How to open WINMAIL.DAT files


Today my brother asked me what are dat files and how to open them. Recalling the history of 2-3 years, i told him that dat files were used for VIDEO CDs formats (as he is a layman) and if he can see a video playing when opened in Window Media Player then the files are of his use, other wise that dat file is useless for him.

But he claimed that it is urgent for him, as he got this as an attachment from a foreign college where he is suppose to go next month. Oh Mann! now what is that for ?

I was aware of the fact that, Dat files are usually used to store data which can only be accessed using third party software or any application, and can’t be opened simply double clicking the file.

So i asked him to send me those files. I started to search about this file, the file name was winmail.dat(most probably you are here using these keywords only). This format is actually used by Outlook express to send the attachments, yeah the filthy Microsoft has to play around with its tricks. So when someone sends an attachment using outlook express the attachment sometimes is encoded using .dat file and the users are unable to open these attachments using webmail like rediff etc etc.(i doubt gmail can crack these dat files, after all google rox). Guys it took 5mins for me to crack those files using and here are the two solutions which i would recommend :

First solution

Download WINMAIL decoder, you can search this on google, cause putting a link here wont stay here for long.. as the links get outdated very soon these days. So this WINMAIL decoder is nothing but a simple C++ program which runs in Command line and decodes the file.

Second solution

Forward that mail to your gmail account, if you do not have one, please for god’s sake make one for your own comfort. Ok now even if gmail is unable to decode that dirty microsoft’s ball game, then configure any account in your outlook express, to learn how to configure one, please read this article from my early blogs

Now that you have this winmail.dat as it is in your hard drive, click on write mail and compose a new message, attach this .dat file and send it to your Gmail, and this time the nifty gmail should do the trick. and you should be able to see the real attachment instead of that dumb microsoft’s winmail.dat file

Personally i prefer second solution, cause the first one doesn’t work at times 🙂

cheers !!