I have the same PDF corruption problem in two different offices that I am the tech support for.

Office 1: Started in the middle of December. PDF received from outside the office and is viewable with no problems. I have no control over how it is created. If it is forwarded to anyone else, the PDF is corrupted. I have forwarded it to multiple people in the office. I have tried viewing with Reader 8, 9, Sumatra and Fox IT. I have tried forwarding to Gmail and their viewer says it is corrupted. If I save the PDF and create a new email, it will be corrupted when sent using Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, Microsoft Live Mail and Outlook Express. If I create the email using Thunderbird 3, Gmail or the webclient Iclient for IPSwitch IMail it will not be corrupted. I have confirmed the same results when using our IMail SMTP and also Using Gmail as the SMTP server.

To be clear, if I created in Thunderbird, Gmail or Iclient and received on any of the MS products, it will be viewable.

This office receives PDFs daily from multiple sources. There is only a small subset that are having this problem. So far they problem PDFs are from two different companies they deal with, but not all of the PDFs are bad.

Office 2: PDFs are created by a management system. I'm not sure what engine is used to create them. Same exact same issues.

At both offices, I noticed that the file size is wrong. One small PDF the proper file size is 12kb for the PDF when it's viewable, when it shows up corrupted it is only 8kb.

We handle the email for both offices. Both are POP servers, not Exchange. IMail was updated after these issues start. I have tried different SMTP servers and it still seems to happen only when using Microsoft products to send.

Anyone else having problems with PDFs getting corrupted? Any ideas how to find out a resolution?

  • Edit - It doesn't matter if I set the email format to plain text or HTML. PDF is still corrupted. – Winner Jan 8 '10 at 17:41
  • I think it's a problem with dot stuffing. Somehow the encoding is messing up and adding extra periods. I can't see how I have four sites now with the same problem and nothing besides Verizon as their ISP is the same. – Winner Jan 12 '10 at 20:19
  • Have you tried uninstalling and reinstalling the Mail client that has sent the file just prior to it becomming corrupt? Check the sent folder... does the file appear corrupt in the sent folder? – user64448 Dec 22 '10 at 15:34

I have some questions:

  1. Have you opened the PDFs (good and not-good) in a text editor? PDFs are mainly text. Reader renders them to the screen. There can be binary within, but they're primarily ASCII. You might be able to open a good one that went bad and compare each. For instance, are they getting chopped? Are CR/LFs getting converted to LFs?

  2. For Office 2: Are the initially-created PDFs corrupt? Or after they are forwarded?

  3. If you ZIP up the PDFs and send them via MS-based applications, are THEY corrupted as well?

  4. We already know that the sent PDF is corrupt after reception. But what about the attached item in outlook's Sent Items? Is THAT one corrupt?

  5. Is the Outlook option to use UUENCODE for attachments within plain text messages on? (I realize you've tried other applications. I am narrowing this out.)

Just throwing out a few things.


  • 1> I have not opened them in a text editor. I will do that. 2. Office's two's initially created PDFs are fine. If you open them from the email before they are sent, they are viewable. It's only after they are sent that they are corrupted. 3. I'll try that. 4. No the PDF attached to the Sent Item is fine, unless you forward it or save it and attache it to a new email and send with one of the microsoft email programs listed. – Winner Jan 8 '10 at 17:36
  • Adding the PDF to a ZIP prevents it from being corrupted. – Winner Jan 8 '10 at 17:46
  • When you say "Live Mail," do you mean an application? IOW, are you configuring a Live Mail account within Outlook? Also: what happens if you use a website to forward a PDF? – tcv Jan 8 '10 at 18:06
  • I used a Windows 7 laptop to test as well. There is no Outlook Express included with W7, you have to download the stand alone email client MS Live Mail. It's not web based, it's a full blown client. If i attach the PDF from a website it works fine. – Winner Jan 8 '10 at 18:33
  • Adding the check to turn ON UUENCODE fixes the problem for Plain Text only, not HTML. – Winner Jan 8 '10 at 18:34

Do you have any AV software checking the mail as it goes through? I'm thinking that perhaps the AV software is screwed up and trying to 'clean' the files because it thinks they are infected with something.

  • I tried disabling the plugins for Norton Corp in Office 2003 and 2007 but it didn't work. I'll try starting in safe mode with networking to be sure. I don't think that there was any integration with Live mail though. – Winner Jan 8 '10 at 18:00
  • How about on the mail server? Anything inline there? – Michael Kohne Jan 8 '10 at 20:23
  • It happens regardless of the SMTP server. One is running Imail, another is the optonline smtp server and also the gmail smtp server. – Winner Jan 12 '10 at 20:16

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