By default, Microsoft programs other than the latest version of Office – Office 2007 for Windows or 2008 for Mac – are unable to open files in the docx format. But there is no need to buy new software just to open these files. There are free and convenient solutions available on-line. Users of Office XP, Office 2003 or Office 2000 can download Microsoft’s compatibility packs. Once installed, these packs allow these versions of Office to open and save in docx format. For Mac users on Office 2004 or Office v.X, Microsoft offers a format converter that gets the job done. Other than Microsoft solutions, there are on-line converters that can change docx files into doc and ones you can download that convert into rich text format or HTML. OpenOffice users can open docx files by upgrading to WRITER version 3.0 or later.
Beware of email attachment file extensions
A computer is vulnerable to contract harmful programs and viruses through the Internet, even if it is well maintained. As malicious code spreads easily through email, in-box prudence has become an essential part of on-line security. Rules of thumb can help, but it is also good to be familiar with clever tricks used by malicious users to disguise harmful content.
In principle, you should never open emails from unknown senders. When it comes to attachments, only open the ones you had previously arranged to receive from well known sources. Attachments that come out of the blue should be treated with maximum caution, even from sources considered safe. This is because malicious users or software can easily spoof an email address – effectively forging the email of a source considered safe to create a false sense of security. Furthermore, some viruses reproduce by sending emails to anyone on the infected user’s address book. When in doubt about an attachment from a known source, demand verification through email – it is a good and accepted practice.
The extension code of an attached file – generally two or more letters following the last dot, for example .exe or .pif – can sometimes be used to determine the potential danger of an attached file. Unfortunately this process cannot guarantee a file’s safety. Many email programs are unable to recognize multiple extensions on attachments so, for example, a file called dearfriend.doc.exe may appear as dearfriend.doc. To complicate matters, harmful code can be bundled to any file extension. Once launched, such code runs at the background while an attachment opens to perform its expected function.