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Product Reviews: Outlook Express

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  • richlowe@lowe-family.com
    From: articles@internet-tips.net Subject: Product Reviews: Outlook Express Copyright (C) Richard Lowe Jr. and Claudia
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2001
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      From: "articles@..." <article-271@...>
      Subject: Product Reviews: Outlook Express

      Copyright (C) Richard Lowe Jr. and Claudia Arevalo-Lowe, 1999-2001.
      Permission is granted to reprint the following article as long as
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      Article Title: Product Reviews: Outlook Express
      Author: Richard Lowe, Jr.
      Contact Author: mailto:articles@...
      Publishing Guidelines: May be freely published w/bylines
      Web Address: http://www.internet-tips.net
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      This is a series of product reviews intended to help people choose
      which products to use for their systems. In general, all reviews
      are of products that we use on a day-to-day basis. This means
      there will be few totally negative reviews (why would we use
      anything we hate on a regular basis, after all?)

      Outlook Express is a reasonably nice email, newsgroup and
      contacts client. One of the best things about this program is
      the fact that it is free - if, of course, you install Internet
      Explorer on your system.

      Let's start with the positive things about this program. The
      email client is on a par with most other email clients. You can
      do just about anything that you would ever desire, including
      creating maintaining email accounts, receiving messages, replying,
      forwarding, and so on.

      One of the real benefits to Outlook Express is the ability to
      create identities. I don't know about you, but I have several
      email accounts. Using the standard Outlook 2000 client all of the
      messages from all of the accounts get thrown together in one list
      (my understanding is that Outlook XP fixes this, but who wants to
      install such a piece of garbage as Office XP on their system?)
      Outlook express allows you to create more-or-less separate, well,
      everything for each and every email account (if you so desire).
      This way, all of the contacts, inbox, sendbox and so on are
      totally unique to the account.

      The newsgroup reader is the standard, online type. This was the
      first newsgroup reader that I ever used, and it meets most of the
      requirements of anyone doing light to medium reading and posting.
      Other, far better newsgroup clients now exist, however, so Outlook
      Express cannot be recommended based upon the newsgroup client
      alone.

      Contacts are handled in a more or less standard way. You've got a
      list of contacts, and you can add their mailing information as
      needed. The contact can be defined directly from an email message,
      which is a nice touch.

      The rule engine in Outlook Express probably was considered
      advanced many years ago, but by today's standards it is mundane.
      However, it can be used to block spam, file away messages and
      perform autoreplies.

      A feature which is really cool is called Email Stationary. One of
      the best features about Outlook Express is the built-in stationary
      editor. It's not super-sophisticated, but it does the job of
      creating simple and intermediate stationary files very well.

      Okay, now for the negatives about this product. I can sum up the
      biggest negative in just one sentence:

      The reason why viruses such as Melissa, Iloveyou and the
      like exist and thrive is the proliferation of Outlook and
      Outlook Express.

      You see, Outlook Express (and it's big brother Outlook) support
      email scripting. Other email clients do allow you to execute
      programs and scripts, but very few of them allow the email client
      itself to be invoked from the script or executable. Why is this a
      problem?

      Here's an example. Read and execute a virus in a different email
      client and you could wipe out your own system. Read the same
      virus in Outlook Express (or Outlook) and you can additionally
      automatically (and often without your knowledge) send that virus
      to everyone you've ever communicated with on email.

      Before the days of email scripting, creating a self-replicating
      virus was a large task requiring a very knowledgeable person. He
      would have to design and create a means whereby the virus sent
      itself to other systems. Once email scripting was invented and
      became popular, virtually anyone with a few days or weeks of
      script training (or reading of manuals) could do the same.

      So if you use Outlook Express, you MUST install a very good
      virus checking program (such as Norton Antivirus) and you MUST
      keep the definitions up-to-date. Unfortunately, the email
      security patch for Outlook which disables email scripting does
      not apply to Outlook Express, so is of no help. (I am not sure if
      the scripting problem applies to the Outlook Express which ships
      with Internet Explorer 6 and above as I have not installed that
      program yet).

      To sum it up quickly, Outlook Express is a reasonable email and
      newsgroup client. The best that can be said about it is the
      product works and it's free. You are, however, exposing yourself
      to some risk if you use the program, especially if you do not
      have a good antivirus program installed.


      Additional Reading

      Changing Location Of Outlook Stationary
      http://www.internet-tips.net/System/registry_outlookstationary.htm
      The location of Outlook and Outlook Express stationary files is
      contained in the registry. You can modify this value.

      Creating Stationery Using Outlook Express 5 Lesson #1 - Basics
      http://www.internet-tips.net/Email/outlookstationarycreate01.htm

      Creating Stationery Using Outlook Express 5 Lesson #2 -
      Stationery Wizard
      http://www.internet-tips.net/Email/outlookstationarycreate02.htm

      Email - The most critical application on the web
      http://www.internet-tips.net/Email/Email.htm
      Email is the most used and most important component on the web.
      There are lots of options available to make your email
      experience better and more more fulfilling.

      Outlook Stationery
      http://www.internet-tips.net/Email/outlookstationary.htm
      Both Outlook and Outlook Express support stationery files,
      which allow you to send very cool-looking email messages.

      The Ultimate In Virus Protection
      http://www.internet-tips.net/Security/Virusprotection.htm
      Learn how to protect your computer and your hard work. Start
      with a backup plan, install antivirus software and subscribe to
      newsletters.

      Viruses
      http://www.internet-tips.net/Security/Viruses.htm
      The most important thing you can do to protect your system is
      install a virus checker (also known as an anti-virus program).
      These programs will scan your system for viruses and Trojan
      horses and delete or repair them. There are several products
      including those by McAfee and Norton (Symantec).


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