extension). However, if the Action is not set to "Use (default)", I could not figure out how to change it to "Use (default)". So if there are no applications listed in the drop-down box (the only three options are Always ask, Use other... and Delete Action) then you can add an application by clicking Use other... and then click the Browse button and choose C:\Windows\explorer.exe. Now the Action shows "Use Windows Explorer". If you want to remove an application, select Application Details from the drop-down box and click the Remove button. Make sure the Action for Content Type file shows "Use Windows Explorer" and click OK. Now open an email with a file link such as file:\\\\\server\file.txt or file:\\\\\server\file.pdf or file:\\\\\server\file.xls, etc. Click on the link(s) and the file should be opened using the correct application (Wordpad, Adobe Reader, MS Office, etc) based upon the Windows file extension associations.

If the Action is set to Always ask, when the file link is clicked in the email, the user can either choose the explorer.exe application (if it is listed) or click the Choose... button and choose C:\Windows\explorer.exe. Either way, the user should then check the box for "Remember my choice for file links." so that they do not have to choose the application in the future.

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Post Posted December 10th, 2013, 6:57 pm

Thanks for that detailed analysis. Unfortunately you're replying to a thread that has been dead for almost two years so you can see how unlikely it is that anyone was still watching for an answer on the question.

Locking due the age of the original posts.

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