Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Running System File Checker or downloading the newest IE and Outlook Express may help to fix a broken spell checker in Outlook Express.

Outlook Express' spell check broke when I upgraded to XP, how do I fix it?

I'd simply repair Internet Explorer, of which Outlook Express is a part. For Windows XP that means running the System File Checker. Alternately, simply installing the latest and greatest IE and Outlook Express should also do.

Article C2115 - July 11, 2004 « »

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.

Not what you needed?

September 1, 2004 7:33 PM


September 1, 2004 7:36 PM

Follow the instructions in the article at the top of this page.

September 9, 2004 4:48 PM

I clicked F7 for spelling area and it's now working. It's in gray area. I do not know how to fix it? Thanks................

Joe Marchione
February 25, 2005 12:25 AM

Check this link:

Joseph Petretto
June 5, 2005 8:43 AM

Hi I would like to put into my PC the spelling program, thank.

June 5, 2005 1:26 PM

Spelling is usually a feature of a specific program like Outlook Express, or Microsoft Word. Check the program you're using and want spell checking in ... it might already be there.

July 25, 2005 1:29 PM

Microsoft does not include spell checking as part of Outlook Express. You need to have Microsoft Office installed in order for the button to be click-able. If you do not have Office, there are some inexpensive third party solutions available, like the one found at

Hope this helps.

Charles Fregeau
November 28, 2005 1:57 PM

OK, most XP machines cannot run SFC since there is no CD for them to run from. I've got a pretty strange one. Word shows the spellcheck as English, but OE shows the spellcheck as French(France). If one changes it, it doesn't stay changed but reverts right back to French(France) I've hacked the registry. SFC keeps asking for a CD which I don't have. Windows XP came pre-installed.

January 9, 2006 4:29 AM

When spell checking outgoing email in Outlook a message appears from Microsoft Internet Explorer, "The spelling in this item can't be checked. Try again later."

Tom Pruitt
December 4, 2006 9:56 AM

I recently upgraded to Microsoft Office 2007 and tried using Outlook. I didn't like so I went back to using Outlook Express. Now my spell checker in Outlook Express is in FRENCH! How do I fix THAT!

Maurice Martin
December 12, 2006 10:47 PM

I also recently upgraded to Microsoft Office 2007 and my spell checker in Outlook Express is also in FRENCH! I used Spell Checker OE from and that reinstalled a US Dictionary.

barney g
January 24, 2007 11:36 AM

I did not expect the snapfiles spell checker for oe 2.1 to work, but it did, perfectly -- thanks Maurice M

February 7, 2007 10:47 AM

THANKS! it fixed the french!

D. Yingling
March 17, 2007 6:50 PM

The snapfiles spell checker worked for me. Thanks so much! It was so frustrating. When I finally uninstalled Office 2007 because I had OE's spell check in French-I then lost spell check completely. Downloading snapfiles free spell checker brought it all back and in English!

April 3, 2007 7:24 PM

I had the same experience when I installed Office 2007 -- only a French spell checker in OE. After trying a couple other sites, Google gave me "Ask.Leo" for the problem. The recommended download fixed it all in "snap"! (Sorry for the pun!) Thanks so much.

April 5, 2007 2:51 PM

Yes thanks folks - it's good to have English back in the OE Spellchecker if only the version from our little colony across the pond! Eddie

Mehm Ko
April 8, 2007 4:59 PM

Thanks for your advice. Now my spell checker is work again.

Thanks again.

April 13, 2007 3:19 AM

Yep I downloaded the snapfile spell checker and it works! Can't believe Microsoft can't fix it!
You site has solved my problem, thanks!
John, UK

April 13, 2007 4:51 AM

I just received a new computer with WinXP and MS Office Home&Student 2007. Now when using the spellcheck in OE, the only language is French! Will the "snapfile" link fix this? Need help fast for student.

April 15, 2007 12:36 PM

Dan it worked for me (:

Lynn Heiser
April 26, 2007 9:44 AM

I have downloaded the spell check from snapfile it checks the spelling in OE but I cannot send the mail. It freezes. All help is welcome

drywall guy
May 11, 2007 5:35 PM

Microsoft says office 2007 is not compatible with Outlook Express. Notice how Office Outlook tried so hard to make itself the default? Conspiracy?
Thanks for the help y'all. Snapfile works like a champ!

Les McLaggan
July 16, 2007 2:14 PM

Ad one more to the club. Snapfile checker solved the problem though. On another weird throwback; has anyone figured out why they also took away the ability of OE to access hotmail? I mean after all they are both Microsuck aren't they, and they really expect people to keep paying for this crap!

Chris in MA
September 6, 2007 4:38 PM

Yes- I had the same problem went to, found the spellcheck for Outlook Express and it worked!
Here's the link:
[url=]snap files[/url]

October 20, 2007 12:57 AM

many thanks, it works perferct.

January 16, 2008 12:19 PM

The computer refuses to take the download (from Snapfiles) for English... what next? it says it is not a valid WIN32 application...????

February 7, 2008 7:54 PM

I downloaded the advised repair for outlook express spelling. Repaired it asap and even using office 1995! Thanks for helping use where microsoft won't

Abie Baker
April 24, 2008 12:46 PM

Hi: My question is how ca n i spell check on outlook express? My operation system is windows XP pro.i have tried to download a file called csapi3t1.dll but is seams that it can not work.
Could you please explain what I am doing is wrong so maybe can can help me out to download and install the file needed i outless express ver 6

Since my spelling is poor that is one reason i would need the spell check.

Thank you

Groupe Abtech Inc.

per Abie

May 23, 2008 8:38 AM

Go get windows live mail fixes all issues
OE nolonger supported

September 1, 2008 2:48 AM

To quote Les McLaggan: '...and they really expect people to keep paying for this !'
Yes. Why...?

October 8, 2008 2:40 AM

My spell check is in French only. I have tired everyway to change it to English, but to no avail.
What can I do?

January 6, 2009 9:22 AM

My computer won't take Snapfile either, same error. Any help here?

BTW: this makes absolutely no sense; you upgrade a MSFT product to more errors?

February 15, 2009 2:13 PM

For Marsha, and anyone else whose OE spell check is now French only, this is a consequence of upgrading to Office 2007 (there may be other causes I suppose, but this is what happened to me and a host of others). There's a simple solution, and here it is with first some background.
MS issued a new mail client (Windows Mail I think its called) with Vista, and now have a freely downloadable Windows Live Mail which is to be the replacement for Outlook Express & Windows Mail. There will be no more OE upgrades.
When you install WLM your accounts (including Hotmail, GMail, Yahoo), contacts and mail folders are automatically imported from OE, and all in all its much slicker than OE and *spell check works*. All the reviews I read recommended it, so I tried it Ive only had it a day, but so far so good.

February 24, 2009 8:46 AM

Thanks for the information on OE Spell check only speaking French. I already found out why but not how to fix it. I hope this solution works for me.

March 13, 2009 12:24 AM


try it
Spell Checker for OE 2.1

May 5, 2009 5:06 PM

I just ran into this and I have a question. I'd be willing to try this "Windows Live" mail if someone who has tried it can tell me if message filters or rules can be set up to direct email into specific folders.
Can it do this?? If not, WLM is a useless hunk of code for me.

btw: the spellchecker in OE is now working for me thanks to the pointer to that download.

It appears that Windows Live Mail has the same message rule engine that Outlook Express had.
- Leo

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