E-mail settings Outlook

Basically there are two ways to send and receive e-mail messages: with an e-mail application or web based with an internet browser like the Internet Explorer or Firefox (download: www.firefox.org). Most web based solutions are straight forward and easy in use (and available wherever you are able to browse the internet because your mail are stored on the server of the e-mail provider). With an e-mail application your send and received e-mail are stored on your computer. Therefore you need an e-mail application like Windows Mail (Windows Vista build-in), Outlook (part of MS Office) or Outlook Express (Windows XP build-in). This page describes the different settings of the e-mail applications Outlook.

E-mail settings Outlook

Setting up Outlook is not that much different from the Outlook Express procedure. From your e-mail provider you probably received the settings like e-mail address, POP3 and SMTP server, user account and password. Most times, this is all the information you need. In Outlook you click Tools, E-mail Accounts in the toolbar followed by the option Add a new e-mail account and a wizard appears to setup the account.

In the appearing wizard you first have to select the type of e-mail server, most times POP3 (HTTP for Hotmail accounts). In the next screen you enter your name, followed with your e-mail address (enter your e-mail address correctly, else nobody will be able to reply your e-mail!). You also have to enter the POP3 and SMTP server (provided by your provider). The POP3 server is the incoming mail server of the e-mail provider, while the SMTP server is the outgoing mail server (most times you have to use the SMTP server of your internet provider (probably the same as your e-mail provider)). Furthermore you need to provide the Logon Information: the username and password, provided by your e-mail provider.

By clicking More Settings you are able to change some properties. On the first tab you are able to change the name (as identification for yourself) and if needed changing the default port numbers on the tab Advanced. On the bottom of this tab your are able to leave a copy of the messages on the server for a certain amount of time. This can be interesting if you would like to download your e-mail on more then one computer!

ATTENTION: In combination with Windows Vista, Outlook XP/2002 (and older) is not able to remember the passwords. An upgrade to Outlook 2003 is necessary to solve this problem.

Changing default Outlook settings

The default Outlook settings aren't always that comfortable, I prefer to change some of them:


With a simple tweak you are able to minimize Outlook to the system tray on the right of your taskbar. This is done with the registry editor by creating the DWORD-value MinToTray with value 1 in the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Microsoft\Office\xx.0\Outlook\Preferences.


For Outlook there is no work around for the secured attachments, like Outlook Express has. You need to make changes in the registry to disable (partly) the security options. Navigate to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Security (9.0 for Outlook 2000SP3, 10.0 for Outlook 2002/XP). Add the String Value Level1Remove. Change the value with the allowed file extensions, separated with the ;-sign (example: exe;com).

Actually I advice to use the add-in called Outlook Attachment Options (download: www.slovaktech.com). After installing this add-in, it is available in Outlook by Extra, Options, tab Outlook Attachment Options. By choosing the allowed extensions and restarting Outlook, you can temporary change the settings! With this add-in, you are also able to minimize Outlook to the system tray, as described above.


As soon as the first letter of a name is pressed into the To field of a e-mail message, Outlook shows the previously used e-mail addresses in a drop-down menu. Not everybody likes this AutoComplete feature, because it shows the wrongfully spelled and no longer valid e-mail addresses as well. Many don't know that it is very easy to delete those e-mail addresses using the DEL key after the e-mail address has been selected into the drop-down list! Besides that, it is also possible to copy the AutoComplete list to another PC or user account. Close Outlook and copy the file Outlook.NK2 using the Windows Explorer to the new location. Windows XP stores this file in the folder C:\Documents and Settings\login name\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook, Windows Vista uses the folder C:\Users\login name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook.

Would you rather disable the AutoComplete list? Go to Tools, Options, tab Preferences, button E-mail options, button Advanced e-mail options and deactivate the option Suggest names while completing To, Cc, and Bcc fields.

Changing database location Outlook

When a data partition is used to separate the personal files from the system files (to create an image of the Windows partition), move the Outlook database as well (by default these files are hidden). For more information visit the page about moving the personal files (including the contacts) to a data partition.

Outlook stores the complete archive (OUTLOOK.PST file (ARCHIVE.PST for the older e-mail)) in the following folder:
XP: C:\Documents and Settings\login name\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook or
Vista: C:\Users\login name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\

NOTE: Normally these files are hidden in the Windows Explorer! To unhide: Tools, Folder Options, tab View, enable Display the content of system folders, enable Show hidden files and folders, disable Hide extensions for known file types and disable Hide protected operating system files. If you are not able to find the files, you can always use the Windows search function to find these files (Start, Search, "OUTLOOK.PST").

By a simple cut and paste action from the OUTLOOK.PST file to a new location (example: D:\DATA\MAIL (use the Windows Explorer to create this folder)), you are able to change the current archive location! (By replacing the OUTLOOK.PST you are able to switch between archives!) After the start of Outlook, you receive a database error because the missing OUTLOOK.PST file. Navigate to the new location and restart Outlook again, and the new location has been set.

TIP: Learn more about recovering deleted e-mail in Outlook using the free tool SCANPST.

Deleting double items

Sometimes, a synchronisation with a PDA or MDA can go wrong, resulting in double items (e-mail, appointments, contacts, tasks and notes). Those double items in the Outlook archive can be found and removed easily with free tools like Outlook Duplicate Items Remover (download: www.vaita.com/odir.asp) and Outlook Duplicates Remover (download: www.slipstick.com/addins/mail_duplicates.asp, at the bottom of the list). Before using tools like these, it's wise to copy the file OUTLOOK.PST to create a back-up, before making irreversible changes!

Outlook Duplicate Items Remover
ODIR is available by the Outlook menu bar. Each folder has to be searched separately, which is time consuming in case of the existence of many sub folders. If ODIR finds duplicate items located on different locations, one of them is moved to the folder ODIR_duplicate items (the items stored in this folder have to be deleted manually). If there are a lot of e-mail, searching for duplicate items can be time consuming!

Outlook Duplicates Remover
After the installation of ODR, it is available by the Start Menu, All programs, Holy Spirit, Southsea (it is 'prayerware'...) Before starting the scanning for duplicate items, it wise to change the selection criteria. Be aware that ODR doesn't back-up the deleted double items!


Probably you will have a problem with the Outlook Address Book, especially if you overwrite the OUTLOOK.PST file with the archive from you previous Windows XP installation (Tools, Address Book). To solve this problem, right click the Contact icon the folder view on the left pane (if the different archive folders are not visible, enable this by View, Folder List) and select Properties, tab Outlook Address Book and enable the option Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book (if you feel the need to you can change the address book name). The next step in Outlook is Tools, Address Book, and in the new appearing window Tools, Options, and change the two combo boxes and in the lower pain remove the upper address book referrer.


I advise to disable the auto archiving option. This option is enabled by default, which will move old e-mail to the ARCHIVE.PST file. This way, they are no longer visible, and very difficult to find. Disable this option by Tools, Options, tab Other, button AutoArchive. (changing the default location to a safe location (example D:\DATA\MAIL) is also possible here). If you already have an ARCHIVE.PST file with old e-mail and would like to import them to your current OUTLOOK.PST file, you can import those by File, Import and Export, Import from another program of file, Personal Folder File (.pst) and Browse to the PST-file.


If you would like to send sensitive files as an attachment in your email, you probably would like to encrypt it first to make sure the information is secured. This can be done with the free tool AxCrypt (download: www.axantum.com/AxCrypt). In a few clicks you can create an encrypted file which can be send safely as an attachment by email. The recipient only requires the key to decode the send file. Of course, this tool is also very useful to send big sensitive files with a site like http://free.mailbigfile.com.

Removing duplicate items

After changes in the system or synchronization problems, it is not rare that duplicate Outlook-items occur (like e-mail messages, contacts, appointments, task and notes). Those duplicate items in the Outlook archive can be found and removed easily with the free tools Outlook Duplicate Items Remover (download: www.vaita.com/odir.asp) and Outlook Duplicates Remover (download: www.slipstick.com/addins/mail_duplicates.asp, at the bottom). Before using one of those tools, it is wise to backup the OUTLOOK.PST file: you never know!

Outlook Duplicate Items Remover
After installation of ODIR, the tool is available by the Outlook menu bar. Every folder has to searched separately, which makes it hard to verify multiple folders. When ODIR finds an item on different locations, one of them is moved to the folder ODIR_duplicate items. The items stored in this folder have to be deleted manually. When a lot of e-mail is stored in the Outlook archive, searching for duplicate items can take some time...

Outlook Duplicates Remover
After installation of ODR, the tool is available by the start menu, All programs, Holy Spirit, Southsea (it is 'prayer ware'...). Refine the selection criteria before scanning for duplicate items. Be aware that ODR does not backup the deleted duplicates! By the way, the development of Outlook Duplicates Remover has been stopped.

Addons for Outlook

Xobni helps organizing a flooded inbox
If the messages in the Inbox and Send items are not archived properly, then in time it will become hard to trace earlier send and received e-mail. Do you recognize this problem, try the free plugin Xobni (download: www.xobni.com, suitable for Outlook 2003 and higher). After the installation of this plugin, all send and received e-mail (at first only the past 6 months) are indexed. During the indexation, Xobni will connect all send and received e-mail to the specific contact. Besides this indexation, the other contacts in the TO and CC field are indexed as well to show their contacts if needed. Based on the indexed e-mal, extensive statistics can be shown about the e-mail behavior of the contacts. For example, this information shows the specific time a contact is processing his/here e-mail. If possible, Xobni also displays the found telephone numbers of the contacts. Because this information is derived from the received e-mail, this information is not always correct. (fortunately, the source is shown as well with a mouse over).

Within Windows XP, the Xobni archive is stored in the folder C:\Documents and Settings\login name\Local Settings\Application Data\Xobni\Outlook\ while Windows Vista uses the folder C:\Users\login name\AppData\Local\Xobni\Outlook\.

RSS in Outook
Although RSS is only supported since Outlook 2007 versions, with the plug-in NewsGator Inbox (download: www.newsgator.com/Individuals/NewsGatorInbox) it is also possible to read RSS feeds within the older versions of Outlook. This free plug-in creates an additional PST archive file to store the RSS feeds. The first time Outlook opens after the installation of the plug-in, it asks for a login, which is not necessary for using NewsGator Inbox. Be aware that using the plug-in will result in a slow down the starting and closing of Outlook.

Synchronizing the Outlook calendar
Would it be useful to view your Outlook appointments online using any computer! This can be done with the synchronization tool Google Calendar Sync (download: www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?answer=89955). Because the Outlook appointments are synchronized with the Google Calendar, changes to the online calendar will be added to the Outlook archive as well (in case of 2-way synchronization).

Not able to save the password

In some cases Outlook doesn't save your password, even if you enable the option to save the password. This error is caused by a malfunctioning of the Protected Storage Space from Windows. To solve this problem, run the registry editor and navigate to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Protected Storage System Provider. You will find a key with a long name starting with S-1-5-21 which you have to delete (probably it's safe to create a back-up of this key by File, Export). In most cases the problem is solved and next time the passwords will be saved. Be careful: by doing this you will lose all stored passwords. Read the back-up page how to recover these passwords.

If this doesn't solve the password issue (or if it's not possible to delete the key), there is probably a problem with the permissions of your user account. Select the key Protected Storage System Provider, right click on it and select Permissions, button Advanced. Make sure that your user account has Full Control for this key and sub keys. Activate the option Reset permissions on all child objects and enable propagation of inheritable permissions, click OK and repeat the earlier mentioned procedure. If needed, check the Microsoft KB files (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290684). Here you will find more information how to reset the protected storage system provider.

Opening hyperlinks doesn't work and other problems

Frequently people ask me how to fix the issue with hyperlinks in an e-mail message which won't open anymore (and other strange problems). Most of the time this is caused by the  registry of the DLL files. You can fix this by using the following commands in Start, Run:

regsvr32 urlmon.dll
regsvr32 shdocvw.dll
regsvr32 actxprxy.dll
regsvr32 oleaut32.dll
regsvr32 mshtml.dll
regsvr32 browseui.dll
regsvr32 shell32.dll

This can be done easely by selecting them one by one, copy (CTRL-C) and paste (CTRL-V) in the Run box. The next thing is to start the Internet Explorer and select Tools, Internet Options, tab Programs, button Reset Web Settings. Most of the time the troubles are solved.

TIP: It can be irritating that clicking on a hyperlink in an e-mail will overwrite the current Internet Explorer webpage. You can solve this issue by disabling the option Reuse windows for launching shortcuts. You can find this option in the Internet Explorer, Tools, Internet options, tab Advanced, Browsing area.

Visit the page about useful tips for sending e-mail for more information.

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