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These steps repair the most likely causes of unexpected behavior in Outlook Express with a minimum of effort.
Close other programsYou will need both Outlook Express and Internet Explorer open. Save your work in any other programs and close them. This allows your repair steps to do their job without other programs making demands on your computer at the same time.
Delete the Temporary Internet Files
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Remove all offline files to delete Outlook Express temporary files.
This step often comes as a surprise. Each time you display a message, either in a message window or in the Preview pane, Outlook Express creates a temporary file to help it display the contents of the message. Each of those temporary files is stored in the Temporary Internet Files folder that is used by Internet Explorer. Sometimes one or more files in this folder are damaged, and that can cause Outlook Express to exhibit strange symptoms when displaying messages. All the files in Temporary Internet files truly are temporary, so there is no danger in deleting them. Doing so will not delete the actual messages in Outlook Express.
Compact all folders
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Let the compaction process finish before you try to use your computer.
Unexpected behaviors in Outlook Express can be caused by small errors in the file “Folders.dbx.” This file is the master index of the message store folder and damaged entries there can create all sorts of fun, such as the wrong message or folder being displayed. When you compact all folders you are also updating this master index. If you don’t compact all folders from time to time, you are more likely to see distinctly unfunny behavior.
Re-register Outlook ExpressDamaged or missing entries in the Windows registry can prevent Outlook Express from being recognized as the default e-mail client. That it turn can cause odd behavior when replying to a newsgroup message or clicking an e-mail link on a Web page. A simple procedure causes Outlook Express to rewrite its main registry keys and so corrects such issues.
Re-register librariesDynamic Link Libraries (DLLs) are files that contain functions that may be shared by other programs, such as recognizing hyperlinks, displaying rich content, and so forth. These specific DLLs are used by Outlook Express, and can cause glitches in the visual display if they are damaged. Re-registering a DLL using regsvr32 is similar to reinstalling those functions and thus makes sure they are installed and working correctly.
Create new identityThis will create a new message store folder as well as all new registry keys. This should not be necessary unless our previous efforts have failed to correct the problems.
Reinstall or repair Outlook ExpressBy now you have repaired the most common causes of unexpected behavior in Outlook Express. If the behavior is still occurring, it is time to reinstall or repair the basic Outlook Express program files themselves. Because both Internet Explorer and Outlook Express are integrated into Windows itself, doing so is a little more complicated than for most programs. Microsoft has therefore prepared a detailed guide to reinstall or repair both Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. Be sure to read the article carefully and follow only the steps for your version of Windows and Service Packs.
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Article ID: 2398839 - Last Review: September 4, 2010 - Revision: 1.0