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Red X In Place Of Pictures: Help!

Carolyn from Creamery, Pennsylvania writes:

Every day I get emails that contain red X’s and I cannot open the pictures within the emails. What can I do to be able to open these pictures? Thank you!


If you’re getting a red X in place of the image in an e-mail a few things could be the cause. The fixes are simple, too. Here’ a a list of possible causes and solutions, arranged from the most likely cause to the least likely.

Images not displayed link.

Most modern e-mail clients and web based e-mail is set up to automatically block pictures from downloading unless you’ve added the sender to your approved e-mail list. You can click the link at the top of the e-mail to always display images or add the senders e-mail address to your approved senders list. The reason images are blocked by default is that when you download an image, that download can be tracked and used to identify when and if an e-mail is read.

Bad picture URL/website down/network issues.

If the website that is hosting the images is offline or the address was typed incorrectly in the e-mail before it was sent, the picture may not be able to load. If you right click on the picture you may be able to open image in new tab or inspect the properties. If the image does not load and you receive a 404 or not found error that means the picture address is incorrect and a new e-mail with the correct addresses needs to be sent out to you. Your local internet provider may also be having problems communicating correctly with the web server and you will be able to view  the e-mail once the network issues have been resolved.

Blocked Attachments/Anti-Virus Blocked

The pictures that were set to download in the e-mail may have been flagged as blocked content by your company’s IT policy, or your anti-virus program may have determined an image had contained a possible virus. If your company blocked the download, you should contact your IT department to see about unblocking images or enabling image download. If the image was blocked by your anti-virus program and you’re 100% sure it’s safe, you can disable the anti-virus and reload the e-mail.

There are other possible causes, including an e-mail communication problem where the entire message was not downloaded, your e-mail client not supporting the file (if a .png image for example is used but your e-mail client doesn’t support viewing that type of image file) or the computer gremlin that appears once in a while to cause random problems for no apparent reason. If all else fail,s you can try responding to the e-mail or contacting the company who sent it to see if they have any recommendations to resolve the problem.


P.S. If you’re using Internet Explorer and seeing small image icons instead of red x you may have to reset your security settings. Click here [1] to read Microsoft’s knowledge base article on how to fix this problem.