Auto-trust emailed images

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS
February 1, 2013

Q: When I open email containing pictures or images, Outlook 2010 does not automatically display those images unless I right-click on the image and select Download Pictures. Why does Outlook 2010 do this, and is there a way to automatically display images when opening my email?

A: As a security measure, Outlook 2010 blocks images/pictures in your HTML-formatted email by default and leaves it up to the user to determine whether it is safe (or necessary) to download and display the images. Outlook does this to prevent inappropriate pictures from being displayed, to prevent running malicious code that might be triggered upon opening an image, and to increase email retrieval speed for users with low-bandwidth internet. In addition, the process of displaying an emailed image confirms for spammers that they have reached a valid and active email address, which might trigger more spam. As you mentioned, you can view the blocked images by right-clicking on the blocked image and selecting Download Pictures from the pop-up menu, as pictured below.

If you are comfortable opening your emailed images automatically, you have two options. You can either automatically accept images from all senders, or you can automatically accept images from selected senders, as follows.

To automatically accept images from all senders, from the Outlook 2010 File tab, select Options, Trust Center, and click the Trust Center Settings button. In the Trust Center dialog box, select Automatic Download and uncheck the box labeled Don’t download pictures automatically in HTML e-mail messages or RSS items (shown below). This setting will allow all of your email images to display automatically.

As an alternative, you could add selected senders to your Safe Senders List. After that, their email images would open automatically, but images from nontrusted sources would remain blocked until you decide to view them. To use this method, from the Outlook 2010 File tab, select Options, Trust Center, and click the Trust Center Settings button. In the Trust Center dialog box, select Automatic Download and place checkmarks in the boxes labeled Don’t download pictures automatically in HTML e-mail messages or RSS items and Permit downloads in e-mail messages from senders… (as pictured below).

Next, each time you receive an email from a sender whose images you trust, right-click on the warning message (shown at the top of the screen in the screenshot below) and select Add Sender to Safe Senders List.

These settings will enable emailed images from trusted sources to display automatically. Note: If you do not see the warning message at the top of your email, as pictured above, you can display this warning message by navigating to the Trust Center dialog box as described above, then check the box labeled Warn me before downloading content when editing, forwarding, or replying to e-mail.

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