with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Outlook and Outlook Express Tips and Tricks

We’ve provided extensive information about how to stop spam, popups, and email hoaxes, and how to use Internet Explorer for browsing the Internet, but what about the process of sending and receiving email? We haven’t forgotten, after all, traveling as much as we do, we are completely reliant on the Internet to stay in touch with friends, family, and our business contacts.


NOTICE FROM MICROSOFT as of February 23, 2005:
“Recently, Hotmail(r) announced that in order to improve customer experience and reduce spam and junk e-mail abuse on MSN(r) services, Hotmail will no longer allow new e-mail accounts to be accessed via Microsoft(r) Office Outlook(r) and Outlook Express. We are pleased to inform you that because you are an existing and valued customer, at this time your current Hotmail and MSN account(s) are exempt from this restriction and you will be able to continue enjoying access to those accounts from Outlook or Outlook Express. However, any new Hotmail or MSN accounts you create will not be accessible via Outlook or Outlook Express.


Outlook and Outlook Express are Microsoft products which can be found on most Windows computers. Outlook Express comes built-in with Windows and Outlook comes with Microsoft Office. Microsoft seems to love playing with similar names just to confuse people like Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer, and they’ve done the same here with Outlook and Outlook Express. These are two different programs which look similar on the surface, but are completely different inside. Let’s look at the differences and similarities.

Outlook Express handles email and addresses. Not much else. It will allow you to access newsgroups and do other email communications. It allows you do handle multiple email accounts from a variety of sources including HTTP/HTML web page accounts and POP3 accounts. As a straight email program, it is fairly powerful, allowing the creation of folders on your computer to store email in ways to keep certain emails together and help you keep track of your email in general. It does feature an address book, but it is fairly limited in what information it contains, not including much more than the basics.

ALERT AND WARNING!!! If you have installed the Windows XP Service Pack 2, you will no longer be able to access any “new” free Hotmail accounts via Outlook Express or Outlook. Microsoft requires upgrading to a paid account to use Outlook Express or Outlook with MSN email services.

Outlook is a serious contact management and time management program. It features calendars, sophisticated address book features, to do task lists, planning and scheduling via email, and very powerful corporate related features. You can link a specific event to a document, task and/or email easily. You can write emails now to be sent out on a schedule later. Outlook is for the serious business user, allowing you to categorize incoming emails and read emails to help you keep track of your business life. But it has some limits. Currently, it will only allow one HTML email account. If you have more than one Hotmail, Yahoo, or other HTML web page email account, only one will be able to be easily incorporated into Outlook. There are ways to get around this, and I’m always hunting for better ways, but they can be complicated to set up.

If you are a power user, then stick with Outlook. If you just do email and have web page email accounts (HTML), then stick with Outlook Express.

Tips and Tricks for Outlook and Outlook Express

Tips for Hotmail Users
Microsoft’s Hotmail is a popular free or inexpensive email account service. Simple and easy to use, they recently updated their layout to make it even faster. Here are some tips you may need to know if you are a Hotmail user:

  • Basic Hotmail accounts are limited to 2 megabytes (MB) storage space. Exceed the 2 MB limit and messages are returned to the sender.
  • Exceed the 2 MB limit Hotmail may delete messages to reduce the size of the account. If messages are deleted, they are gone for good.
  • You can increase your storage size for a fee, beginning at 10 MB for $19.95 USD a year. Exceed the limit and the same “full” policies apply.
  • Hotmail limits outgoing email to 100 messages per day.
  • Hotmail limits sending a single email to no more than 50 e-mail addresses at once in the To, Cc, and Bcc lines.
  • To write more than one email address on a single line, use a semi-colon (;) between each email recipient’s name.
  • Outgoing messages limited to 1 MB each, including graphics, content, and attachments, though you can increase this to 20 MB each if you have a paid subscription.
  • To remove messages from Hotmail and still save them, use Outlook Express and click and drag the messages to your Personal Folders on your computer.
  • To read email offline in Outlook or Outlook Express, select, click and drag the messages to your Personal Folders on your computer.
  • Set options to save “sent messages” to keep a record of what you send out. Sent Messages are deleted if they are more than 30 days old, so keep an eye on them as they accumulate in size.
  • The Junk E-Mail folder messages are automatically deleted after seven days.
  • To maintain your Hotmail account, you must sign in at least once every 30 days, or within the first 10 days after signing up.
  • If your account becomes inactive, all messages, folders, and contacts are deleted and irretrievable. The account name is still reserved for 90 days, at which time it is permanently deleted.
  • Hotmail uses McAfee VirusScan to automatically scan all attached files coming into and out of your email account. If a file contains a virus, it cannot be attached to a message.
  • Hotmail allows a Block Sender List and Safe List which can contain a maximum of 500 entries each.
  • Microsoft Outlook limits you to only one Hotmail account for full-access. To use more than one Hotmail account, you must set up the account to be viewed as a web page (Search Microsoft’s Knowledge files for more information).
Avoiding Spam? Viruses? Don’t Preview
As soon as your email program shows you the content of the email in the preview pane, you are susceptible to its contents. View your email subject titles, sender, and other information (called email headers) before downloading or viewing the email content. To eliminate unsolicited or suspicious email without reading it, turn off the preview pane. Select the unwanted email and hit the DELETE key.

In Outlook 2003:

  • From the menu choose TOOLS, OPTIONS
  • Click on the SECURITY tab
  • Select Change Automatic Download Settings
  • Uncheck the boxes for downloading photographs or other content – this turns it off.

In Outlook XP:

  • From the menu choose TOOLS, OPTIONS
  • Click on the OTHER tab
  • Choose PREVIEW PANE and check the box marked SINGLE KEY READING WITH SPACEBAR
  • To view an email in the Preview Pane, highlight the email and press the spacebar

In Outlook Express:

  • From the menu choose TOOLS, OPTIONS
  • Click on the READ tab
  • Outlook Express Preview Pane ControlsUncheck the box next to AUTOMATICALLY DOWNLOAD MESSAGE WHEN VIEWING IN THE PREVIEW PANE (press spacebar to download the message)
  • Click on the SECURITY tab
  • Check the box that says WARN ME WHEN OTHER APPLICATIONS TRY TO SEND EMAIL AS ME
  • Check the box that says DO NOT ALLOW ATTACHMENTS TO BE SAVED OR OPEN THAT COULD POTENTIALLY BE A VIRUS
  • Click APPLY and OKAY
Don’t Send Email Immediately
When you aren’t monitoring what email is going out, you may miss a chance to catch a potential virus or worm that is sending email out from your address book. Instead of sending email out as soon as you hit the SEND button, it will sit in your Outbox until you are ready to send it all. To send email, click the SEND/RECEIVE button or the small arrow next to it and choose SEND ONLY. By checking your outbox before sending email, you also have a chance to change your mind about what you are sending.

In Outlook, change the automatic send feature off by:

  • From the menu choose TOOLS, OPTIONS
  • Click on the MAIL SETUP tab
  • Uncheck (make blank) the box next to SEND EMAIL IMMEDIATELY

In Outlook Express:

  • Outlook Express Do Not Send and Receve Email at Startup screen From the menu choose TOOLS, OPTIONS
  • Click on the GENERAL tab
  • Uncheck the box next to SEND AND RECIEVE EMAIL AT STARTUP
  • Click on the SEND tab
  • Uncheck the box next to SEND EMAIL IMMEDIATELY
  • Click OKAY
Don’t Include the Original Message
It is a default of the email programs to include the original message in the reply. This is a horrible thing. If you are discusses serious business or legal matters, then what was said between each party should be preserved. Adding the original message bloats the reply email, making it larger. With so many people using small storage accounts for their email, you not only save them space by not including the original message, but it moves through the Internet faster because it is smaller. For jokes, basic conversations and simple replies, stop this nasty wasteful habit.

For Outlook:

  • From the menu choose TOOLS, OPTIONS
  • Click on the PREFERENCES tab
  • Under “On Replies and Forwards” at REPLIES, change the selection to DO NOT INCLUDE ORIGINAL MESSAGE
  • Outlook Express do not include message in reply screenClick OKAY

In Outlook Express:

  • From the menu choose TOOLS, OPTIONS
  • Click on the SEND tab
  • Uncheck the box next to INCLUDE MESSAGE IN REPLY
  • Click APPLY and OKAY
But I want to see what they sent me!
Blocking your previewing Outlook Express View Message Source screencapabilities doesn’t mean you can’t get some information about the email before you delete it while still protecting your computer. To view the text of a message, including the names of the sender and any encoded content, you have some choices:

For an attachment to a message in Outlook:

  • Select the email header and RIGHT CLICK
  • Choose VIEW ATTACHMENTS

In Outlook Express:

  • Do not open the email – Select the email header (subject title, sender) and RIGHT CLICK
  • Choose PROPERTIES
  • Click DETAILS then MESSAGE SOURCE

If you don’t like what you see, close the Properties window and delete the email.

A Word About Email
Email is a fun and efficient way of communicating, and it is so fun and easy, it is easily abused. Be a good emailing friend and co-worker by stopping all the forwarding on of jokes, funnies, and informative and inspirational emails. Stop it. Well, at least stop using every address in your email address book like a giant photocopier. Send non-essential emails only to someone you personally know will really appreciate it. Don’t send it because you think its interesting or funny and assume they will. Use your email power wisely, thoughtfully and carefully, considering the person you are writing to as if you were actually sitting down and writing a letter with pen and paper.

For those on the receiving end of jokes, funnies, informative and inspirational emails, or oversized attachments and great time wasters, stand up for your rights and stop the junk! Tell your friends, relatives and co-workers that enough is enough. You may use our standard reply for refusing jokes and junk:

Thank you for taking the time to think of us when you forwarded on your last email. As [choose one: amusing, interesting, fascinating, stimulating, inspiring] as your last email was, I’d like to ask you a favor. If you have a particular joke or informative article you would like to send us, could you take a moment to make sure it is something we really must see and that it would be important to our life? We sincerely think about the recipient of our emails when we send them, and we’d appreciate the same thoughtfulness. We love hearing from you, but we’d love to hear about your life and activities, how you are really doing and being in your life, than just hearing an anonymous joke or two. And thank you for helping us cut down on our time at the computer.

Filtering Out Spam
This technique involves using the built-in filtering techniques for Outlook and Outlook Express. It isn’t a perfect science but it may help you filter out and potentially slow down your spam harassment.

In Outlook

  • Choose TOOLS, RULES WIZARD
  • Click NEW on the right side of the box
  • Choose CONDITIONS to select filter messages from certain people (using email addresses), or containing certain words
  • Choose ACTION to occur if the email matches your conditions:
    • DELETE the message
    • MOVE to selected folder – Note: Choose MOVE if you want to keep the filtered messages to make sure you don’t delete an important message
  • RULE – In the bottom box you should see your new RULE for filtering. Click on the underlined blue word to enter the filter address you wish to block)
  • If there are exceptions to the rule, enter it in the EXCEPTIONS window
  • When asked to apply the filter to the messages already in your mailbox, you may choose yes or no
  • Name the rule
  • Click OK
  • Repeat the process for each new rule or filter options

In Outlook Express:

  • Choose INBOX, TOOLS, MESSAGE RULES, MAIL
  • Click NEW on the right side of the box
  • Choose CONDITIONS to select filter messages from certain people (using email addresses), or containing certain words
  • Choose ACTION to occur if the email matches your conditions:
    • DELETE the message
    • MOVE to selected folder – Note: Choose MOVE if you want to keep the filtered messages to make sure you don’t delete an important message
  • RULE – In the bottom box you should see your new RULE for filtering. Click on the underlined blue word to enter the filter address you wish to block)
  • Name the rule
  • Click OK.
  • Repeat the process for each new rule or filter options
Don’t CC Everyone – Blind Copy Them
If you have to forward or send information to more than one person, send Blind Carbon Copies (BCC). Click on the TO next the email address box in the email. This opens your address book window. To the right you will see three boxes into which you can insert addresses. TO and CC (carbon copy) will include each person’s email address in the outgoing email. BCC will not include the recipients’ email addresses in the outgoing email, protecting their privacy.
Remove Email Addresses from Forwarded Email
If you absolutely must forward any email, take a moment to remove all email addresses from the previous forwarding in the forwarded email. Select them and hit DELETE. By forwarding email with multiple private email addresses, you may be violating their privacy rights and exposing people to more spam and nasties. Who knows where a much forwarded joke ends up, carrying everyone’s email address with it. Delete before forwarding.

3 Comments

  • Barbara R. Slater
    Posted May 26, 2005 at 10:26 | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle
    Time to update the Hotmail information, seeing as how the basic free account has grown from 2 MB to 250 MB. ;-)
    Hot on your trail,
    Barbara

  • Bruce Osborn
    Posted September 29, 2005 at 15:35 | Permalink

    I have been trying to find a way to not include the original message in replies to email. I found you through ‘Ask’ and I thank you for having a simple solution to a question a couldn’t get answered anywhere else.

  • Alicia Lindsay
    Posted July 26, 2006 at 18:13 | Permalink

    Hi,

    Don’t forget to save your email files every once in a while. For this you only need to search for the .pst or .dbx files and copy them to a secure place ( such as CD ).

    If your computer brokes, you can install everything back ( Windows and the other software ) but if you don’t have a saved copy you might lose all your email in Outlook Express or Outlook ( all pictures from friends, documents and other unique info ).

    There are several tutorials on how to back it up for free, or you can use a shareware software such as Outlook Express Backup Genie . I chosed it because it saves both MS Outlook and Outlook Express

    Alicia

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