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Date: 10/08/08


Evidence that even the more knowledgeable of us sometimes find ourselves in the category of 'system-proof idiot'...

A few weeks ago, I started having trouble sending e-mails which had attachments. The progress bar would go part of the way, then stop. I would then get a message saying that the SMTP server had refused or dropped the connection. This didn't happen with every e-mail which had attachments - just with most of them.

I tried everything I could to sort it out: I changed some configurations in Thunderbird, checked the router settings, created a new profile; nothing seemed to do the trick.

I asked on the PlusNet Community Forum and the Thunderbird Forum. I got either suggestions I'd already tried, or more ideas which didn't solve the problem. Searching around the internet, I found other people who have had the same issue, but with no solution.

Finally, one of the moderators on the Thunderbird forum (let's hear it for 'SK'!) insisted I check the router again, and refer to the manufacturer if necessary.

It was while browsing Netgear's own technical support forum that I found the answer (big hand to 'Adalessa' on that forum!) .

On the Netgear DG834, there's a firewall setting which allows the user to open or close Instant Messaging (IM) ports. I then remembered that I'd changed it from the default setting to 'Close' a few weeks ago because I don't use IM and so thought I could improve my security.

Well, I probably did, but only at the cost of the router firewall blocking most e-mails with attachments over about 300KB. Oddly, this was only the case with Thunderbird: Outlook 2000 on my old machine (via the same router) sent the e-mails OK.

I changed the setting back to 'Open' and tried sending the problem e-mails again (but to one of my own addresses). It went through without a problem.

Would someone pass the salt and pepper, please; I have a crow to eat...