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For many years I have made it my practice to set up my e-mail clients so that when I forward e-mails I forward them as attachments rather than forwarding them "inline".

I did this because, in the past, often when I forwarded e-mail an intervening e-mail server would escape certain lines. For example, if the message I was forwarding contained a line starting with "From" the server would change this to ">From" in order that the line not be confused with the From e-mail header. This caused serious problems for me, especially when the content contained TeX source code.

So, to avoid this sort of problem I always made sure to forward as an attachment.

There is one big downside to this, though: the mail server that delivers my mail has a very touchy virus-scanner and practically every e-mail that I forward to my colleagues gets marked ###POSSIBLE VIRUS###. Some of the messages never get through as my colleagues filter out messages they think are dangerous.

My question is this: Are modern-day mail servers smart enough not to do this escaping? I checked and my local mail server no longer escapes these lines. But what about other mail servers? I realize this is a fuzzy question, but I need a sense of how big a problem this still is.

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After looking at Ward's answer I realized I was misremembering. What had happened was that I would send a text file to someone. My e-mail client would embed this file inline rather than sending it as an attachment. The recipient's e-mail client would see a "From" at the start of the line and quote it thereby messing up the file. – user35042 Oct 28 '10 at 12:38
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Adding > in front of lines on a reply or forward is done by the client, not the server. It's usually referred to as quoting. Depending on what your client is, you should be able to configure it not to quote forwards or replies, but that's probably a question for SuperUser.

EDIT: re-reading the question, it sounds like your're saying only certain lines have > in front of them. Is it all lines, or only ones that might be headers?

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+1. I ahve never ever seen (in 20 years IT including running an ISP) an email server putting the quotes in. Never. It is a client function. – TomTom Oct 28 '10 at 6:39
After reading the above answer and comments I did some more searching and found this: – user35042 Oct 28 '10 at 12:30

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