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Outlook Express

Last Edit: 10/01/17

A comparison of Outlook Express and Microsoft Outlook

Are they the same program?

Simple put, no. Although they both have 'Outlook' in their name, and are email applications, they each originate from different groups within Microsoft. While Outlook Express is a free program packaged with Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook is packaged with Microsoft Office and allows access to the Microsoft Exchange.


Outlook Express is classified as an email client, and was first included with version 4.0 of Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser. From Windows 98 to XP, it has been bundled for free. The latest version of Windows, Vista, does not include Outlook Express however. Microsoft have released a new mail client called 'Windows Mail'. Outlook Express should not be confused with the Outlook mail client bundled with MS Office. Though it's similar in it's design and integration, they do not share the same programming code. Outlook Express contains support for most mail transfer protocols, such as POP3, SMTP and IMAP. And for hypertext and mail protocols such as HTML, LDAP, S/MIME, MHTML and NNTP. The advantage of Outlook Express in comparison to Outlook, is that you only require an email address to begin functionality of the client.


The first version of Outlook Express was available in 1996. Version 1.0 was not released in time to be packaged with IE 3.0, but it was freeware. Version 2.0 was launched in the same year, 1996. Both of these version were actually called 'MS Internet Mail and News' to be exact. So some people may claim the first version of Outlook Express was only released in 97 with IE 4.0. Without doubt, this was first time the name was officially OE, but the evolution, architecture and code base of the msimn.exe program was the same. While 'Windows Mail' uses a large portion of Outlook Express's code, it cannot claim to be the same program, but a successor. Therefore the age of Outlook Express has come to an end with version 6.0. However, Microsoft do plan to continue support for version 6.0 until two thousand and fourteen.


4.0 - bundled with 98.
5.0 - bundled with 98 SE and 2000.
5.5 - bundled with Me.
6.0 - bundled with XP, XP Pack 2, XP Pack 3.

Security issues

Although Outlook Express was feature rich in it's earlier versions (compared to the competition), it also suffered from pushing the benchmark. Allowing HTML and scripts to be supported resulted in many emails containing viruses. Allowing scripts to be attachments was a major security flaw, especially when Outlook Express allowed exe. files to appear as harmless image files. Version 6.0 for Pack 3 has attempted to rectify these issues, but OE continues to come under criticism for security holes.



Picture of Oulook Express inbox entrance

Create a new email message


Add a new email account

  1. Click the tools menu, and then select accounts.
  2. Select the mail tab, and then add from the right hand menu.
  3. Type your name or email address in the box, whichever you prefer.
  4. Fill in your email address into the box.
  5. Next you will have to fill in your mail server details.
  6. Then verify your name and select a password for your account ( use 1dE characters)
  7. Click finish, and that's all there is to it.

To send an encrypted message

  1. This process is very simple. Fill in your message as usual.
  2. As you can see in the above screenshot for new messages, there is an 'Encrypt' button.
  3. Simple click it once you are ready to send the message.
  4. You will then notice a little blue lock logo next to your 'From' box.
  5. Your email message is now a lot tougher for hackers to read while in transit.

Sending an Attachment

  1. To begin with, it's a good idea to scan your attached file for viruses. Also files such as MS Word, if the recipient does not have the program, they will not be able to read it. So it worthwhile to bear that it mind before sending text files.
  2. The process is then very similar to encrypting an email.
  3. Fill in your new email as usual, then as you can see from the above image again, there is a paperclip logo with attach written below it.
  4. Click this button, browse your file system to select your attached file and press ok.
  5. Your file is then attached, simple.
  6. There is usually a one megabyte file limit for attached files from most mail servers. But to send larger files there is another option, explained below.

Sending large attached files

  1. As explained in the last tutorial, most email servers will not receive attached files which are larger than one megabyte.
  2. Therefore, we will need to send the email in multiple parts.
  3. To do this, go to your main Outlook Express client page.
  4. Click tools, then accounts, then your account name and properties.
  5. Click advanced, then view sending, and 'Break apart messages larger than xxxxx KB'.
  6. Enter one megabyte or lower and your done.