For as long as I can remember, whenever I receive a Facebook notification email in either my Outlook 2003 or Windows Live Mail, when I click on it to preview the message, the program hangs for a minute or two and sometimes crashes completely.
Extensive googling turns up plenty of people suffering the same problem but no solution is ever given short of reading all emails in plain text (which isn’t really a solution at all). Finally I stumbled onto this forum post from Incredimail blaming a background sound attached to Facebook Notification emails. Still no solution is given but it did give me something to look into.
Checking the message source of a few Facebook emails did indeed show a “.mid” file embedded into html code. Aha! My PC is set to open all midi music files using Windows Media Player, and so playing on a hunch that could be the problem this is what I did:
- If you don’t already have it installed, get VLC Media Player.
- Next, open My Computer and select Tools > Folder Options (this is for Windows XP. Other Windows versions may vary).
- Go to the “File Types” tab and find “MID” in the list. (Click on the first thing in the list then type “MID” to get to it quickly if you like).
- Click the “Change” button (beside “Opens with”) and find VLC Media Player in the list. If you can’t find it click the “Browse” button and find your way to C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC, then double click on vlc.exe
- Make sure “Always use the selected program to open this type of file” is ticked. Then click ok.
The Files Types tab should now show “Opens with: VLC Media Player”.
- Do the same as above with MIDI File.
That’s it. Ever since I did this a week ago I haven’t had any troubles at all with Facebook Notification emails causing hanging or crashes.
Note: VLC Media Player is a very groovy piece of kit that will often play media files better than other programs. For example, if you’ve ever had a movie with the sound slightly out of sync you can delay or advance the audio to the video track so that it plays properly. I also find it does a much better job with MP4s and MKVs that are often jerky in Windows Media Player or Quicktime.