Outlook Express

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Outlook Express

Outlook Express logo
OE under Windows XP
Outlook Express 6 under Windows XP , composing an e-mail with the content Lorem ipsum
Basic data

developer Microsoft Corporation
Current  version 6.00.2900.5512
(August 11, 2009)
operating system Windows up to XP ,
earlier also Mac OS Classic
category E-mail program , newsreader
License Proprietary
German speaking Yes
Others Development and support discontinued in 2009, replacement by Windows Mail or Windows Live MailTemplate: Infobox software / maintenance / other

Outlook Express (abbreviation OE , also OLEXP in the Microsoft Support Knowledge Base ) is an e-mail program and newsreader from Microsoft that was included with the Windows operating system up until the appearance of Windows Vista and was therefore also used by many users. Despite the similarity of names, the program associated with Internet Explorer is independent of the Outlook groupware . It was replaced by Windows Mail with the appearance of Windows Vista . In Windows 7 Windows Mail is no longer included. Instead, Microsoft offers the successor Windows Live Mail as part of Windows Live Essentials for download.


The functionality of Outlook Express is intended for typical private use. It does not have any groupware or unified messaging functions. Unlike Outlook, it does have news functions . It supports the following protocols: SMTP , POP3 , IMAP4 and NNTP , as well as HTTPmail (a variant based on WebDAV / HTTP for accessing the Freemail accounts of Lycos and Hotmail ).


Outlook Express appeared in version 4 in October 1997 together with Internet Explorer 4 for Windows - at a time when the browser war was raging violently. Outlook Express emerged from the Microsoft Internet Mail and News program (which is why the Outlook Express program file even in version 6.0 still has the name msimn.exe ). Both Outlook Express and Internet Explorer were included in Windows 98 .

In March 1999, together with Internet Explorer 5, version 5 of Outlook Express was released, which, in addition to a changed file format ( .dbxinstead of .mbx, .idxand .nch), brought a few functional extensions, but also many bugs that were not fixed or were fixed very late in the following years. This version was also shipped together with Windows 98 Second Edition.

The IE / OE 5.5 line (included in Windows Millennium Edition ) appeared in July 2000 . To date, this line is the last that can be installed on Windows 95 .

Outlook Express 6 appeared together with Internet Explorer 6 at the same time as Windows XP in August / September 2001, without any major changes in functionality or problems.

The OE-5.5 and OE-6 lines have meanwhile been updated with the respective service packs for Internet Explorer and / or Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Together with Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, a slightly improved version of Outlook Express 6 was released, which mainly brought some new security functions (such as the ability to block the downloading of images in HTML emails) .

For Mac OS 9 there was also a free version of Outlook Express for the Macintosh , which apart from the name has very little in common with the Windows version, as this variant is much better at conforming to e-mail and Usenet standards holds.


Outlook Express is again and again a point of attack for computer worms , because on the one hand, the degree of spread offers the hacker a relatively large attack surface and Outlook Express has many insecure standard settings, especially in earlier versions. These allow the exploitation of security deficiencies , which are largely due to the use of Internet Explorer to display messages.

Since IE / OE 5.5 SP2 (2001), the standard settings have been set more restrictively. Since then, the "Zone for restricted sites" has been used to display messages, which is intended to prevent ActiveScripting and ActiveX from being carried out by default. With IE / OE 6 SP1 (2002), another recommended option was introduced, which displays HTML messages as plain text messages and thus suppresses any active content when a message is displayed (“Extras - Options - Read - All messages as Read plain text ”). Nevertheless, the Internet Explorer is still used to display the displayed message. When displaying links, umlauts and special characters, depending on the coding used (e.g. deviation from “UTF-8”), problems may arise. Without specifying a MIME-alternative text in the e-mail, an “empty” message will be without Text displayed. With the release of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP (August 2004), Outlook Express no longer uses Internet Explorer when the "Read all messages as plain text" option is activated, but relies on the RichTextControl to display these messages. However, nothing changed about the display problems in this mode. At the same time, other security functions were introduced, e.g. B. prevent the reloading of images in HTML messages in the HTML view.

Signed PGP / MIME messages

Outlook Express displays an empty e-mail when it receives a signed PGP / MIME message; the plain text is only available as an attachment . This contradicts the e-mail standard RFC 1847 from 1995. When replying to such a signed message, Outlook Express users without a digital ID receive an error message.

Outlook Express as a newsreader

Many OE users are new to Usenet and often do not know about general agreements and standards . Outlook Express does not support users with this. So the user in OE must first via "Extras | Options | Send | News | Plain text settings ” select the option“ MIME , text encoding: none ”to allow 8-bit characters such as B. Umlauts can be recognized as such by the reader. Furthermore, OE tends u. a. to Kammquoting produce when replying to posts, even if "format = flowed" with the SP2 for Windows XP found its way. Third-party programs such as B. "OE-QuoteFix", "Morver" or the "OE-PowerTools".

These errors result in the joke term "OjE" for Outlook Express in Usenet (the exclamation "o je" is usually used for a minor mishap). The unicode capabilities and the handling of character sets (as long as MIME was activated manually) are positive features of Outlook Express.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Ralph Briel: Is my OE version up to date? (No longer available online.) In: Microsoft Outlook Express Frequently Asked Questions. Archived from the original on February 19, 2015 ; accessed on February 1, 2015 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / oe-faq.de
  2. MS09-037: Description of the security update for Outlook Express: August 11, 2009. Microsoft Corporation, accessed February 1, 2015 .
  3. Find Windows Mail. Retrieved July 19, 2010 .
  4. Phil Dibowitz: GPG Signing: Traditional vs. PGP / Mime. Retrieved February 1, 2015 .
  5. Gherardo Piacitelli: Outlook Express ® misbehaves When opening GnuPG signed emails. Retrieved February 1, 2015 .
  6. ^ RFC 1847 . - Security Multiparts for MIME: Multipart / Signed and Multipart / Encrypted . October 1995. (English).
  7. You Receive an Error Message When You Try to Forward or to Reply to a Digitally Signed E-Mail Message. KB816830. Microsoft Corporation, accessed February 1, 2015 .
  8. OE FAQs . Archived from the original on April 6, 2013. Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved October 26, 2012. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / oe-faq.de