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BlackBerry attachment type cannot be viewed

October 25th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Since I recently changed employers, a new responsibility that I have undertaken is the upkeep/maintenance of a single BlackBerry Enterprise Server installation and the handsets used in conjunction with it. I had never owned a BlackBerry handset but I had looked at both BlackBerry server and handset technology in my previous role as a consideration for mobile workers. Last week, I was given a BlackBerry Curve 8310 handset by a user that reported they were unable to open any attachments - although in this case more specifically a PDF.

I used the handset to attempt to open an PDF and surely enough I received the error:

This attachment type cannot be viewed on your device

Instinctively, I attempted to open a second and third PDF attachment, and even a Microsoft Word document just to make sure this wasn't a one off issue, it wasn't. I received the same error for all documents. Being unfamiliar with the OS of the BlackBerry handset I naturally began to look for an installed application that could be used to view the various attached documents, I couldn't find one. Comparing the applications list to a second fully functioning handset I noticed that the latter had Documents To Go installed. Using BlackBerry App World I installed Documents To Go but this still did not resolve the issue.

After some time pondering over the issue, I naively decided to update the firmware of the handset to the latest version assuming this would restore all applications and features. This had certainly worked for Nokia Symbian and Apple iOS devices bearing similar problems in the past. I downloaded the latest (v4.5.0.302 at the time of writing) BlackBerry Handheld Software for the Curve 8310 (service provider specific - Vodafone in my case) and used it to update the handset. Again, after performing an Enterprise Activation on the device with the BES server I was still unable to open attachments.

I went back to the list of installed applications on the faulty handset and again compared it to the fully functioning device. I noticed what appeared to be a BlackBerry specific application was also missing from the non functioning handset. A quick search revealed that the missing BlackBerry Attachment Service was required by the handset to process attachments that had been converted on the BES:

The BlackBerry Attachment Service receives attachments that are embedded in messages from the messaging server, through the BlackBerry Messaging Agent. The BlackBerry Attachment Service also receives attachments that are accessed through links in the BlackBerry® Browser.

I used the Application Loader feature from within BlackBerry Desktop Manager software to install BlackBerry Attachment Service back onto the handset. To my surprise I was still unable to view any attachments. It wasn't until after I erased the handset (using: Options --> Security Options --> General Settings --> Wipe Handheld) and then performed another Enterprise Activation that I was finally able to view attachments on the device through the BlackBerry Attachment Service.

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