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Configuring, Customizing and Maintaining Outlook Express - Free Computer Tutorials

Posted by Jim Bernstein

Outlook Express is the e-mail client that comes free with all versions of Microsoft Windows. It allows you to check your e-mail accounts given to you from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). It also allows you to store contact information such as e-mail addresses, phone numbers and addresses in an address book and lets you read messages from newsgroups you subscribe to.

Many ISPs offer online web based e-mail access but with Outlook Express you can chose to download your e-mail to your computer for offline viewing without being connected to the Internet. You can also save it to your hard drive, CD or other media for backup or to export it to another computer.

Configuring Outlook Express

To use Outlook Express first you must configure it with the settings given to you by your ISP. For this tutorial we will focus on e-mail rather than newsgroups since e-mail is the most commonly used feature of Outlook Express. Once you have your e-mail address, username, password and server information you can input them into Outlook.

When you first open Outlook Express you may be prompted to enter your information before even getting to the main interface or if you have opened Outlook in the past you may just go right to the main screen. Lets assume you have opened Outlook before and are at the main screen. If you get the wizard when starting Outlook for the first time you can simply cancel it and it will take you to the main screen.

To add your e-mail account go to the Tools menu and then to Accounts. From there click on the Mail tab. Next click the Add button and then select Mail. Outlook will ask you for your Display Name. You can make this anything you want since it will just be the name for this particular account. This comes in handy when you have more than one e-mail account. Enter a name such as Verizon or your own name and click Next. Then enter the e-mail address for your new account and click Next. Next you will need to know if you have a POP3 or IMAP account. Most likely you will have a POP3 account. For the differences between the 2 click here. Now enter your incoming and outgoing mail server information you have obtained from your ISP. It will look something similar to mail.myisp.com for example. Next enter your user account name. Most of the time it's the part before the @ from your e-mail address. For example if your e-mail address is sbrown@myisp.com your username will be sbrown. Sometimes the username will be the whole e-mail address. Enter your password and if you want Outlook Express to keep it for you check the box that says Remember password. Then click Next and then Finish.

You may have to edit the properties for your account before using it. If so you should be at the Internet accounts box after clicking on Finish. If you have closed this window you can click on Tools and the Accounts to get back there. To edit the account highlight the account and click on Properties.

On the General tab you can edit or add information such as the display name, your e-mail address and reply address.

On the Servers tab you can configure properties for your incoming and outgoing mail servers, account username and change your password if you need to. Keep in mind your ISP has to have the same password so it must be changed on their end first.

If your ISPs server requires additional authentication you would check the My server requires additional authentication check box and then click on Settings to enter the information provided by your ISP.

The connection tab allows you to choose what type of connection you are using to connect to your ISP such as a dialup account or LAN (Local Area Network), which you would use for broadband accounts such as DSL or Cable.

The Security tab will most likely never be used. It allows you to specify security certificates for sending secure e-mail. These fields should be blank.

The Advanced tab allows you to change the default port numbers of the outgoing and incoming mail servers and setup SSL connections. Don't change these unless specified by your ISP. One important feature here is the delivery section. It allows you to keep mail on the ISPs server after you download it to your computer and allows you to choose how long to keep it there. This is useful if you have more than one computer accessing the same e-mail account. If this box is unchecked, once you download your e-mail to your computer then its removed from the server. If you check it then you can download it to your computer andthen download the same e-mail to your other computer without losing any e-mail. If you use this feature make sure you don't let your e-mail sit on the server too long or else you may reach your mailbox size limit and not be able to receive new e-mail or get a warning from your ISP saying you are taking up too much space.


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Customizing Outlook Express

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