.TNEF File Recovery

Have files been deleted due to a user’s error or software error? Have you formatted a disk by accident and need to know how to recover the files? Read our .TNEF file recovery guide for Windows, MacOS, Android and IOS in 2023.

TNEF File Recovery

What is a .TNEF file?

File generated by Microsoft Exchange email programs such as Outlook; appears as an email attachment for email clients that don't recognize Microsoft's proprietary TNEF format; may cause the text "application/ms-tnef" to appear in the email if the email client does not recognize Microsoft Exchange formatting.

What Are Common Causes of ".TNEF" Files Lost or Failure?

There can be several common causes of ".TNEF" files being lost or failing:

  1. Email client compatibility: TNEF (Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format) files are typically used by Microsoft Outlook to encapsulate attachments and rich text formatting. If the recipient's email client does not support TNEF, the file may fail to open or be lost during transmission.
  2. File corruption: TNEF files can become corrupted due to various reasons such as network issues, improper file transfer, or storage device problems. Corrupted files may fail to open or become inaccessible.
  3. Anti-virus software: In some cases, anti-virus software may mistakenly flag TNEF files as potentially harmful and delete or quarantine them, causing the loss of the file.
  4. File size limitations: Some email servers or email clients impose restrictions on the size of attachments that can be sent or received. If the TNEF file exceeds these limitations, it may fail to be delivered or be stripped from the email.
  5. Human error: Accidental deletion or improper handling of TNEF files by the user can also result in their loss or failure.
  6. Email server issues: Problems with the email server, such as downtime, network congestion, or misconfiguration, can lead to the loss or failure of TNEF files during transmission.
  7. Incompatibility with third-party applications: If a recipient tries to open a TNEF file using an application that is not compatible with the format, the file may fail to open or be lost.
  8. Data corruption during email migration: When migrating emails between different email clients or platforms, there is a possibility of data corruption, including TNEF files.

It is important to regularly backup important TNEF files to avoid permanent loss and ensure that email clients and systems are up-to-date to minimize compatibility issues.

How to recover lost ".TNEF" files?

Sometimes while working with a computer, laptop or other stationary or mobile devices, you may encounter various bugs, freezes, hardware or software failures, even in spite of regular updates and junk cleaning. As a result, an important ".TNEF" file may be deleted.

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🧺 How to Recover Files and Folders After Sending Them to the Recycle Bin and Deleting? (Windows 11)

🧺 How to Recover Files and Folders After Sending Them to the Recycle Bin and Deleting? (Windows 11)

By no means should you think that the only way to recover a ".TNEF" file is always to create it once more.

Use programs for recovering ".TNEF" files if a file was lost after accidental or deliberate deleting, formatting the memory card or the internal storage, cleaning the storage device, after a virus attack or a system failure.

Programs to recover ".TNEF" files

Looking for a way to get files back? In cases when files were deleted and they cannot be restored by using standard operating system tools, use Hetman Partition Recovery.

The tool recovers data from any devices, regardless of the cause of data loss.

Follow the directions below:

  1. Download Hetman Partition Recovery, install and start the program.

  2. The program will automatically scan the computer and display all hard disks and removable drives connected to it, as well as physical and local disks.

    File Recovery Software
  3. Double-click on the disk from which you need to recover ".TNEF" files, and select analysis type.

    Hetman Partition Recovery - Analysis Type
  4. When the scanning is over, you will be shown the files for recovery.

    Hetman Partition Recovery - Files that Can be Restored
  5. To find a file you need, use the program’s interface to open the folder it was deleted from, or go to the folder "Content-Aware Analysis" and select the required file type.

    Hetman Partition Recovery - Deep Scan
  6. Select the files you have been looking for and click "Recovery".

    File Recovery Software - Files List for Recovery
  7. Choose one of the methods for saving the files and recover them.

    Saving recovered files in Hetman Partition Recovery

How to open file with ".TNEF" extension?

Looking for how to open a stereo transport Neutral Encapsulation Format image file file?

Programs that open ".TNEF" files

Microsoft Outlook 2019 Microsoft Outlook 2019
Microsoft Outlook Express Microsoft Outlook Express
Apple Mail Apple Mail
Microsoft Outlook 2016 Microsoft Outlook 2016

Additional Information

  • File type: Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format

  • File extension: .TNEF

  • Developer: Microsoft

  • Category: Misc Files

  • Format: N/A

  • HEX: 78 9F 3E 22

  • ASCII: x.>"


We will be happy to answer your questions!

Comments (1)

  • Hetman Software: Data Recovery
    Hetman Software: Data Recovery 18.12.2019 14:14 #
    Leave a comment if you have any questions about Recovering lost .TNEF files after deleting, cleaning or formatting!
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Vladimir Artiukh

Author: Vladimir Artiukh, Technical Writer

Vladimir Artiukh is a technical writer for Hetman Software, as well as the voice and face of their English-speaking YouTube channel, Hetman Software: Data Recovery for Windows. He handles tutorials, how-tos, and detailed reviews on how the company’s tools work with all kinds of data storage devices.

Oleg Afonin

Editor: Oleg Afonin, Technical Writer

Oleg Afonin is an expert in mobile forensics, data recovery and computer systems. He often attends large data security conferences, and writes several blogs for such resources as xaker.ru, Elcomsoft and Habr. In addition to his online activities, Oleg’s articles are also published in professional magazines. Also, Oleg Afonin is the co-author of a well-known book, Mobile Forensics - Advanced Investigative Strategies.


Questions and answers

  • What is a ".TNEF backup" file and how is it different from other types of backups?

    A ".TNEF backup" file refers to a backup file that contains Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format (TNEF) data. TNEF is a proprietary email attachment format used by Microsoft Outlook to package rich text formatting, attachments, and other metadata.

    When an email is sent from Outlook to a recipient using a non-Outlook email client, the TNEF format is used to encapsulate the email content. However, sometimes TNEF attachments can cause issues for non-Outlook clients, resulting in the need for TNEF backup files.

    A TNEF backup file typically contains the original email message and its attachments in a format that can be easily opened and read by non-Outlook email clients. These backup files are created to ensure that the recipient can access the email content without any compatibility problems.

    In terms of differences from other types of backups, TNEF backups are specific to email messages and are primarily used to overcome compatibility issues between Outlook and non-Outlook email clients. Other types of backups, such as system backups or file backups, typically focus on creating copies of entire systems or specific files and folders for data protection and recovery purposes.

  • How can I create a .TNEF backup file for my emails or other data?

    To create a .TNEF backup file for your emails or other data, you can follow these steps:

    1. Install a TNEF converter or extractor software on your computer. There are several options available, such as Winmail Opener, TNEF's Enough, or TNEF Converter.
    2. Launch the TNEF converter software and open the program.
    3. Locate the email or data file you want to back up. It could be an email with a .dat attachment or a standalone .dat file.
    4. Drag and drop the email or .dat file into the TNEF converter software window.
    5. The software will extract the contents of the .dat file and convert them into a readable format.
    6. Choose the location where you want to save the backup file. It could be a specific folder on your computer or an external storage device.
    7. Click on the "Save" or "Export" button to create the .TNEF backup file.
    8. Wait for the backup process to complete. The time required may vary depending on the size of the email or data file.
    9. Once the backup is finished, you will have a .TNEF file containing the extracted contents of the original email or data file.

    By following these steps, you can create a .TNEF backup file for your emails or other data, ensuring that you can easily access and restore them if needed.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a .TNEF backup format for storing data compared to other backup file types?

    Advantages of using a .TNEF backup format for storing data:

    1. Data Integrity: .TNEF (Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format) is a binary format that encapsulates all the data, including attachments, formatting, and other attributes, into a single file. This ensures that the backup is a complete and accurate representation of the original data.
    2. Compatibility: .TNEF files can be opened and accessed by various email clients and applications, including Microsoft Outlook. This makes it easier to restore and access the backed-up data across different platforms and devices.
    3. Attachment Preservation: When using .TNEF format, the backup retains all the attachments associated with the email messages. This is particularly useful for preserving important files and documents that were sent or received via email.
    4. Compact Size: .TNEF files are generally smaller in size compared to other backup file types, such as PST (Personal Storage Table). This can be advantageous in terms of storage space requirements and backup speed.

    Disadvantages of using a .TNEF backup format for storing data:

    1. Limited Application Support: While .TNEF files can be opened by various email clients, some applications may not fully support this format. This could potentially lead to compatibility issues or difficulties in accessing the backed-up data.
    2. Lack of Encryption: .TNEF format does not provide built-in encryption capabilities. If data security is a concern, additional measures need to be taken to secure the backup files, such as encrypting the storage location or using third-party encryption tools.
    3. Limited Granularity: .TNEF files are typically generated at the email message level, meaning that individual items within a message, such as contacts or calendar entries, may not be easily restorable separately. This lack of granularity can be a disadvantage if specific items need to be recovered from the backup.
    4. Reliance on Email Clients: .TNEF format is closely tied to email clients, and the backup and restoration processes may require the presence of a compatible email client. This can limit the flexibility of accessing and restoring the data, especially if the email client is not available or supported in the future.

    Overall, the choice of backup format depends on the specific requirements and priorities of the user or organization. While .TNEF format offers certain advantages, it is important to consider the potential limitations and evaluate alternative backup file types accordingly.

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