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Master e-mail attachments

Question : I received a Word document as an e-mail attachment. I opened the document, edited it, and saved it. Then I closed Word. Now I can't find the document. It doesn't appear on Word's list of recently used files, and it's not in any directory that I can see. What happened?

Answer : The first thing you need to do before working with a document you receive as a file attachment is to save the file to a local disk, such as your hard drive. Then you can work on it, edit it, and save it.

If you open a document you receive as an attachment, edit it, and expect to see those changes reflected in the copy of the file stored in the e-mail message, you'll be disappointed. That's because Windows stores a copy of the attachment in a temporary Internet files directory on your hard drive, and any changes you make to the file without first saving it to a normal directory or folder will be stored in the copy of the file in that special directory.

You can see that temporary Internet files directory by opening the Windows Control Panel and double-clicking the Internet Options icon. In the resulting Internet Properties dialog box, locate the section labeled Temporary Internet Files, and click the Settings button. From the Settings dialog box, click the View Files button. A window called Temporary Internet Files will open, and there you'll see lots of files that are stored temporarily as you work with e-mail and the Internet.

You may be able to locate your edited copy of the e-mail attachment in that folder. In the future, however, saving the file first to a conventional folder on your hard drive will save you the headache of wondering what happened to your changes.

 
 

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