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How to Configure Outlook Express for Maximum Security

written by: PatrickDickey•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 7/22/2010

If you use Outlook Express, Windows Mail (on Windows Vista) or Windows Live Mail (on any version of Windows including Windows 7), then you need to secure the client. This article will help you to maximize your security levels, and reduce your threat level.

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    Introduction

    Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and Windows Live Mail are all basically the same program. Outlook Express was used in all versions of Windows up through Windows XP. Windows Mail is the version that is used in Windows Vista, and Windows Live Mail is the version that you use in Windows 7. Each version has it's pluses and minuses, but one thing that they all share is their level of security. And they all share the basic configurations to maximize your security.

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    Configuration Steps

    All of the security settings that you will configure are found in the Tools menu -> Options... I will outline the steps in bulleted form based on the tab that you will be in. In Windows Live Mail, You will also look in the Safety Options... menu, under the Security tab.

    Tools -> Options

    • Read Tab: Uncheck Automatically download message when viewing in Preview Pane. Check Read all messages in Plain Text
    • Security Tab is fine unless you have digital signatures in which case you can sign or encrypt your e-mails
    • Send tab: If you want, you can force OE to send in Plain Text, but this really doesn't do anything for your security.

    Safety Options...

    Security Tab: Make sure that Block Images and other external content in E-mail is checked, and optionally uncheck the Show images and external content from senders in my safe senders list.

    *Windows mail and Windows Live Mail include a junk mail filter. You can configure this to different levels (maximum puts everything that's not on your safe list in the junk folder, where low or off basically disables it).

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    Final Thoughts

    While Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and Windows Live Mail do not have many options to secure your computer, they are the same basic options that Microsoft Outlook uses. Following these steps, you will maximize their e-mail security levels and reduce your risk of being compromised. You should still follow sound practices in Online Safety and Computer Security to further reduce these risks. You can also consider purchasing a copy of Microsoft Outlook (or the complete Office Suite) to take advantage of it's security features.

Configuring E-mail Clients for Maximum Security

The three main E-mail clients in use on Windows are Outlook, Outlook Express, and Mozilla Thunderbird. But are they as secure as they should be? This three-part series will explore configuring each to their maximum levels.
  1. Configuring Microsoft Outlook for Maximum Security
  2. How to Configure Outlook Express for Maximum Security