NORMAN — A customer recently complained that his email program was crashing every time he tried to send photos taken with his digital camera to friends and relatives. After a bit of investigation, I discovered the problem.
He was, on the surface, doing everything right. Transferring the pictures from the camera to his computer and saving them to his hard drive was a task he had mastered. He also knew how to properly attach the picture files to an email.
After watching the process fail a few times, I decided to look at the pictures, and that’s when I discovered the source of his problem.
The file size of each individual picture was huge, much too large to be sent as an email attachment. He was taking pictures at the highest resolution his camera would provide. This made the file size of each picture around 70 megabytes (MB). He was then attaching three or four of these large files to an email and attempting to send it to multiple recipients.
However, email was never designed as a means of sending and receiving large computer files. As you may have experienced, large email attachments can seriously slow down the entire email process. If too many people decide to email too many large files at the same time, an email server (a computer dedicated to “serving” up email) can simply choke and shut down.
Because of this, Internet Service Providers put size limits on email attachments. For my customer’s ISP (Cox), the size limit is 20 MB per email. Attempting to email anything in excess of this size will result in failure. Other ISPs may have different email size limits.
After I identified the problem, and after discussing various solutions, my customer decided to deal with Cox’s email attachment size limits by changing the file size of his pictures.