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Outlook Express shouldn't disappear from your system, and might not have. We'll examine places to look, and steps to take if it's gone.

Since I installed IE7 I have completely lost Outlook Express. I have tried deleting and then reinstalling it using the add/remove system without success. I have also tried to revert back to IE6 hoping that would help. Could not revert back. Now using Thunderbird but I still would like to have OE.

Thunderbird remains my choice over Outlook Express. In fact it's what I use every day now. But I can certainly understand wanting to have Outlook Express around, perhaps for old email or to answer questions about it like I do.

I believe Outlook Express's days to be numbered. But that might not be as bad as you think.

First, under Windows XP, installing Internet Explorer 7 should not have caused Outlook Express to disappear. The Mail menu item in Internet Explorer might disappear but Outlook Express should still be around.

Since so many people have gotten used to using that Mail menu item in Internet Explorer, most don't realize that Outlook Express is also on your Start Menu. Look for Outlook Express, probably in the Programs or All Programs sub menu. Here's an example from one of my machines where Outlook Express is right there at the top of the Start menu, as well as in All Programs:

Outlook Express in the Start Menu

Now, if it really is gone from all these places, then the only way I know of to truly reinstall is to download and reinstall Internet Explorer. Unfortunately because Microsoft appears to be decoupling Outlook Express from Internet Explorer 7, it's unclear if downloading and reinstalling IE7 will help. If you can't revert to IE6, that puts you between a rock and a hard place.

"... my recommendation for dealing with most Outlook Express issues remains: switch to Thunderbird."

One thing I would try is to run the System File Checker. Since Internet Explorer is so closely integrated with the operating system, the System File Checker includes IE,and presumably OE in its checks.

As I said I believe Outlook Express's days to be numbered. As we've seen it's already been decoupled from Internet Explorer.

But in Vista you won't find Outlook Express at all!

Not unless you look closely that is.

In Windows Vista you'll find something called Windows Mail. Fire that up, and you'll see something that looks strikingly familiar. I fired it up, electing not to set up any accounts just yet, and in the welcome screen saw this:

Windows Mail is the successor to Outlook Express

Windows Mail builds on the foundation of Outlook Express, adding a variety of new features designed to make your e-mail experience more productive and fun, while helping to reduce risks and annoyances such as phishing and junk e-mail.

So if you're running Vista, one reason you might not find Outlook Express is that it's now (finally) going by a different name.

Though no one has said so, it's my hope that Windows Mail might someday be made available as a download for Windows XP. At this point it's just a hope.

Until then, my recommendation for dealing with most Outlook Express issues remains: switch to Thunderbird.

Article C3037 - May 28, 2007 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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22 Comments
Jim Baldwin
May 29, 2007 3:33 AM

Leo, on a similar note, I fussed and fought to get my Outlook Express back. While I got it re-installed, it tells me "The Address Book failed to load. Outlook Express is incorrectly configured, please re-install." Unfortunately, no matter what or how I re-install, I end up with this same error message and have yet to figure out a successful way to get the Address Book to load. I have been using a number of different email clients to meet my needs. Outlook Express was real handy and I am sorry to see it go. On the other hand, I look forward to Microsoft Mail becoming available for XP. Thanks for all you do.

Carl R. Goodwin
June 1, 2007 7:16 PM

I love Thunderbird, and use it as my only email client. I have noticed however, that I get a lot of weird spam with it (some of it in a really weird language). I wish it would stop!

Eli Coten
June 2, 2007 4:03 PM

If you don't have any shortcuts to Outlook Express, there are a few ways to get them back. The simplest test is to do start, run and type in "msimn" (without the quotes) and hit enter. This will bring up Outlook Express unless you've really managed to delete it somehow.

If you have managed to delete it somehow then you will be able to find it in the Add/Remove Windows components wizard, which can be found from the Add/Remove Programs control panel.

Windows Live Mail Desktop is/will be available for Windows XP, and apart from the fact that you need a Windows Live ID to sign into it, you can use it just like Outlook Express, as it does support (mostly) the same options, however it does look radically different.

Alternatively, just stick with Thunderbird. Its better than Outlook Express in every way, and even looks similar enough to it that a familiar Outlook Express user shouldn't have to re-learn how to email.

jan sanders
June 2, 2007 5:21 PM

I just cannot get SFC to work. Cannot open it in any way. Any remedies?

Leo A. Notenboom
June 2, 2007 5:27 PM

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Depends entirely on what you mean by "cannot open it". What happens? How are
you running it? Need more details before there's a chance of helping.

Leo
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Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)

iD8DBQFGYgr6CMEe9B/8oqERAqJVAJsE7QGEzU3ZMPZeLQZZqC7HP0ITdgCeMNmM
yIBEl/43gX1SxhTTl9WM8KQ=
=kMvd
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Michael
September 2, 2007 11:31 AM

Moreover, if you'd like to get the outlook express button back on your Internet Explorer 7 toolbar, just right click over a blank area around your various browser's toolbars, and highlight "customize command bar." Then click on "add or remove commands;" from here, you can add "read mail." That will add it to your command bar. To give you an idea about where your command bar is, it includes your homepage and print buttons. Now, you should be able to load outlook express from within your browser. I had to figure that one out for myself.

Dennis
October 23, 2007 9:23 AM

Moreover, if you'd like to get the outlook express button back on your Internet Explorer 7 toolbar, just right click over a blank area around your various browser's toolbars, and highlight "customize command bar." Then click on "add or remove commands;" from here, you can add "read mail." That will add it to your command bar. To give you an idea about where your command bar is, it includes your homepage and print buttons. Now, you should be able to load outlook express from within your browser. I had to figure that one out for myself.


Tried but only get Outlook NOT Outlook Express ;(

Doug
January 17, 2008 1:25 AM

Got a puzzler .. I been running Outlook Express under Windows XP..been working fine till the other morning. I turned on my computer, went to my email to check it..and noticed my contact/address book was gone..as in blank no entires..Is there a way to get my email contacts/address book back without having to go thru the process of entering them all over again?

Tahnks

Paul H. Bartnek
February 22, 2008 4:39 PM

I have the same problem as Doug, but I deleted the email contacts/address biik. So how do I get them back. I am running Outlook Express in Windows XP. And yes I read the article.

Paul

M S D V Prasad
March 2, 2008 9:58 AM

Dear Sir,
I reinstalled my Outlook when my system gone bad then lost all my previous mails i have not taken any backup please kindly help me in getting them back

Tom
October 3, 2008 8:05 AM

Just go to IE7 Properties and the email box will be empty.

Select Outlook Express and it will return.

Dr. O Tapley
November 13, 2008 6:37 AM

This was usless for retriving outlook express. I lot of unnessary trash.

steve blackwell
December 13, 2008 8:56 AM

Hi Leo, my outlook express doesn't seem to have any new messages when I send/receive yet whenI sign in to my tiscali account there are always at least 3 new messages, any ideas.
Also I noted what you said about changing tothunderbird but can I keep my original email address as I would like to.
Thanks Steve.

Darice
January 20, 2009 3:35 PM

Hi i just used my operating system disk and went to install optional windows componets and reinstalled outlook from there.

Lori
February 3, 2009 10:26 AM

I was about to go crazy using microsoft outlook instead of outlook express. I've spent a significant amount of time looking for a solution, knowing it should be on my computer somewhere. Your website was the first to give me a direct and simple answer to my problem. I had no idea until I located your website that outlook express had changed to windows mail. Thank you for being clear and direct in your solutions!!

mari
March 22, 2009 8:05 PM

i have tried to select outlook express on the ie7 properties and does not appear outlook express
have unistall and re installed many times and still does not get back the outlook express and i need it to recover the old mails saved on my other hard drive on this pc, for some reason when the xp and ie was installed on this pc it did not installed the oe. what can i do to install it back?

Herman
April 3, 2009 6:06 PM

it keep rejecting my password. i'm running windows xp

Syed Nawazish Ali
August 2, 2009 2:17 AM

I have been using outlook express 6 for around 2 years and just yesterday it asked me to compress the files and i clicked yes and so it compressed them but when i opened my computer the next day many of the mails are gone.
I have created many folders in the OE6 and many of them are empty and it is written "there are no items in this view" i had already taken the back-up of the files but when i try and import them they do not get imported and it shows some error.
How do i get my mails back please help....!!!

Bill Nelson
July 17, 2010 1:25 AM

I've just been aggravated again because everytime MS chooses to update "Outlook" it switches over from my preferred "Outlook Express." When I purchased this computer in 2004, I had "Office 2003" installed. I decided to give "Outlook" a try, but couldn't figure out how to move over the OE files and address book. I didn't like the program much either. I tried using Add/Remove programs to remove it from my computer, but that didn't work. Last night, it installed two new patches and I couldn't access my address book from "Word" anymore. I've finally removed the two patches from "Outlook" and we're back in business. How can I stop MS updates from killing OE? Can OE messages and folders be transferred to another program like Thunderbird?

Mike
November 2, 2010 9:06 PM

Hi! I use outlook express , but after i did disk cleaning - I lost out look express icon from start menu and desk top. I am unable to get it back or use te same, with this m unable ot use calculator and couple of other things .Please advise how can I get back out look express.

thanks
Mike

chandra shekar
December 29, 2011 12:30 AM

i was using outlook express. my friend re installed os. no backup. i am in very difficult satge. how can i recover all the mails in outlook express.

Mark J
December 29, 2011 4:22 AM

@Chandra
If your friend reinstalled XP with no backup, it is very unlikely you'll be able to recover your emails. If you have a web based email such as GMail of Hotmail and had the leave mail on server checked in Outlook Express, the the emails would still be on the website. This is also unlikely as it is not the default setting in OE and the new OE normally would re-download all your emails if they were still on the server.

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