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Resolving Issues in Outlook Express

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This document explains how to troubleshoot various issues that can occur when working with Microsoft's Outlook Express (OE) email software. Find the section that best matches your issue from the choices below. As Microsoft is the author of OE, most of these sections link to support content provided by Microsoft.
If you are not able to find the particular issue listed in one of the sections below, reset OE back to its original installation using the section Problems occur when opening Outlook Express (reinstalling OE) .
If you are looking for helpful information about how to use OE, use the section Related support .

Outlook Express does not open after upgrading to Windows XP

If OE does not open after upgrading Windows to XP or you cannot open another session with another identity, use the following Microsoft support article to download and install a cumulative fix that addresses this issue: Microsoft Support Article 331923 (in English). If the patch fails to work, perform the following steps to remove a corrupted identity database file:
CAUTION:The following steps remove the email database so that it can be recreated. Doing so destroys all email and email folders on the hard disk drive.
  1. Close Outlook Express.
  2. Click Start , Search , and All Files and Folders .
  3. Click More Advanced Options , and select Search System Folders , Search Hidden Files , and Search Subfolders .
  4. Type the following into the All or part of the filename field:
    *.dbx
  5. Click Search and wait for Windows to finish finding all of the files.
  6. When Windows is finished searching for files, select the file(s) that end with .dbx and are listed in ClassID.
  7. Press the Delete key on the keyboard and click Yes to remove the files.
  8. Close the search window and open Outlook Express. The Deleted Items database is rebuilt and you should be able to open Outlook again.

Unable to delete emails

If you cannot delete email messages, the deleted items database is probably corrupt. The error "selected message cannot be moved " may also appear. To fix this, perform the following steps:
CAUTION:The following steps remove the email database so that it can be recreated. Doing so destroys all email and email folders on the hard disk drive.
  1. Close Outlook Express.
  2. Click Start , Search , and All Files and Folders .
  3. Click More Advanced Options , and select Search System Folders , Search Hidden Files , and Search Subfolders .
  4. Type the following into the All or part of the filename field:
    *.dbx
  5. Click Search and wait for Windows to finish finding all of the files.
  6. When Windows is finished searching for files, select the file(s) Deleted Items.dbx and press the Delete key on the keyboard.
  7. Close the search window and open Outlook Express. The Deleted Items database is rebuilt and you can delete files.

Spelling Checker is not enabled or does not work

Outlook Express is a free software product that comes with Internet Explorer and made by Microsoft. The spelling checker in OE can only be enabled by installing a Microsoft product that contains the full Microsoft spelling checker files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). Install (or reinstall) the necessary Microsoft software to enable the spelling checker in OE.
For more information refer to Microsoft Support Article 886562 (in English).

Cannot open attachments after upgrading to Service Pack 1

After upgrading Windows XP or Internet Explorer to Service Pack 1 you are no longer able to open attachments. This is caused by a new security feature that makes saving attachments the default behavior of OE. For more information about this new feature and how to disable it, read Microsoft Support Article 329570 (in English).

Unable to save your OE password in Windows XP

When trying to setup an OE email account in Windows XP, it is not possible to save your password.
For all computers with Windows XP, use the following Microsoft support article that explains how to manually remove and re-enter passwords: Save password setting not retained in Outlook or Outlook Express, Microsoft Support Article 290684 (in English).

Email folders and address book are missing after upgrading to Windows XP

If folders, email, and the address book are missing after upgrading Windows to XP, use the following Microsoft support article to import the previous email information into OE: Microsoft Support Article 313055 (in English).

Messages disappear or errors occur when opening email in OE 6

When attempting to view email and OE is set to view all messages, the email disappears or an error message displays. This can happen if background virus scanning is enabled. Temporarily turn off virus scanning while reading your email, being careful not to open any attachments. Turn scanning back on after you have finished reading your email. For more information on this problem read Microsoft support article Q314421 (in English).

OE closes the Internet connection

If you get disconnected from your dial-up Internet connection when you open OE, use the following Microsoft support article to associate OE with the current dial-up account that you are using: Microsoft Article 250898 (in English).
If you get disconnected from your dial-up Internet connection when you close OE, use the following Microsoft support article to disable the disconnect-on-close feature: Microsoft Article 176658 (in English).

Out of Memory or Disk Space Errors

Not enough system memory or resources or Out of Disk Space error messages appear while using OE. Use one of the following Microsoft support articles to resolve the errors, depending on how the errors occur:
Error appears when sending messages: Microsoft Support Article 299467 (in English).
Error appears when trying to view mail properties (Control Panel): Microsoft Support Article 181146 (in English).
Memory errors appear when opening OE. Repair the file Mapi32.DLL using Fixmapi.exe : Microsoft Support Article 299499 (in English).

Hyperlinks not working in email messages

Hyperlinks are not supposed to work when writing email (this is by design). If hyperlinks do not work from received email or from the draft folder, there is a problem. Use the following Microsoft support article when OE does not open the Internet Browser software: Microsoft Support Article 177054 (in English).
If you have Windows XP and Microsoft support article 177504 does not resolve the issue, use the following steps to make sure that the necessary libraries are in place and registered:
  1. Click Start , Run , and type SFC /PURGECACHE . Click OK .
  2. Click Start , Run , and type SFC /SCANNOW . Click OK .
    NOTE:If a message appears about inserting a Windows disc, use the browse button to open the path c:\i386.
    NOTE: If your computer has Media Center 2005, a message may appear stating "Insert Your Windows XP Profession CD2 Now". Click Cancel to continue. This message may appear several times and does not affect the repair of standard files that came with your PC.
  3. Click Start , Run , and type REGSVR32 URLMON.DLL . Click OK .
    A RegSvr32 window opens stating success. If the RegSvr32 window states that the operation failed - the specified module could not be found, then check your spelling in the open field and try again. Click OK to close the RegSvr window.
  4. Click Start , Control Panel , Network and Internet Connections , and then Internet Options .
  5. Click the Programs tab, and then the Reset Web Settings button.
  6. Remove the checkmark next to Also, reset my home page .
  7. Click Yes , OK , OK , and then restart the computer.

Resetting Internet Protocol settings to resolve connection issues

Perform the steps in this section to "reset" your Internet Protocol settings in Windows XP. Performing these steps reset your Internet Protocol setting back to "Windows XP defaults" and resolves many types of connection issues.
  1. In Windows XP, click Start , and then Run .
  2. Type the following into the Open field: netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt
  3. Click OK .
  4. Restart the PC and try to log on and use Outlook Express. If the problem persists, continue using these steps.
  5. If you have Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, click Start , Run and enter the following into the Open field: netsh winsocks reset . Click OK , and restart the PC.
    If you do not have Service Pack 2, perform all of the following steps to remove and restore the Winsock files:
    CAUTION:The following steps involve editing the registry. Make sure that you have created a restore point or that the registry is backed up before continuing.
    Click Start , Run , and type the following into the Open field: regedit
    Click OK . A registry Editor appears.
    Click the plus sign (+) next to the following keys: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\
    Click Winsock , press the Delete key, and click Yes to confirm the removal of the key.
    Click Winsock2 , press the Delete key, and click Yes to confirm the removal of the key.
    Restart the PC. You must perform this step.
    Click Start , Control Panel , Network and Internet Connections , Network Connection , right-click on your network connection in the list, and then select Properties .
    Click the Networking tab (Dial-up) or the General tab (Network interface).
    Click Install , Protocol , Add , Have Disk , and type the following into the field:
    c:\windows\inf
    Click OK and select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) from the list of available protocols.
    Click OK .
  6. Restart the PC and try to log on and use Outlook Express. If the problem persists, continue using these steps.

Problems occur when opening Outlook Express (reinstalling OE)

If MSOE.DLL errors occur, or if Windows Stops responding while opening OE, repair OE by reinstalling it. Use one of the following support articles to reinstall OE depending on which version of Windows you are using:
  • Reinstalling OE in Windows XP: Microsoft Support Article 318378 (in English).
  • Reinstalling OE in Windows Me: Microsoft Support Article 278909 (in English).
  • Reinstalling OE in Windows 98: Uninstall OE by removing the checkmark next to Outlook Express on the Windows Setup tab of Add/Remove Programs, clicking OK , and then restarting the PC. Install OE by re-adding the checkmark next to Outlook Express on the Windows Setup tab of Add/Remove Programs, clicking OK , and then restarting the PC.
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