I Can't Read Attachments in AOL Mail

By Matt Koble

AOL Mail is an email client available to users of various AOL products. If you're having trouble viewing attachments sent to you via AOL Mail, the problem may lie in a few areas. First, ensure you have the proper software to read the file type of the attachment. After that, AOL recommends restarting your computer and downloading the file a second time. If these don't work, running AOL's Quick Restore might resolve the problem.

How to Download

Ensure you're downloading the files properly before attempting to troubleshoot the problem. For pictures, click the image on the right side of the email's text to open a preview of the picture. Moving your cursor over the image reveals a title. Click the title to download the picture. For downloading files, simply click the file's name to the right of the email's text. If you're using a Web browser, you're usually presented with a window asking you to download or open the file. Choose the download option. AOL automatically saves downloads to your computer's "My Documents" or "Documents" folder.

Check Your Software

Determine whether you have the correct software on your computer to view the file if you can download it but not open it. For example, if it's a PDF document, you need a PDF viewer. If it's a DOCX file, you need Microsoft Word or another DOCX-compatible program. If you don't have the right software to open the file, Windows bring up a window telling you it doesn't recognize the file type. It lists alternate programs to use to try to open the file.

Restart and Download Again

AOL suggests restarting your computer and trying to download the file again. Restarting clears much of your RAM and data within your computer, giving you a fresh slate and possibly alleviating the issue. Once you've restarted your computer, open your AOL Mail account again and attempt to download the file a second time. If possible, try downloading from a different computer or having the sender re-send the file and check that it works on the sender's end.

AOL Quick Restore

If you get your AOL Mail through AOL software, the company recommends running the Quick Restore feature included with the software. Windows 7 users can find this feature by clicking the "Start" orb and typing "system" into the search bar. Select "AOL System Information" from the list that appears. When the AOL System Information window opens, click the "AOL Software" tab on the left side of the window. Click the "Quick Restore" button, then click "OK" in the next window. After Quick Restore finishes, click "Close." Start your AOL software again to see if you can download and view your attachment.