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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:

257824 OL2000: Differences Between Outlook and Outlook ExpressIMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry


When you start Outlook Express, the program may stop responding and your pointer may appear as an hourglass.


One cause for this problem may be damaged information in your Identity ID Number registry subkey.


WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

To resolve this problem, use Registry Editor to export, delete, and then import the Identity ID Number subkey registry information for each of your identities.

When you use this procedure, you preserve user settings, account settings, address books, and message stores.

How to Export and Delete the Identities

  1. Quit all programs.

  2. Click Start, and then click Run.

  3. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.

  4. Locate the following registry subkey:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\Identity ID NumberNOTE: There is one subkey for every identity. Follow these steps for each identity. The Identity ID Number subkey takes the form of an alphanumeric string, such as:


  5. In the left pane, click the first \Identities\Identity ID Number subkey in the tree, and then note the user name data in the right pane.

  6. On the Registry menu, click Export Registry File.

  7. In the File name box, type the user name that you noted in step 5.

  8. In the Save in box, click Desktop, and then click Save. Repeat the previous steps to export each Identity ID Number subkey.

  9. After you export each Identity ID Number subkey, right-click the Identity ID Number subkey in the tree, and then click Delete. When you are prompted to delete the key, click Yes.

  10. Delete the main Identity key, HKCU\Identities.

  11. Quit Registry Editor.

The Username.reg files are now on your desktop. Each file corresponds to one of your identities.

How to Import the Identities

Import each Username.reg file. Start Outlook Express after you import each file to determine if the individual identity is damaged. To do this:

  1. On the Microsoft Windows desktop, double-click the first Username.reg file that you exported.

  2. Start Outlook Express to confirm that the program is working correctly for that identity.

  3. Repeat the previous step for each Username.reg file.

Do not delete any Username.reg files that you do not use until you confirm that Outlook Express is working correctly. If Outlook Express does not work correctly after you import one of the .reg files, that identity is the identity that is causing the problem. You must delete the identity, and then re-create it.

For additional information about creating identities, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

209169 OLEXP: How to Create and Use Identities in Outlook Express 5

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