Frequently asked questions

Why can't I find the "Go!" button?
What can I do when UUDeview won't decode a file?
Why can't I create MIME-encoded files that e-mail programs will understand?
Contacting the Authors


Why can't I find the "Go!" button?

There are two common reasons why the "Go" button is not visible:

  • UUDeview may not have been able to find anything to decode in the input files you supplied.
  • You may have skipped a step in the decode process.
Let's review, with a specific case example. Let's suppose you have a file called NARF.UUE that you want to decode, and that this file is found in the directory C:\POIT.
  1. Start UUDeview.
  2. Make sure the "Decode" button is clicked in the "Function" box.
  3. Click the "Add..." button in the lower left corner, below the "Decode these files" window.
  4. You'll get a normal Windows "Open File" box. Navigate to the directory C:\POIT, highlight the file NARF.UUE, and click "Open" or hit <Enter>.
  5. You should see "c:\poit\narf.uue" appear in the "Decode these files" box. The "Preview" button should turn from gray to "normal."
  6. Click the Preview button. UUDeview will search NARF.UUE looking for files to decode. If it finds any files, their names will appear in the large "To:" box on the right half of the window. The Preview button will change to "Go."
  7. If nothing appears in the "To" box, then there may not be any decodable files in NARF.UUE. If you want to, you can click the Options button and turn on "Desperate Mode." This will allow you to decode some corrupted files that normal mode won't find. Then you would click "Preview" again. However, Desperate mode isn't recommended for most situations.
  8. If files have appeared in the "To" box, you are ready to decode. Set the "Path" field to the name of the directory where you want the decoded files sent, then click "Go." UUDeview will decode the files.

If you have followed these steps and the "Go" button does not appear, there just may not be anything in your source file to decode, or the file may be too badly corrupted to be comprehensible. If you are pretty certain that the file is correct, you might want to e-mail it to Frank or myself: we collect strange encoded files, with the hope that future versions of UUDeview will decode ever more formats.


What can I do when UUDeview won't decode a file?

We have tried to design UUDeview so that it will decode even the toughest encoded files. Even so, experience has proven that there are always new mutations. There's also no way to predict all the bad things that can happen to an encoded file in transit.

So, what to do if UUDeview can't figure out a file you need to decode? The first step is to turn on Desperate mode in the Decode Options, then click "Preview" again. This will cause UUDeview to work harder at parsing the input file.

Unfortunately, there's a downside. Normally, when UUDeview tells you that it has successfully decoded a file, you can be fairly certain that the result is exactly what was originally sent. In Desperate mode, this may no longer be true.

Desperate mode tries to decode any data that can be identified. This means that there may well be gaps in the data or other incorrectly-retrieved information. As the name implies, you should really use Desperate mode when you need to get something—anything—from an encoded file.

If Desperate mode doesn't help, you can try looking at the Debug Info. UUDeview can generate extensive information about what it is doing as it parses and decodes your input files; enabling Show Debug Info in the Decode Options will cause UUDeview to show you this information. Sometimes the Debug Info will tell you enough to manually edit the encoded file and repair it.

If not, you should prepare yourself for the worst: you simply may not have a decodable file. If you're truly desperate you can ZIP the encoded file and send it to one of the UUDeview's authors; otherwise, try to get the sender of the problem file to try again.

Whatever happens, remember to turn off Decode Info and Desperate mode when you're done wrestling with your troublesome file. Desperate mode in particular can interfere with the decoding of correctly-formatted files, so you should only use it when you have no other choice.

Reminder: Please ZIP encoded files that you sending to UUDeview's authors. This will prevent your problem file from being mangled by the various Internet mail gateways.


Why can't I create MIME-encoded files that e-mail programs will understand?

UUDeview can encode in Base64 format, which is generally what is used with MIME, but there is a reason that UUDeview doesn't attempt to create "full" MIME headers: to be truly MIME compliant, some of the information has to go into the Header block of the message, that is, before the message body.

For example, take a look at a typical e-mail message in MIME format. If you look at the headers (not the message body), you should see things like:

      To: ....
      From: ....
      MIME-Version: 1.0
      Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
      Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
      Subject: ....

With an attached file, there'd also be some other stuff.

The problem here is that most mail programs won't let you directly insert things into the header block. You can set the "Subject" field, for example, but you can't insert the necessary content-type and content-boundary lines. If you put them into the body of the message (i.e., paste in the output from UUDeview), the receiver probably won't realize that anything is there. It'll assume that the MIME flag lines are part of the message body.

Eventually, especially on Win32, we plan to offer direct mailing and posting of files, and for those situations (where we control the header block) "real" MIME should be no problem. Until then, the safest way to send messages is to use UU, which, though less efficient, is recognized by nearly all mail programs.

Theoretically, it might be worth optionally inserting the simplistic headers (filename, etc.). This would allow the recipient to at least decode the files with UUDeview, even if his mail program doesn't recognize the MIME tags. We may do this in a future version of UUDeview.

Note that even if we did this, some (or even most?) mail programs might not recognize the enclosed files... they tend to look for flags in the header block.

If no MIME flags are found, they often treat the message as pure text, even though an enclosed document may be correctly "framed" by UUDeview.


Contacting the Authors

If you need more information, you can go to the official UUDeview Web Page:

In the last extremity, you can send mail to:

Reminder: If you need to send us an encoded file, please ZIP it first. This will prevent your problem file from being mangled by the various Internet mail gateways.

Last revised: 30 December 2001