Select the product you need help with
- Internet Explorer
- Windows Phone
- More products
OLEXP: How to create and use identities in Outlook Express 5.x and 6.0
Article ID: 209169 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q209169
For information about the differences between Microsoft Outlook Express and Microsoft Outlook e-mail clients, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/257824/EN-US/ )OL2000: Differences Between Outlook and Outlook Express
In earlier versions of Outlook Express, you can distinguish between multiple users by creating user profiles. In Outlook Express 5 and later, a new feature called identities performs this function. This article describes how to create, use, and manage identities in Outlook Express.
NOTE: This article and the additional articles that are referenced in this article assume that each user already has an e-mail account to view e-mail messages. If you do not have an e-mail account, you must obtain one from an Internet service provider (ISP) before you can use Outlook Express to view e-mail messages. Furthermore, this article does not describe how to configure an e-mail account, including what to type for the e-mail address, e-mail server type, incoming and outgoing e-mail servers, or password. For additional information about how to configure an e-mail account, see the "References" section of this article.
If you have more than one person in your house who uses the same computer for e-mail, each person can have a separate message store in Outlook Express. This means that each person can have separate messages, contacts, and personal settings. You can do this by creating multiple identities. After you create the identities, you can switch between those identities without shutting down your computer or losing your Internet connection.
If you do not have multiple people in your house who use the same computer for e-mail, but you have multiple e-mail accounts that you use to view e-mail messages, you do not need to use multiple identities. You can view all of your e-mail messages by using the same identity.
Do not confuse identities with e-mail accounts. For separate people to keep their e-mail completely separate, you need to configure each identity with a separate e-mail account. To do this, start Outlook Express by using the identity, and then add or configure the appropriate e-mail account.
For example, if you want two different people to view their e-mail messages separately, each person's identity needs to be configured with each person's own e-mail account. If you create two separate identities for two different people, but you configure each identity with the same e-mail account, both people receive the same e-mail messages. Similarly, if you create a new identity for a different person, but you do not configure the new identity with any e-mail accounts, the identity does not receive any e-mail messages.
Managing IdentitiesWhen you first start Outlook Express, a default main identity is created. The main identity is used until you switch to another identity or until you set another identity as the default. Because you are not using user profiles, you do not have to restart your computer to use a different identity, but you do have to quit and restart Outlook Express.
You can manage identities by using Identity Manager. You can use Identity Manager to modify existing identities, create new identities, and change default identities. To start Identity Manager, use one of the following methods:
Creating a New IdentityTo create a new identity:
Identity information is stored in the following registry key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\account_IDwhere account_ID is the full path to the folder where the message store is located. The default location of the message store for Windows 2000 is in the C:\Document and Settings\Username\Application Data\Identities\account_ID folder. The default location of the message store for Windows 98 is in the C:Windows\Application Data\Identities\account_ID folder.
NOTE: If user profiles are enabled, the location of the message store is in the Windows\Profiles\user_name\Application Data\Identities\account_ID folder, where user_name is the name you use to log on to Windows, and account_ID is the full path to the folder where the message store is located.
Switching Between IdentitiesTo switch to a different identity when Outlook Express is already running:
271741In addition, when you switch identities, Outlook Express 5.5 may stop responding (hang). For more information about this issue, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/271741/ )OLEXP: Outlook Express 5.5 quits when you switch identities
274017To switch to a different identity when Outlook Express is not already running, start Outlook Express, and then click the identity that you want to switch to when you are prompted to do so.
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/274017/ )OLEXP: Shared Windows address book does not display contacts
NOTE: If you do not log off from your current identity before you quit Outlook Express, you may not be able to log on by using a different identity. In addition, other people may be able to start Outlook Express by using your identity, even if you set a password for your identity. To work around this issue, log off from the current identity before you quit Outlook Express.
To log off from the current identity:
Changing the Default IdentityTo change the default identity:
Setting a PasswordTo set a password for an existing identity:
Managing ContactsThe Address Book provides a convenient place to store contact information for easy retrieval by programs such as Outlook Express. In the Address Book, you can keep contacts in your main folder or organize contacts into subfolders. If you have contacts that you want to share with other people who use Outlook Express on the same computer, you can move the contacts into the Shared Contacts folder, where other identities can view them when they use the Address Book.
To open the Address Book, click Address Book on the Tools menu.
In the Address Book, if you cannot see the folders on the left, click Folders and Groups on the View menu.
NOTE: If contacts in the Windows address book do not appear, the Windows address book may be configured to share contacts between the Windows address book and the Outlook address book. For more information about this issue, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/222068/ )OLEXP: Shared Windows address book does not display contacts
Creating SubfoldersTo create a subfolder:
Sharing ContactsThe two folders that automatically exist in the Address Book are the Main Identity's Contacts folder and the Shared Contacts folder, a folder that you can use to share contacts with other identities. Neither of these folders can be deleted, but folders for additional identities are created as new identities are created.
You can make a contact available to other identities by putting the contact in the Shared Contacts folder. You can either create a new contact in the Shared Contacts folder or move one of your existing contacts into the folder.
NOTE: If you move a contact to the Shared Contacts folder, the contact no longer exists in the original folder. You can make a copy of the contact information for your folder, but changes that you make there are not reflected in the Shared Contacts folder or vice versa.
Moving ContactsTo move contacts:
The Outlook Express Help is an excellent reference for detailed information about configuring and using identities. For more information about identities, click Contents and Index on the Help menu, click the Search tab, type identities in the Type in the keyword to find box, and then click List Topics to view all of the topics about identities.
For additional information about adding e-mail accounts:
Article ID: 209169 - Last Review: May 7, 2007 - Revision: 2.6