Inside Outlook Express



Frequently Asked Questions

How ...


How do I re-send a message?

Unfortunately, OE does not have a re-send function built in. You can work around this lack in several ways.

  1. Open your original copy in the Sent Items folder, copy the entire body, then paste that into a new message.
  2. Forward your original copy and then edit out the headers that are added before the quoted text. This works only if you have enabled "include message in reply" under Tools| Options| Send.
  3. Select or Open the original copy in Sent Items, then click File| Save as.. and save the message to your desktop as type *.eml. Open the saved *.eml file in Notepad and add this line to the headers with the other X- lines:
     


            X-Unsent:  1

    Save the edited file, then double-click the *.eml file, make whatever changes are needed, and click Send.

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How do I delete an email message without opening it?

Click View| Layout and remove the check mark in front of Preview Pane. You can also add the Preview button to the toolbar to quickly turn it on and off. [more info on OE toolbars]

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How do I archive a folder of messages?

Choose either method: 

  1. Start a New Mail Message, drag the folder contents and drop them on the message, thus creating attachments. Click File| Save as... and save the message as file type *.eml. (Tip: you can later compress the *.eml file using a zip program to save disk space.) To restore the folder contents, double-click the saved *.eml file, select all the attachments and drag them into an OE mail folder. (see also: Tip - Archive a Folder)

  2. Create an Archive folder in OE, then drag messages into it. Close OE and copy the "Archive.dbx" file to a safe place. Open OE and delete the contents of the Archive folder. To restore the old archive, close OE and replace the "Archive.dbx" file with the backup version. If the Archive folder no longer exists inside OE, create it again and copy one message into it (to force OE to create the *.dbx file), close OE, and then replace the new "Archive.dbx" with the backup copy. (see also: Partial Backup)

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How do I backup my accounts information and settings?

Click Tools| Accounts. For each account, click once on the account name, click Export. Choose the destination folder and filename. The account settings are stored as file type *.iaf. You can later import an *.iaf file using the Import button under Tools| Accounts. (see also Backup and Restore)

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How do I delete old newsgroup headers?

To delete all headers and message bodies from a single newsgroup, right-click on the group in the Folder List or Folder Bar, then click Properties| Local Files. Click the Delete button and wait. When the process if complete, click the Compact button and wait again. 

To delete all headers and message bodies from all groups under a news account, click Tools| Options| Maintenance| Clean up now. Click once on the news account, then click Delete, wait, click Compact, wait. 

To delete all headers and message bodies from all groups on all accounts, click Tools| Options| Maintenance| Clean up now. Click once on Outlook Express at the top of the list, then click Delete, wait, click Compact, wait. 

To delete only selected headers and messages, open the Advanced Find window by pressing Shift-Ctrl-F. Enter the search criteria for the headers you want to remove. When the search is complete, select the headers using Shift-click (for sequential selections) or Ctrl-click (for non-sequential selections), then click File| Move to folder. Select the Deleted Items folder for the destination and click OK. Note that you must be in Online mode (File| Work Online), though you do not have to be connected to the Internet. Message bodies for the selected headers must have been downloaded or OE will try to download them in order to delete them (strange, but true).

To delete old headers with or without message bodies, create a message rule that filters for messages older then xx days (or whatever). For the Action, select "Delete" and "stop processing more rules". Then use the Apply Now button to apply the rule to one newsgroup (Browse to the group), all groups on a news account (Browse to the account), or all groups on all accounts (Browse to  Outlook Express). Wait for the process to finish, then close the Message Rules dialogue and click File| Folder| Compact All Folders.

See also: Maintenance Part II: Clean up newsgroups)

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How do I import OE4 mail folders?

Make a temporary folder named C:\Mail, or C:\Temp\Mail, as long as the last folder is named Mail. Copy the OE4 files (*.idx and *.mbx) into the Mail folder. Open OE and click File| Import| Messages, select OE4 from the list, then browse to the folder that contains the Mail folder, not the Mail folder itself (browse to C:\ or to C:\Temp, not to C:\Mail or C:\Temp\Mail). choose either From Identity (for importing from another Identity on the same machine) or From Store root directory. You will then have the option to import all mail folders or only those you select.

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How do I import OE5 and OE6 mail folders?

First make sure the *.dbx files you wish to import are not stored in the current OE store root folder. Also check that the *.dbx files are not marked as read-only. In OE, click File| Import| Messages, select OE5 from the list, then choose either From Identity (for importing from another Identity on the same machine) or From Store root directory. You will then have the option to import all mail folders or only those you select. (see also Backup and Restore)

OE6 and WindowsXP Note: you will only see OE4 and OE6 in the list of programs from which to import, and so it might seem that you cannot import from OE5. However both OE5 and OE6 use exactly the same file structure.  To import from OE5, simply select OE6 on the list, then select "Import mail from an OE6 store directory" (not "Identity"). Then Browse to the folder that contains the OE5 *.dbx files.

If your backup files did not include "Folders.dbx", this method of importing will not work as OE will not "see" the *.dbx files without Folders.dbx. To work around this, click File| Identities| Add New Identity. Switch to the new Identity when prompted, but cancel the new account wizard that starts automatically. Click Tools| Options| Maintenance| Store Folder to determine the location of this Identity's store. Close OE and open the store folder in Windows Explorer. Copy your old *.dbx files into this store folder, then delete the file "Folders.dbx". Open OE and it will create a new Folders.dbx that includes the old *.dbx files. Click File| Switch Identities and return to your original Identity. Click File| Import| Messages| OE5 (or OE6)| Identity and select the new Identity. After the import is complete, you can delete the new Identity, and then manually delete its store folder.

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How do I import a single mail folder (*.dbx)?



Create a new folder in Outlook Express named "temp". Copy any message into the new Temp folder. Close OE and rename "Temp.dbx" in your OE store folder. Now copy the *.dbx to be imported into the store folder and rename it to "Temp.dbx". Open OE and rename the Temp folder if desired. (see also: The Partial Backup

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How do I move my address book?

Close OE and the Address Book. Copy your current WAB to its new location. Open Regedit and navigate to this key: 

|--HKEY_CURRENT_USER
|-----Software
|--------Microsoft
|-----------WAB
|--------------WAB4
|-----------------Wab File Name

Right-click the Default value in the right-hand pane and click Modify. Carefully type the path to the new location and the file name (<name>.WAB). (see also: The Windows Address Book

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How do I move my store folder?

Create a new folder in Windows Explorer where you want OE to store your files. Open OE and click Tools| Options| Maintenance| Store folder, then click the Change button. Browse to the new folder and click OK. Close the dialogue, then close OE. When you re-open OE, it will automatically move the store to its new location. (see also: The OE Store

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How do I make OE open messages maximized?

You don't. OE will not remember a maximized window. It will however remember any non-maximized size. So open a message and drag the corners until it fills the screen. Close the message and OE will now remember to open messages in the large size.

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How do I change the sound that plays for new messages?

You can change the sound for New Mail Notification under Control Panel| Sounds.

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How do I enable the slideshow when previewing pictures?

The slide show was a feature in OE4 that was removed from OE5. If you now have OE5 or OE5.5, you can force the slide show to work by editing the registry manually. If you now have OE6, you cannot use the slide show at all.

To force the slide show in OE5/OE5.5, close OE, then open Regedit and navigate to this key:

|--HKEY_CURRENT_USER
|-----Identities
|--------{GUID}
|-----------Software
|--------------Microsoft
|-----------------Outlook Express
|--------------------5.0

where {GUID} is the global unique identifier for your OE Identity. In the right-hand pane, right-click to create 2 new DWORD values with these names:

"Automatically Inline Images"
"Automatic Slide Show Delay"

Then right-click each new DWORD and assign its value.
The default value for "Automatic Slide Show Delay" is 2. 
The value for "Automatically Inline Images" determines the behavior of the slide show as follows:

0    suppresses the automatic display of the picture

1    displays all the pictures in the body of the e-mail message one below another

2    enables the Outlook Express Slide Show feature

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How do I make OE open in a newsgroup when starting?

Right-click on your desktop and click New| Shortcut. Enter a command line of this form:

news://name.of.news-server/name.of.group

Use this shortcut instead of the default Outlook Express shortcut. If you wish to change the icon for your newsgroup shortcut, right-click on the shortcut, click Properties| Change Icon. To use the default OE icon, browse to the OE executable file:

C:\Program Files\Outlook Express\Msimn.exe

If you wish to open OE in a news account, just omit the "name.of.group" from the command line.

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How do I save a message without its attachment?

There are 2 ways, neither of which is perfect, but both of which get the job
done.

1) Forward the message to yourself, remove the attachment, then click
File| Copy to Folder, or just mail it to yourself. The disadvantage is that
the message now appears to have come from you, not the original sender.

2) Click File| Save As.. and save the message as type *.eml, or just drag the message onto your desktop. Open that file in Notepad, scroll down to the beginning of the encoded attachment (you can't miss it), and delete everything below that. Save the file, then drag the *.eml and drop it in an OE folder. The disadvantage is that this takes about 60 seconds, but the original headers remain.

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How do I view messages using a Fixed-width font?

To view the current message using a Fixed-width font, click View| Text Size| Fixed. The Fixed-font will be used only for that message, and will be forgotten when you close the message. To view all messages using a Fixed-width font, go to Tools| Options| Read| Fonts, and in the "Proportional font" list, select a Fixed-width font.

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How can I organize my subscribed newsgroups into news folders?

You cannot create news folders, but you can create multiple news accounts,
all using the same server settings. Just give each account a "Friendly Name" as you would name a folder, and subscribe only to the groups appropriate for that "folder". The drawback to this method is that each news account will want to maintain its own list of newsgroups, resulting in a bloated "Folders.dbx" file. To avoid this, you can use the workaround for slow newsgroup performance and keep the group list on only one of your news accounts.

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How do I turn off the OE splash screen?

In Regedit, navigate to this key:

|--HKEY_CURRENT_USER
|-----Identities
|--------{GUID}
|-----------Software
|--------------Microsoft
|-----------------Outlook Express
|--------------------5.0

where GUID is the Global Unique IDentifier for your Identity.

In the right-hand pane, right-click on a blank spot and select New| DWORD value. Name the new value NoSplash. Right-click that and assign it a value of 1 (one).

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How do I delete an Identity if I forgot the password?

  1. Import the Identity's messages using the "from an OE store directory" option. You cannot use the "from Identity" option without the password.
  2. In Regedit, navigate to the Identities key and open it by clicking the plus sign:

    |--HKEY_CURRENT_USER
    |-----Identities

  3. In the left-hand pane, click on each GUID sub-key to see the "Username" value in the right-hand pane. When you find the Identity (Username) you wish to remove, open the GUID sub-key and navigate to this key:

    |--HKEY_CURRENT_USER
    |-----Identities
    |--------{GUID}
    |-----------Software
    |--------------Microsoft
    |-----------------Outlook Express
    |--------------------5.0

  4. In the right-hand pane, find the value "Store root" and note the path that is stored there.
  5. In the left-hand pane, right-click on the {GUID} sub-key and click Delete.
  6. In Windows Explorer, delete the "Store root" folder you noted in step 4.

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How do I view attachments in binary newsgroups?

Most music and video attachments (*.avi, *.mov, *.mpg and others) that are posted to newsgroups are quite large. Since most news servers limit the size of individual messages, the large attachments are broken into smaller pieces and posted as several numbered messages. The Subject field of these split messages will usually contain something like

filename.ext (0/3)
filename.ext (1/3)
filename.ext (2/3)
filename.ext (3/3)

The (0/3) message is often a text-only description of whatever file (filename.ext) is attached. The file itself is encoded as an attachment and split amongst the numbered messages. To view the complete attachment, you first must select (highlight) all the numbered parts. Standard Windows selection techniques apply in the message list, so use Click followed by Shift-Click to select consecutive messages, or Ctrl-Click to select messages individually. With all parts selected, click Message| Combine and Decode.

This will open a small dialogue for you to ensure that the parts are in the proper order. OE, after downloading any parts not already downloaded, will open a single message window with all parts combined and decoded as a single attachment. Open or save the attachment as you would normally. If you wish to save this single message in OE for future use, click File| Copy to Folder.

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How do I remove the "provided by ..." branding in the OE title bar?

This branding is a customization added by whomever provided your copy of IE/OE. If your OE is branded, your IE is probably also branded. Removing the branding requires that you edit the registry.

  1. In Regedit, navigate to this key:

    |--HKEY_CURRENT_USER
    |-----Identities
    |--------{GUID}
    |-----------Software
    |--------------Microsoft
    |-----------------Outlook Express
    |---------------------5.0

  2. In the right-hand pane, right-click on the value WindowTitle and then click Delete. Or click on Modify and enter the title of your choice.
  3. To remove the branding from IE, navigate to the following key:

    |--HKEY_CURRENT_USER
    |-----Software
    |-----------Microsoft
    |--------------Internet Explorer
    |-----------------Main

  4. In the right-hand pane, right-click on the value Window Title (note the blank space) and then click Delete. Or click on Modify and enter the title of your choice. If the value Window Title does not appear, check under this key instead:

    |--HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
    |-----Software
    |--------Microsoft
    |-----------Internet Explorer
    |--------------Main

  5. To remove the custom logo from IE, navigate to the following key:

    |--HKEY_CURRENT_USER
    |-----Software
    |--------Microsoft
    |-----------Internet Explorer
    |--------------Toolbar

  6. In the right-hand pane, right-click on BrandBitmap and click Delete, then do the same for SmBrandBitmap. As in Step 4, if those values do not exist, check under this key instead:

    |--HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
    |-----Software
    |--------Microsoft
    |-----------Internet Explorer
    |--------------Toolbar

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How can I block messages with a blank FROM or TO field?

Every email address must contain the @ symbol, so you can use that to create a rule for messages with no address in From or To.

  1. Click Tools|Message Rules|New|Mail.
  2. Under Conditions, select "where the From line contains people" and "where the To line contains people".
  3. In the rule Description box, click on the blue underlined "contains people".
  4. Type the @ symbol, click Add, then click the Options button and select "where the message does not contain".
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the second blue underlined "contains people".
  6. Click on the blue underlined "and" and select "Messages match any one of the criteria".
  7. In the Actions box, select "Delete from server".

You final rule should look like this:

Apply this rule after the message arrives.
Where the From line does not contain '@'
    or Where the To line does not contain '@'
Delete it from server

Warning! If a message is sent to you with your address in the BCC field, it is quite possible that the TO line will be blank, and so this rule would remove that message. If you frequently receive such mail, you should not filter on "Where the To line does not contain".

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