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Running more than one email program in Windows XP may result in an incorrect unread message count, but fixing this issue requires some skill.
How do I turn off the unread message count on the Windows XP login screen?
It's a feature. Really. When you see the Windows XP login screen, underneath each account listed there's frequently a message that says "XX unread messages".
How does it get set? And how do you get rid of it?
Well, once again, it's the Microsoft Knowledgebase to the rescue with an article: Overview of the Mail Notification Display on the Windows XP Welcome Screen.
In short: email programs that know how to do it can update a registry key with the desired information. My assumption is that most post-XP Microsoft email programs will update that key.
Things get confusing, I'm certain, when you run more than one such program, say both Outlook and Hotmail. Or even more so when you run one that updates the information like Hotmail only occasionally, and some other email program that doesn't as your primary email. In this scenario, the number on the login screen then actually has almost nothing to do with the email you actually care about.
The bad news is that there is no user interface to this feature.
The good news, if you're so inclined, is that you can disable the feature by changing the permissions on a certain registry key. If you're comfortable making a registry change, the Knowledgebase article has instructions.
If you're like me, I just ignore what's on the screen and get on with other issues.
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