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Outlook Express 5.5

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  • Relatively slow
  • Made by MS?
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      05.07.2003 22:26
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      I'll say right from the start that I've never been a big fan of the MSIE range of software. It does not, however, necessarily follow that Outlook Express will get a trashing here. On the contrary, I think that it's an excellent piece of software - for experienced Microsoft product users. E-mail and newsgroups have come a long way since the first generation of browsers, mainly because software executives began to realise that over 70% of Internet subscribers used e-mail and newsgroups almost exclusively over the Web. The result was that companies like Netscape and Microsoft tried have tried to improve their e-mail and Usenet integration to ensure that this rather large portion of the market would not wander off and use another application. Outlook is the natural progression of this move towards e-mail and Usenet. It is a vast improvement on the communications system in previous IE versions, but it still has a long way to go. Before I'm fobbed off as a 'the glass is half-empty' mindset let's have a look at what improvements have been made, what features Outlook Express offers and where they fall short of user expectations. Outlook offers full HTML support, meaning that you can send and receive WebPages within e-mail. More experienced users will note that this feature is nothing new to browsers. Attachmate's Emissary has been doing this for quite some time and with a good measure of success. Outlook also supports drag and drop, for inclusion of sound files into e-mail and also customisable background images. The difference here though is that this kind of multimedia support is geared towards other Outlook Express users. Microsoft has made a very attractive looking, easy to use package, but most of this would be lost when using Outlook to send e-mail to a Netscape or other e-mail package. Microsoft also touts "Offline reading and composing" as one of the features of Outlook. As most users would know, being online is not at all necessary in any e-mail package or Web browser, in order to compose a message. It makes it a touch easier though, when you don't keep getting error messages telling you that you're not online. There are some packages which do this, and it's tantamount to telling someone at the postage stamp dispensing machine that they can't buy a stamp because they haven't got a letter to put it on. A feature which has been absent from IE mail and news applications is the ability to actually search through messages to find something specific. This is long overdue and actually works better than most other applications I have seen. When you need to find a message, either from a newsgroup or from your inbox, you can search by sender, recipient, message text, date and even by attachment. It is a move towards this sort of functionality which will make Internet Explorer more of a user friendly entity. The realisation has obviously begun to sink in that users not only want integration, they want useful and versatile tools to manage their communication. The integration which was sorely lacking in earlier versions of IE and Netscape is slowly becoming more and more of an issue. Outlook comprises e-mail and Usenet in much the same way Netscape Communicator does, but with the traditional Microsoft neatness. As a functional communication tool, Outlook Express is definitely a valid contender for the title of most efficient, but there are still some points that need to be addressed. Choice is always the biggest unknown factor in the success of any product. If people feel that they aren't being allowed to exercise their own choices, then they won't be too thrilled with the product overall, regardless of efficiency or functionality. Outlook Express is certainly not without the ability to be customised to a particular user's likes and dislikes, but overall you are st ill l
      ocked into the Microsoft method of communication. This is not all bad, as it is very versatile, full-featured and to a certain degree flexible. The main problem is that Outlook Express is not open ended. It does not allow users to determine which applications they would like to use in specific instances ie which PGP front-end they would like to use. Of course all these problems are issues which will undoubtedly be resolved in future versions, so for now they're nothing more than holes in an otherwise impressive package. As an addition to the Windows and IE suite, it is definitely a seamlessly integrated package which will simplify user communication and organisation no end....

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      10.03.2002 23:50
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      I have many e-mail box and I don't like to visit the website to read my e-mails, insert username and password, click to each message... Outlook express can download all my messages in few seconds and I can read all e-mail I'm interested. You have only to configure your accounts, and when you are connected Outlook download the new e-mails. You can also reply to your friends, there is an adress book and many other features I don't use. If can also use Outlook Express with newsgroups but I prefer to use other specific programs. You have to watch out for virus! Don't open any type of file if don't know who have sent it. New virus send e-mails also form your friend's address, so you have to know if your friend have sent a file to you or it's the virus!

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        22.08.2001 05:33
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        What do the vast majority of people use to read their emails? Outlook Express is the answer, and the reason why? Microsoft distribute it with Internet Explorer, which in turn comes with every new PC. Outlook Express can be thought of as the cut down version of its bigger brother, Outlook, but this isn't actually necessarily the case. Outlook is much more of a personal management program, where the busy people amongst us can manage their lives. Outlook Express is much more streamlined, and offers quick instant access to email and newsgroups. It has to be easy enough to use for the new user, but remain complex enough to satisfy the power user. As always Microsoft have managed it, with a simple interface hiding a pretty powerful program. First and foremost Outlook Express is there so that you can receive, read and send email. What's good is that it allows your whole family to do this separately and confidentially. A feature called identities allows each user to have their own account, which can be password protected if necessary. This means that when you go online you can log in to your Outlook Express identity, check your email and be safe in the knowledge that no one else can ever see your email. You wouldn't want other people to read the mail you got in the post, so you shouldn't let people read your email either! Your mail is split up in to a number of folders, namely the Inbox, Outbox, as well as Sent Items, Drafts and Deleted Items. This is only to begin with though, as with a little fiddling about you can turn your version of Outlook Express in to a mini-sorting office. Using message rules, and folders you have created, you can automatically sort your email out in to various chunks. For example, if you have two POP3 accounts you can set up a rule that says that mail sent to one address is moved to one folder, and mail that is sent to the other address goes to another folder. If there's someone you don't really
        like that much then likewise you can set up a rule in Outlook Express that automatically deletes the mail when you receive it. Sending email is easy to do, with an easy to understand box appearing when you decide to send a new mail. It lets you do all the normal stuff, including attachments, using different fonts, and even a spell check. For the people who enjoy some safety you can choose to encrypt your message or attach a digital signature. Another neat feature is the integration between Outlook Express and Hotmail/MSN Messenger. Personally I fail to see the point in using a web based mail account when I can use POP3, so although I have always had a Hotmail account (for use with MSN Messenger) I never really used to check it. Then I realised that your Hotmail account can be used with Outlook Express, and it works just as any other normal POP3 account would. Hotmail adds a new set of folders, as you have on the Hotmail site itself. The only slightly annoying point is that when you check your Hotmail messages from Outlook Express an advert is displayed, although since I upgraded to the IE/OE 6 Beta this ad seems to have been removed. Instant Messaging is becoming veyr popular at the moment, and Outlook Express has leaped on the bandwagon integrating the MSN Messenger service. Outlook Express gives you full control over every aspect of MSN Messenger, from seeing which of your contacts are online to changing your options. The last major feature of Outlook Express is its news reading capabilities. This is probably the most under used part of the net at the moment, especially by new users, but newsgroups (basically big message boards for the whole world) can be very interesting and useful. It's news access is basic, but these days there's not a lot hardcore newsgroup users out there, especially not for home use, so what it offers is quiet ample for most of us. You choose which groups you want to subscribe to and they are updated when
        you go online. Simple and effective. Ok, that?s what Outlook Express does and how it does it, but like everything else it has faults! First up, viruses, or is that virii? (after much hunting around, it turned out that in fact the word is viruses). Everyone uses Outlook Express, so people target it. Microsoft are never ones to be conservative in their programs, and in an ever increasing attempt to make PC's nice to look at they left some wide open security holes, which in the past have been exploited by those nasty hackers. Well, on the other hand they could show how wide open our PC's are. Whatever your stance on these matters, a trip to Windows Update would never go amiss, just to check you have the latest security updates. Outlook Express also seems rather prone to getting big, in the email it stores on your hard drive. I do get a lo of email, but after about 6 months of use the sum of the emails I received had reached about 800Mb, and until I looked I didn't know that - Outlook Express didn't tell me. To me it's also a little unreliable, as it often crashes especially when downloading email. That could just be me though, as I haven't heard a lot of other people moaning about it. It's my choice of email client, and although it lacks a few advanced features (and some security) it's as good, if not better than the other options. It integrates in to Windows and everything else Microsoft do pretty well, and as long as you're clever you'll be able to steer clear of any nasty viruses. You'll probably all tell me how much it sucks and it's made by evil Microsoft, but it does the job well enough for me - and the more I use PC's the more I like the phrase 'If it ain't broke........

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          16.08.2001 07:19
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          Outlook Express Version 5.5 is bundled free with Internet Explorer 5.5 and is probably the only email reader that you will use if you have Microsoft O/S unless your pretty unfortunate to be connected to AOL, or have Lotus Notes. Outlook Express has the standard functionality required for an email reader such as sending/receiving emails, email filters, newsgroup reader, connection to various pop3/SMTP, IMAP or http accounts. If you were using Lotus Notes mail server and VIM this could be a problem if the SMTP option is not turned on. ADDRESS BOOK Using Outlook Express every day, I tend to find specific functionality that does annoy me. For a start with email addresses you can add them to the address book by opening the message and from the tools menu you can add to the address book. However it is impossible to add email addresses that are embedded in the actual mail if you are forwarding or replying to a mail. If you are reading a mail you can right click on an embedded email address and add to address book. But there is no option to add all the embedded email addresses making it time consuming to add a list manually to the address book. When setting an address in the address book, you have the option of sending this as plain text. On forwarding some emails, it issues the message to send as html or plain text, it knows for those specific people it should be sending plain text so why ask? When grouping email addresses I tend to find my mind works in a hierarchical manner Work folder-US office, UK office etc etc In the address book the folder structure is flat which is confusing and inconsistent with the Windows directory file structure. I find with business cards attachments that the same address seems to get replicated if I have already added their address manually before hand. It would be nice to have a button to check for duplicate business cards so I can clear out unneeded addresses. EMAIL STORAGE Another
          problem is that being a so-called programmer I tend to email a lot of executables for bug fixes. The size of my sent folder gets bigger and bigger, but do I get a warning message saying its filled up my C: drive and my system will now crawl like a snail on dope? Do I heck! I do not want them deleted in case I need to refer to them at a latter date. I just want a warning so I can choose the emails I want to delete. So the disk is full up I think umm compact all folders, Outlook Express replies sorry there is not enough disk space for this operation, okay delete email, Outlook Express replies sorry there is no disk space for this operation. So for the next half an hour you are looking for an unwanted data on your C: drive just so you can delete emails to create more disk space, the irony is un-bloody-believable. The default setting of your mail inbox location on NT4 is normally on your Windows profile user name. However mailing a lot of clients with attached executables my disk space is eaten away like a swimmer in the Jaws film. Setting your mail location to another drive or mapped drive on the server can be done in Outlook Express but whether it protects the security of the emails from being read by other people is another thing to be seen. NEWSGROUPS With Newsgroups a group of news items can be combined into 1 file, however with emails when you forward them as one mail, it attaches the emails as .eml files rather than combining the files. This is a pain if you want to read through the email to check what you are writing and have to open the attachments or cut and paste from them for reference points. One thing I hate when checking for new news on the Newsgroups is when you click on the newsgroup server and there are new newsgroups it prompts do you want to see new newsgroups. I am like no I don’t and I never will want to see newsgroups, I know what I wanted to look at so I don’t care what new news groups you have
          so stop bugging me. In Outlook Express the treatment of binary files is very simplistic in its approach, compared to a variety of speciality newsreaders that will automatically detect the news binary files associated to a news item and automatically combine them. Outlook express is very manual in this respect, with the order needing to be adjusted because it does not have the intelligence to order files from their file names. ERROR MESSAGES The thing I really hate about Outlook Express is this warning that it has shut down incorrectly. I think yes I know I was there! That waste of space Windoze just blue screened on me. Outlook Express has just figured it out by itself, maybe you should email Bill Gates directly saying “This is outlook express I just detected windows just went a bit Pete Tong, I just can not operate in this environment anymore! What’s an email reader supposed to do? If you don’t sort this out I will ask to be reprogrammed to work on a stable O/S like Linux”. MULTIPLE ACCOUNT SETTINGS When configuring Outlook Express to use multiple pop3 accounts I wish Outlook Express would figure out the ISP it is currently using and default to the SMTP account that is appropriate. This means if I forget to change the default send mail account I get an error when sending mail from different account when I am connected to the right ISP. To remedy this from the Outbox folder open the email change the send from account field use which is easy enough. CONCLUSION Apart from these drawbacks Outlook Express is free, so for minimal effort for home use you can not ask more from it. As an application it does look nicer than reading email from Telnet, but for serious heavy usage it can become a burden.

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            20.06.2001 03:14
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            I use Microsoft Outlook Express to quickly check and download any new emails I may recieve. Using a piece of software such as this has a few advantages and benifits. Advantage 1: Outlook Express can be used for multiple email accounts and also for multiple email users. Using this is software I can simply click on "Send/Recieve" and the program will automatically access, check and download any emails in each of my individual email accounts. Advantage 2: Using outlook express it is possible to use the "email rules" facility that allows you to create rules on how certain emails from particular senders are treated. E.g. you could set-up a rule, which downloads emails from a particular sender to a particular folder, which would be separate from the main general input box. Therefore you could setup outlook express to download emails from people from work into a separate folder from your personal friends and family. Advantage 3: Using outlook express means that you don't have to remember your email usernames and passwords. Also you don't even have to visit the email account websites to access your mail. Outlook stores your usernames and passwords for each of your email accounts and accesses them whenever you want without visiting any of the email service websites. Outlook express can be customized completely to suit your particular needs. You can modify the layout, add folders, change toolbars and you could even set the program up to check and download your email at regular intervals, e.g. every 5 minutes... --Newsgroups-- Outlook express also has a brilliant newsgroup window and setup wizard. So if you want to join a particular newsgroup, e.g. a man united newsgroup, outlook express will let you do this. Also setting up the program to check your different email accounts requires alittle bit of information about each of your email serv
            ice providers and your account details. There is a brilliant wizard that will help you setup your email accounts to work with outlook express. In general you will need your username, your password, the POP incoming address and SMTP outgoing address. --Places to get it-- You can download outlook express from the microsoft website for completely free of charge. However if you have the latest version of microsoft internet explorer you should already have it because it comes as standard with the web browser... All in all a great email management package and definetely worth using by any regular email user...

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            08.06.2001 03:44
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            I am a regular user of Outlook Express and I have to admit to being a fan of it. I can hear the cries now about how dare I like a Microsoft Product! I have been using Outlook Express for a couple of years now. It took me a while to get used to but now it is my favourite email package. Outlook Express in my opinion is a very good email package that does all the jobs I want it to efficiently and effectively. The latest Outlook Express (5.5) which I am using at the moment seems to be the most reliable and safest of Microsoft Products. I hardly get any crashes/ lock ups when using Outlook Express and there are certainly no perculiar operations that occur. Outlook Express has had it critics especially concerning security issues which came to light last year with a number of Visual Basic viruses. I hope that these issues have been sorted now and I am quite happy using Outlook Express as my main email programme. Reasons why I like Outlook Express are : 1.) It is easy to setup email accounts. There is a wizard which takes you step by step through the process of adding email accounts. All the smtp settings and pop settings can be included relatively easily and quickly. 2.) Good use of newsgroups. I like looking on newsgroups and I find Outlook Express is easy to setup so that newsgroups can be read quickly. Outlook Express may no be the quickest programme for downloading messages from newsgroups but the layout and ease of use is certainly a benefit. 3.) Easy to setup hotmail accounts. This point explains itself really. Sometimes when I am working away it is essential to check email and outlook express allows you to access your hotmail accounts. 4.) Good Address Book facility. I like the way the address book is easily obtainable using Outlook Express. Adding people to your address book is done by a matter of right clicking on someones email address. Also the address book can be found quickly when writing emails.
            5.) The layout. Outlook Express allows you to customise the layout so that it suits your needs. You can have certain folders opened automatically and have the address book displayed as default. It all helps to make you feel comfortable using the programme. 6.) One of my favourite facilities that I like with Outlook Express is the option to filter emails into certain folders and also block certain emails if you don't want to receive junk email. These facilities allow you to save time and only read emails that are important. If you have lots of junk mail you will now what a benefit this is! Installation is very easy really. The installer does most of the work for you and it is hassle free. Upgrading to different version is also very easy and emails and data are migrated without any problems at all. Overall Outlook Express is a very user friendly piece of software. It is available from lots of places and even comes as standard with the latest version of Internet Explorer. You can also find it on the front of cover magazines. If you are after a good well established email programme then you could do a lot worse then trying Outlook Express. Don't be put off by the fact that it is a Microsoft package. The security issues seem to have been cleared up as well and the latest release (5.5) seems to be the best so far. Give it a try, you know you want to. It will make email checking a completely enjoyable task!

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              09.05.2001 20:58

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              You'd do so much better trying out other software before deciding on this one. - Advantages: Quite user-friendly, Integrated mail and news - Disadvantages: Disobeys loads of standards, Hugely bloated programme, Relatively slow

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              23.03.2001 00:18
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              It pains me to say this but I would be lost without this particular piece of software. Outlook is essentially an email tool but it has many advanced features that gives it the edge over its competitors. The version I use is the one distributed with Office '97. Previously I had worked with Microsoft Exchange, which is essentially a stripped down version of Outlook offering the basic email utilities only. The following is a list of features that I use most on Outlook. INBOX The main email facility within Outlook is pretty standard. It allows you to send attachments, add signatures, flag messages, print contents and so on. Additionally you can set it up to log all mails that you have sent to Outlook's journal. This is useful if you'd like to see what mails went on a particular day. Blind carbon copy (Bcc) allows you to email a large amount of people but they only get to see their own address appearing in the email they receive. This is very important if privacy is an issue. At other times a plain carbon copy can be used where the person receiving the mail is not the main recipient of the email. One facility I use a lot is the inbox assistant, which allows you to set up rules that can be applied to incoming mails. I use this to place work and personal mails into different folders as they arrive based on a list of email addresses. The rules allow you to set up an alert sound or text box if the criteria within a rule are met by an incoming mail. There is also an out of office assistant that can return a reply mail automatically to the sender indicating that you are out of the office. This is particularly useful at holiday time. Inbox offers very good search facilities if are searching for a mail amongst the hundreds that have built up over a period of time. Initially you can sort the mails by the name of the sender, the date, the subject or the size of the mail. If this proves fruitless there is a neat fin
              d items feature that allows you to search subject lines or additionally the body of messages for certain keywords. If you can't find what your looking for at this stage then it probably doesn't exist. CALENDER This is brilliant for those whose memory is not the best. If you are working on a project that has many deadlines it is invaluable to keeping you on track and on time. Calendar allows you to set up little reminders that can be edited in Outlook's calendar. Basically you choose the hour of the day, the date, the year you wish to be prompted and when the time comes a little text box will appear to remind you. Once the reminder occurs you can chose to dismiss, postpone or open the reminder to edit it. So as well as reminding you about an important meeting on Friday it can prompt days before an important birthday, anniversary or other special occasions to get those presents sorted! TASKS This feature allows you to split different projects you are working on into various tasks. It then allows you to prioritise each task according to its importance (low, normal, high). This means that the more important tasks appear at the top of your task list. You can set completion dates for each project so that when the date arrives you will be prompted nicely as the blood drains from your face! NOTES These are useful if you can't see your computer screen for yellow post-its reminding you to do something or other. Notes allows you to transcribe the dockets into Outlook so they can be referenced at the click of a mouse. ADDRESS BOOK This facility is essential if you regularly mail lots of people. As well as storing email addresses, it can hold several phone numbers and addresses. This is also a notepad facility, which allows you to sneakily build up a dossier on a client! CONTACTS This is a fleshed out address book of you
              r contacts storing information like web addresses, phone and fax numbers. It is split up by alphabetic tabs that makes it easier to get information on somebody quickly. I rarely use this facility because the address book does the job as good. ARCHIVING This is a very useful facility that allows you to archive files (mails) and is essential if your mail server is short on space. The archive facility creates a file of zipped up mails that can be placed on your computer thus freeing up space on the server. These mails can be restored back into Outlook at any time using the import facility. There is an auto-archiving feature where Outlook can be set to automatically archive mails over a certain age in a certain folder or can be set globally to apply to all mails. This feature can also permanently delete mails. I use this on my the deleted folder so that when I close down outlook everything in the deleted folder (basically Outlook's recycle bin) is removed. Outlook's main advantage is the capability it gives you to become an organised person! View it as an electronic diary and watch the rainforests once again flourish. Whenever I start a new job it's the first thing I get set up on my PC (apart from Winamp that is!). It could change your working life forever.

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                12.02.2001 03:48
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                I have read most of the opinions on MS Outlook and have to say that they do not reflect the true potential of this piece of software. With due respect to the other opinion writers, I believe those who find Outlook bad are those who do not have the knowledge to use it effectively. Outlook express (5.5) is a versatile piece of software that allows the user to manage multiple email accounts within one screen. It allows the user to download their email from the different accounts, to their computer, allowing the user to read and prepare replies offline. Outlook offers a wide range of other benefits including; extensive mail filters and message rules, comprehensive automatic organisation of mail into different folders, auto-responses, signatures, HTML and text only email, the list goes on. Outlook also has the facility to read and post to multiple newsgroups. This is very useful too. Outlook works extremely well with hotmail accounts and functions only with POP email accounts (Post Office Protocol). These are the likes of yahoo and BT internet email accounts. Although it may seem hard to configure, a little bit of time spent learning how to use this software is time well spent. I sucessfully manage 14 email accounts within the time it used to take me to manage only one web-based email account. Outlook express is available free on many PC magazine CD ROMs and usually comes free with most ISP's software and is also free with most versions of windows. If you are tired of having to sign in to lots of different web-based accounts every time you log on the net, use Outlook to do it all for you and start managing your email effectively today!

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                08.02.2001 00:37
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                YAM2 the e-mail client that I used to use on the Amiga was so straightforward to use that I dreaded having to use Outlook Express on my new PC. I had heard so many tales about how naff it was and unnecessarily complicated and how Eudora was miles better but being pre-installed I was left with little option but to try to get to grips with it. I have Outlook Express 5.50 and at first it did seem alien compared to YAM2. But there were similarities and as I got more and more into Express I realised that the woeful tales that I had heard, if they were true, had to apply to previous versions. Express is a bit complicated to a newcomer but if you persevere it soon becomes familiar. I practiced using it by send e-mails to myself with and without attachments, as html etc. Like its browser counterpart, Express has clearly marked menus and icons that do what is necessary. Obviously I haven’t explored the whole programme but so far Express does what I want it to and does it well. I did get hold of Eudora just to try it out and my first impressions of it were not good so until I gain more experience with both I cannot give a true comparison between them. I favour Express 5.5.

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