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Agent 4.1 Release Notes

Agent 4.1 provides fixes to problems reported by users and adds additional functionality to Agent 4.0.

Upgrade Notes

If you are upgrading from Agent 4.0, you may upgrade directly to Agent 4.1.

If you are a new user, please see our Getting Started for New Users section.

If you are upgrading from Agent 2.0 or Agent 1.x, please see our Getting Started for Users Upgrading from Agent 2.0 or Agent 1.x section. Note that Agent 4.1 is not backwards compatible with Agent 2.0 or Agent 1.x. Please make sure you back up your data before installing Agent 4.1.

Agent 4.1 is backwards compatible with Agent 3.x. However if you revert to Agent 3.x, data for several features (e.g. property schemes and the address book) will not be available in Agent 3.x.

Features Added

We added the following features to Agent's Newsgroup Directory:

  • When you open the newsgroup directory the search expression is always blank. In other words, the search expression is no longer remembered when you close the directory. If you don't like this behavior, you can change the agent.ini parameter [GroupDir]SaveExpn to 1.
  • When the directory is displaying search results, the count below the list of newsgroups changes to "Search results: <n> newsgroups" to make it clearer that you are viewing a filtered list of newsgroups..
  • The Reset button has been renamed to Reset Results.
  • When you reset the results, the program clears the search expression.
  • There is a new option, Clear search history on program exit. If you check this box the search history is retained during your current Agent session but is cleared when you exit Agent.

The Find command now works when viewing HTML messages.

We made several internal changes to increase the rate at which Agent can receive and route email messages.

The Junk folder and Trash folder properties now are set to never download images automatically in HTML messages. This property setting is on the HTML Messages panel on the Properties for Selected Folders dialog. If you're doing an upgrade installation and have set a value for this property specifically for the Junk folder or Trash folder, then Agent will not update this value, so that your specified behavior will be preserved. For new installations and for upgrades where the you did not specify a new value, the value will be set to Never Download Images Automatically.

You can customize the display of the Address Book, Pick Address dialog and the Review Recent Emails report, using agent.ini.

We added the keyboard accelerator Ctrl+Shift+J for Jump to URL. (In versions prior to Agent 4 this accelerator was Ctrl+J, but that is now used for Move to Junk.)

HTML images that are not downloaded with the message are shown with a much lighter shade of gray, making the message easier on the eyes.

Problems Fixed

Agent would crash or become unresponsive under these conditions:

  • If a server closed a connection unexpectedly immediately after a task finished with the connection, when the connection was about to go idle to wait for the next task. We saw this most often if a server closed the connection immediately after Agent finished retrieving a message body.
  • If the Filter and Routing Explanation dialog displayed the text of a traditional filter that was longer than about 1000 characters. (Some users have pretty amazing filters!)
  • If the file specification on the Attachment Folders panel (Folder Properties dialog) was too long.
  • Importing address entries from a .csv file if one or more of the data lines in the file did not contain all the information defined in the first line of the file.
  • If a server closed a connection unexpectedly after Agent had finished downloading data but was still processing the data.
  • If the user canceled a task while the task was running a function in a separate thread. Agent now delays the cancel operation until all functions have completed.
  • If there was an empty XML section at the very end of agent.ini and the last line did not end with a newline character.
  • If you tried to hide the All Folders desk and it was the only desk.
  • When auto-saving an attachment that had a .lnk extension.
  • Agent would become unresponsive downloading images from certain HTML messages.
  • Converting HTML to plain text (e.g. for printing a message) when the character set was unknown and the "Unknown character set" dialog was displayed, or if a tag incorrectly included in the body of a message declared an unknown character set and the "Unknown character set" dialog was displayed during a Find Global operation.
  • An internal error would occur in email retrieval tasks if Agent's data directory was mapped to a network drive using a UNC name of the form "\\host\...". The error was occurring when Agent tried to create the directory for storing email log files.
  • In some obscure cases deleting an entry from the address book would cause Agent to crash. For example, create an address book with a single entry. Open a composition window and the Pick Address dialog. Select the only item in the list, then uncheck Show excluded email addresses. Now open the address book and delete the entry. Agent may crash, depending on the state of memory.

Task Management

Agent would fail to close TCP sockets if the server at the other end of the connection closed the socket before Agent did. (Amazingly, this bug has been in Agent from the very first release many years ago.) The error could happen if a connection to a news server timed out and the server closed the connection. It could also happen if a server was very quick to close a connection after Agent signed off. If you ran Agent long enough, in theory the system could run out of sockets.

In some cases high priority tasks would finish behind lower priority tasks. This behavior was related to the way Agent throttles get-body tasks.

In some cases Agent downloaded the wrong sections if some sections of a multipart message had already been retrieved.

On the Task Retry Interval Advanced Settings dialog, the fixed interval setting was being changed to the exponential setting whenever the dialog was opened. If you had saved the setting for a fixed interval, then opened and closed this dialog, the setting would be changed and you would then have an exponential interval setting.

When replying to a Usenet message that was crossposted to several newsgroups, Agent would only post the reply to servers in the news plan that carried all of the newsgroups. Now, it will post to servers that carry any of the groups. (Normally, a news server is supposed to accept and relay a message even if it doesn't carry all of the groups to which the message was posted.) If, for some reason, you prefer the old behavior, we added the agent.ini option [Groups]PostMustCarryAll, which defaults to 0 (false).

A bug in the SSL implementation of the Comcast news server caused it to fail to acknowledge messages posted by Agent and certain other news clients. We have added a workaround to Agent that avoids the bug.


If Agent had saved an attachment automatically and then removed it from the message body, and then you used the Save Attachment As command, Agent would attempt to save the now-missing attachment and end up deleting the previously-saved file. Now the Save Attachment As command will be disabled if the attachment has been removed from the message.

If a message had an HTML body that did not end with a newline character, and the message contained an attachment, if you viewed the message with HTML display turned off you would see the internal text used by Agent to represent an attachment icon rather than the icon itself.

When viewing an HTML message, double-clicking an attachment did not open the Message Index dialog (default setting) or launch the attachment (if you enabled Double-clicking launches attachments on the File Handling panel of the Properties for Selected Folders dialog.)

Manually saving an attachment would pause any message body retrieval tasks that were in process. If you had selected a number of messages and were saving their attachments this could cause the server connection to time out and the downloads to fail.

Address Book / Contacts

Agent would create the old address book file, personal.aab, if you sent an email message and the email address was incorrect or was unknown.

If you modified one or more contact forms in the address book and closed Agent before saving your changes, Agent would close the forms without letting you save your changes.

Mailing list names that contained a comma caused incorrect results in the Pick Address dialog and in the auto-fill entries in the composition window.

In an outbound distribution list a validation error appeared if there was a period or comma at the end of a line defining a list entry.

If you composed a message to an outbound email distribution list and the name of that list matched a contact in your database, then the email address for that contact was inserted when expanding addresses into the To, Cc, or Bcc fields.

In the Address Book, if you scrolled down then clicked in the scroll bar to scroll up, the column headers would get overwritten with text from the list of contacts.

In the Address Book, for cell phone entries, "Mobile" was being displayed as "mobile".

Email / Training

The error "String too long" occurred when receiving some email messages.

RBI would get confused routing messages to folders beginning with leading spaces. Agent now ignores leading spaces when comparing folder names.

When you moved a group of messages that contained several messages from the same address, and told Agent you wanted to move the message only (not do any training), Agent would ask you what to do each time the address was encountered. Now it will remember what you specified and not ask you again during the move operation.

Similar to the above item, the Message Training Wizard would not remember if it had already trained on an email address. This meant you would see the dialog asking you how you want to handle messages from that address each time the address was encountered.

The Review Recent Emails dialog was not always sorting by date correctly.

Folder Properties / Property Schemes

After editing default folder properties from the Manage Schemes dialog (using the Edit Default Properties button) it was possible to overwrite your edits when pressing OK and exiting the dialog. Now, any changes you make to the default properties are saved immediately, without having to press OK. Note that this is for default property changes only. To save changes to property schemes or individual folders you must press OK to exit the dialog.

If a folder used the default setting for a persona property, the "[Default: ]" choice on the property panel would display the name of the current global default setting for that persona, not the setting for the scheme from which the folder inherited its settings. This was a display problem only. Agent was actually using the scheme's values, but was not displaying them.

On the Attachment Folders panel (Folder Properties dialog) when you tried to create a non-existent folder, then decided not to (by answering "No" to the query to create a new folder) Agent would refuse to close the dialog. At this point you had to go ahead and create the folder.

For new installations the Inbox folder was created using the General Purpose property scheme. It will now be assigned the Email property scheme.

Other Fixes

With HTML display turned on:

  • The wrong context menu was displayed when right-clicking an attachment's icon box.
  • It was often very difficult to launch the context menu for selected text in the Message pane.
  • With focus in the Message pane, hitting Alt and releasing it would underline the menu items, but the menu items would not display when the proper letter was entered. (For example, hit and release Alt, then hit "F". The file menu should appear. In 4.0 it was not being displayed. Holding down Alt and hitting "F" worked fine.)
  • If you scrolled down in the Message pane, then clicked in the pane or hit "X" to mark the message read, the message would scroll back to the top.
  • For some HTML messages a vertical scrollbar was not displayed even though the messages were taller than the Message Body pane.
  • Agent would fail to display an icon for an attachment if the attachment was part of an alternative text section that was itself multipart/mixed.

If you moved a HTML message to an empty folder, then attempted to download images for that message and some of the images did not download, then when you switched to another folder and back to the original folder the message would be blank. Adding another message to the folder would make the first message reappear.

When you opened a new window within Agent, if there was a pause opening the window Agent would sometimes allow visual elements of applications hidden beneath itself to "leak through."

In some cases the wrong toolbar would be displayed. For example, if you switched to the Task Manager window, the main browser toolbar might still be displayed.

Right-clicking a browser window did not move the program focus to that window.

In the Message pane with HTML viewing enabled, if you used the right mouse button to drag-select some text and then released the mouse, Agent displayed the normal Message pane context menu. It should have displayed the context menu for selected text, which is the menu you get if you right-click in a range of text that is already selected.

Agent was not sending HELO again after doing an SMTP TLS negotiation. Because of this Agent could not log in to some SMTP servers.

If a message header had a large number of characters Agent would not process the message correctly. Similarly, if a subject line contained a large number of characters, Agent would become very slow when viewing the message.

On the Options dialog Confirmations panel, we changed "Mark all messages in all newsgroups read or unread" to "Mark all messages in all folders read or unread.".

Online Help

We made several minor updates to the help file.

Learn More

Go here for All Release Notes.