Article: Outlook Express

by Richard Lowe

Outlook Express is a reasonably nice email, newsgroup and
contacts client. One of the best things about this program is
the fact that it is free if, of course, you install Internet
Explorer on your system.

Let's start with the positive things about this program. The
email client is on a par with most other email clients. You can
do just about anything that you would ever desire, including
creating maintaining email accounts, receiving messages, replying,
forwarding, and so on.

One of the real benefits to Outlook Express is the ability to
create identities. I don't know about you, but I have several
email accounts. Using the standard Outlook 2000 client all of the
messages from all of the accounts get thrown together in one list
(my understanding is that Outlook XP fixes this, but who wants to
install such a piece of garbage as Office XP on their system?)
Outlook express allows you to create moreorless separate, well,
everything for each and every email account (if you so desire).
This way, all of the contacts, inbox, sendbox and so on are
totally unique to the account.

The newsgroup reader is the standard, online type. This was the
first newsgroup reader that I ever used, and it meets most of the
requirements of anyone doing light to medium reading and posting.
Other, far better newsgroup clients now exist, however, so Outlook
Express cannot be recommended based upon the newsgroup client

Contacts are handled in a more or less standard way. You've got a
list of contacts, and you can add their mailing information as
needed. The contact can be defined directly from an email message,
which is a nice touch.

The rule engine in Outlook Express probably was considered
advanced many years ago, but by today's standards it is mundane.
However, it can be used to block spam, file away messages and
perform autoreplies.

A feature which is really cool is called Email Stationary. One of
the best features about Outlook Express is the builtin stationary
editor. It's not supersophisticated, but it does the job of
creating simple and intermediate stationary files very well.

Okay, now for the negatives about this product. I can sum up the
biggest negative in just one sentence:

The reason why viruses such as Melissa, Iloveyou and the
like exist and thrive is the proliferation of Outlook and
Outlook Express.

You see, Outlook Express (and it's big brother Outlook) support
email scripting. Other email clients do allow you to execute
programs and scripts, but very few of them allow the email client
itself to be invoked from the script or executable. Why is this a

Here's an example. Read and execute a virus in a different email
client and you could wipe out your own system. Read the same
virus in Outlook Express (or Outlook) and you can additionally
automatically (and often without your knowledge) send that virus
to everyone you've ever communicated with on email.

Before the days of email scripting, creating a selfreplicating
virus was a large task requiring a very knowledgeable person. He
would have to design and create a means whereby the virus sent
itself to other systems. Once email scripting was invented and
became popular, virtually anyone with a few days or weeks of
script training (or reading of manuals) could do the same.

So if you use Outlook Express, you MUST install a very good
virus checking program (such as Norton Antivirus) and you MUST
keep the definitions uptodate. Unfortunately, the email
security patch for Outlook which disables email scripting does
not apply to Outlook Express, so is of no help. (I am not sure if
the scripting problem applies to the Outlook Express which ships
with Internet Explorer 6 and above as I have not installed that
program yet).

To sum it up quickly, Outlook Express is a reasonable email and
newsgroup client. The best that can be said about it is the
product works and it's free. You are, however, exposing yourself
to some risk if you use the program, especially if you do not
have a good antivirus program installed.

Additional Reading

Changing Location Of Outlook Stationary
The location of Outlook and Outlook Express stationary files is
contained in the registry. You can modify this value.

Creating Stationery Using Outlook Express 5 Lesson 1 Basics

Creating Stationery Using Outlook Express 5 Lesson 2
Stationery Wizard

Email The most critical application on the web
Email is the most used and most important component on the web.
There are lots of options available to make your email
experience better and more more fulfilling.

Outlook Stationery
Both Outlook and Outlook Express support stationery files,
which allow you to send very coollooking email messages.

The Ultimate In Virus Protection
Learn how to protect your computer and your hard work. Start
with a backup plan, install antivirus software and subscribe to

The most important thing you can do to protect your system is
install a virus checker (also known as an antivirus program).
These programs will scan your system for viruses and Trojan
horses and delete or repair them. There are several products
including those by McAfee and Norton (Symantec).

About the Author

Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets
at Visit our website any time to
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