Recently I was organizing my e-mail archive. I came across some 17-year old e-mails (actually, FAX messages) that contained attachments with the .awd filename extension. It didn't take long to find out that this filename extension was used by the old Microsoft FaxView program originally distributed with Windows 95. Later, with Windows 98, Microsoft distributed a KODAK application that could also display AWD files but subsequently, support for this format was dropped.

So what do poor souls like me do who would like to view old FAX messages on a Windows 7 computer? It turns out that there exists a simple solution, one posted by a Richard Chapman on SearchWinIT, which I found thanks to Google.

If you have access to a Windows 95 machine, grab the following files from its WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory:


Copy these files to the folder of your choice. Run faxview.exe once as Administrator (this allows it to create some Registry entries and stop complaining afterwards.) You are now all set... next time you open an e-mail with an AWD attachment, you'll notice that you can now double-click on the attachment and view it in FaxView.

If you do not have a Windows 95 machine but you have access to a Windows 95 installation disk, you may find these files inside CAB files. A particularly useful shareware utility is WinRAR, which can not only open CAB files individually, but recognizes a set of CAB files that together form an installation archive. If WinRAR is installed on your computer, just double-click the first CAB file in the Windows 95 installation folder and once WinRAR opens it, you should be able to locate all of the above files.