Outlook Express is an email program developed by Microsoft that lets you store, manage, send and receive email messages. There are several such email programs available (check list of email programs) and Outlook Express is probably the most popular of them all.
Why? Because it is free and comes bundled with Internet Explorer web browser. So if you download and install Internet Explorer, you get the free email program too!
An email management program, like Outlook Express, is also known an email client.
Update: Microsoft has stopped the development of Outlook Express and did not include it with the Internet Explorer version 7 installer file. The company has, however, released a new version of Outlook Express which it calls by a different name – Windows Live Mail. If you like to use the latest email program, refer the Windows Live Mail help and tips section on this web site.
Attention Vista users: The default email client on the operating system is Windows Mail. Though somewhat confusing in nomenclature, Windows Mail is different from Windows Live Mail. I suggest you use the latest email client – Windows Live Mail – because Microsoft has discontinued the development of Windows Mail too!
Just as you use a web browser to view web pages, you employ Outlook Express to read emails. Furthermore, you can compose new messages, store and organize the older ones. If you have used an online email service such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo!Mail, you already know how to send and receive emails… right? To check emails on these services, you open a web browser window, go to the web address, enter your username and password (login details) and gain access to your account. This means without a live internet connection, you would not be able to view your messages – even old ones. And if these services are “down” for maintenance, you would be left in the dark.
Outlook Express is a program that is installed on your computer and, as mentioned above, lets you store and manage email messages. These email messages reside on your computer and not on some computer (web server) located miles away. Outlook Express itself doesn’t give you an email account – you have to add or setup pre-existing ones in the program. For instance, let us say you have two email addresses one from your office and another from your ISP (Internet service Provider). You can add both these email accounts into Outlook Express. You would then be able to collect messages from the two accounts at one place – your computer. The process of adding or setting up email accounts in Outlook Express is a fairly simple one and involves providing the program with your email account details such as your email address, username, password etc. – you can find step by step instructions on this web site along with helpful screenshots. You can add as many email accounts as you want; at one point in time I had 33 email accounts configured in the email program.
In Outlook Express, all incoming emails arrive at the INBOX folder. The three other default folders are Sent items, Drafts and the Outbox. Any email you send from Outlook Express is automatically moved to the Sent Items folder. The program lets you create additional folders under the Inbox and segregate your messages as you like. This is a big help in organizing your emails. For example, you can create separate folders called “Office”, “Friends”, or “Family” and place the respective email messages in them. The program also provides an automated method called Outlook Express Message Rules with which you can create rules and have them applied to all incoming emails. Thus, for instance, you can have certain messages moved to designated folders, replied to automatically or even deleted without your involvement.
Once you have added or configured your email accounts in Outlook Express, you would be able to send and receive messages without any problem. And if you do face a difficulty, please refer cannot send emails – trouble shooting Outlook Express problems. Please note, you can send and receive emails in Outlook Express ONLY when you have added email accounts in the program.
To send emails with the email client, click on the “New” button and enter the recipients email address. To send emails to more than one recipient, put in the additional addresses in the CC field. Outlook Express allows you to attach any kind of files with your email message including photos, audio and video files. All emails sent using the program are stored in the Sent Items folder.
Your email message don’t have to be drab and boring. Outlook Express allows you to use pre-existing stationery or even create your own. You can, thus, develop your own email stationery with your company logo and contact details, save it as a template and use it for all outgoing emails.
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