Microsoft Internet Mail/Outlook Express Tips
  • I've come to a conclusion that Outlook Express 5 sucks. 3 times when there was a large file in my mailbox, it ended up screwing up messages - some would show up as empty, some would have headers inside. So, I downgraded to old, reliable O.E. 4 - and was pleasantly surprised that it allowed me to import the messages I received during the short reign of O.E. 5.
    BTW, I never chose to install version 5 in the first place - it was bundled with Internet Explorer 5, which is also a troublemaker (several times it caused GPF in EXPLORER.EXE when booting, so I had to repair IE5) .
  • When you try to quote message in OE and '>' keeps moving to the wrong line, that's becase there's no hard return inside the line. Go to the end of line and press ENTER.

  • IMAIL caches mail server DNSs during one session.

  • Setting up the best possible spam filter - instead of trying to exclude bad messages, define a rule to include good ones! This is how I did it - all messages containing 'daugava' in 'To:' field go to folder 'Inbox Daugava'. These are messages addressed directly to me. Vast majority of spam is addressed to crappy addresses like, so it remains filtered out. So, all good messages are in 'Inbox Daugava', while my old 'Inbox' contains nothing by spam and I just do mass delete now and then.

  • Totally unexpected discovery - none of the deleted messages are actually deleted from Internet Mail folders (.MBX files)!!! For example, OUTBOX was empty, but it's .MBX file was whopping 19M! I tried a little experiment and found out that Compact command in File menu takes care of that - releases the disk space used by deleted messages in specified folder - kinda like PACK command in DBASE.

    Till I tested this myself, I thought that Compact was some sort of compression, which I didn't care for, since I wanted to keep folders in plain text format.

    The help section talking about 'Compact' is so skimpy, it's not even funny - I'd never thought of using that command until I realized that my Internet Mail directory takes 109 megabytes! After compacting it shrank down to 54M! And after nuking 'deleted items' it shrank further, to 21M.

  • If you do 'copy to' folder and then 'move to', destination folder will contain 2 copies of the message. So, if you meant 'move', but did 'copy', the 2nd step would be 'delete'.

  • If you accidentally delete message from Outbox, no big deal, just go to 'deleted', edit the message and click 'send' again.

  • You can go to prev/next message in editing mode - by clicking up/down arrow buttons.

  • Smart feature in Inbox Assistant - when folder is deleted, filters that route messages into it become inactive.

  • Outgoing message can endup in Inbox if you do Alt-F4/save message instead of clicking send, like all respectable people. I did number of times and finally today (06/27/97) realized what's happening. Not that I understood why the heck IMAIL would do that.

  • When IMAIL is default mailer for IE, message gets sent immediately when IMAIL client is not open - no need to open it and click 'send/receive'.

  • Yuri suggests: "To find text in the body of the message, double clock on header to get into editing mode, then press F3". Simple, eh ? And for months, I didn't even know that such mode exists in IMAIL!
    You can also use this trick to edit message in your Outbox before sending it.

  • Single beep during message receive means 'there are new messages'.

  • IMAIL has spellcheck (Mail/Check spelling), but to use it, you must have MS Office installed.

  • You can setup IMAIL to establish PPP/SLIP when it needs to read mail, then you can stay online.

  • When mail server reports password incorrect, the reason could be Caps Lock light not being set correctly. It may be off, but Caps are actually on - press Caps key several times to find out.

  • Selecting word without using keyboard: double click, right click, copy.
  • When the font is too small to see the subject of the message, read it in the window title. BTW, anybody knows how to increase header font in MS IMAIL & INEWS ?
  • If connection is is lost during Send/Receive, next time you do SR, you might get duplicate messages.
  • ^M is a shortcut for Send/Receive.
  • Ctrl+Click on attachment to get 'SAVE AS' dialog.
  • When program maliciously takes over CPU (like IMAIL does while sending), Caps Lock key doesn't respond.
  • Press Alt-V-G-R to get russian font.