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What is Microsoft Outlook Express?

MS Outlook Express is a discontinued news as well as an email client that lets the user send, receive, manage, and store email messages. After the user has downloaded and installed Internet Explorer (versions 4.0 through 6.0), the MS Outlook Express was bundled with it for free. Starting with Windows 98 upto Windows XP, it was the default email client and later replaced by Windows Mail in Windows Vista. It was later offered as a standalone software.

Basic Features of Outlook Express

The features of Outlook Express are as follows:-

  • Available as a free utility which was bundled with Internet Explorer 4.0 upto version 6.0.
  • Supports Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/3/XP.
  • Manages multiple POP, IMAP, MSN and Hotmail accounts.
  • Manage the display of mailboxes in order to handle large mailboxes efficiently.
  • Protects our privacy as it blocks remote image downloads.
  • An option to show all emails in secure plain text only.
  • Allows to compose and receive rich HTML messages, create attractive emails with stationery.
  • Potential malware attachments are blocked automatically.
  • Allows to create simple email message rules for automatic incoming mail filing.
  • Supports S/MIME-encrypted email messages and TLS/SSL encryption for server connections.
  • Popular file extensions of Outlook Express is DBX (Data Base Exchange).

Versions of Outlook Express

The MS Outlook Express Versions are as follows:

Versions for Windows

Name Year of Release Bundled with IE Version
Microsoft Internet Mail and News 1.0 1996 Internet Explorer 3
Microsoft Internet Mail and News 2.0 1996 Internet Explorer 3
Outlook Express 4.0 1998 Internet Explorer 4
Outlook Express 5.0 1999 Internet Explorer 5
Outlook Express 5.01 2000 Windows 2000
Outlook Express 5.5 2000 Windows Me
Outlook Express 6.0 2001 Windows XP

Versions for MAC

Name Bundled with IE Version
Outlook Express 4.0 --
Outlook Express 5.01 Internet Explorer 5
Outlook Express 5.01 Internet Explorer 5.01
Outlook Express 5.5 Windows Me

Microsoft Outlook Express Configuration

The procedure to setup Outlook Express email is as follows:

  1. In MS Outlook Express, Go to Tools menu, choose Accounts.
  2. Open the Mail tab and from the Add menu, choose Mail.
  3. In the Display Name field, fill your full name and then click Next.
  4. In the E-mail address field, mention your email address and click Next.
  5. On the E-mail Server Names page, fill you complete information and click Next.
  6. Within the Account Name and Password fields, enter your email credentials and then click Next.
  7. Click Finish.
  8. On the Mail tab, choose the account you just created, and then click on Properties.
  9. Go to the Servers tab.
  10. Select My server requires authentication,then click Apply.
  11. Go to the Advanced tab, Server Port Numbers section, change Outgoing mail (SMTP) to 80, and then click OK.

Problems in Outlook Express

The common errors / issues in Outlook Express are as follows:

  • MS Outlook Express faces frequent issues where the file database gets corrupted.
  • Is sometimes criticized for its security issues.
  • Doesn't have documented object model like MS Outlook.
  • Does not have Dedicated spell checker like MS Office.
  • MS Outlook Express supports dbx files that are smaller than 2 GB.


1. Can I transfer my new messages automatically from the server and save them locally?

No this is not possible because Outlook Express doesn't support mail filters on IMAP servers.

2. How can I configure MS Outlook Express for different user accounts on the same desktop?

In MS Outlook Express the user can create multiple user profiles, so that each user can use the own personalized version and can access to their own email.

3. I can't print messages correctly. Why is this happening?

The user should configure Internet Explorer for printing as Outlook Express uses the Internet Explorer print engine. Follow the below steps to do so:
i. Open Internet Explorer and then click Tools >> Print >> Click on Page Setup. Modify the settings according to your preference.
ii. Go to Tools >> Print >> Click on Print. Select the printer & click on Print.

4. I am not able to open attachments in Outlook Express 6. Any suggestions to remove this error?

Outlook Express 6 has this feature that does not allow potential virus from being opened or saved. You can turn it off to save an attachment. To do so, go to Tools >> Internet Options >> Advanced >> then Change the settings accordingly


This article has been focused to discuss the what is Microsoft Outlook Express email client, features of Microsoft outlook express, problems in outlook express, versions and microsoft outlook express configuration etc.