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This does not remove the need for an Antivirus Program.
This page shows you how to set Internet Explorer for better security and protection from Script Viruses in your emails.

It may mean that SOME fancy HTML emails won't display as intended and it may mean you get some warning boxes telling you what the email is trying to do.

Sometimes emails do unpleasant things, other times they're just trying to play sounds or display graphics. There's no certain way of telling which...

Please consider printing this for easy reference later. We suggest reading it thoroughly before actually starting, especially if you can't print it.
On the Internet Explorer main screen, choose the Tools Button and select the "Internet Options Item".

This allows you to reach the main options window.
Select the "Security" Tab

The four blocks of security settings you have are for normal Internet Browsing where you expect to be safe, Local Network where perhaps you might feel totally safe, Trusted sites where you are positive you are safe and Restricted Sites where you are unsure or feel they might try something you don't like. You do not have to set up any site names in this zone for Outlook Express to use the settings, they will apply to all emails.

Make sure you click on "Restricted Sites" because these are the security settings you told Outlook Express to use. You do not normally use these when browsing the Internet so your normal browsing is not affected.

Click the "Custom" Button.

Now you will see a window which you can scroll down and check that all settings are disabled.

Basically we have everything disabled. This setting still allows some HTML in emails but makes it much more difficult for a virus writer to get his rogue program out of the page and into your computer.

As an alternative you can check the "Prompt" radio button where it's available. Then if you get an email containing scripts or activex controls you will get a small alert appear asking you whether you want to let it run or not.

Of course the warning will not tell you exactly what the program is trying to achieve, only that some prgram is trying to run. So it's a choice for you and unless you are absolutely Certain about what the email contains you basically have to say no.

It is a nuisance either way but either disabled or "always say no" is much safer.

While you are studying these settings note which items can be set to "Prompt". ActiveX controls can be particularly dangerous and can result in things you don't want being downloaded etc. You may want to consider finishing the "Restricted" settings and then clicking on "Internet" to make your normal browsing a little safer.In particular I'd advise setting anything related to unsigned ActiveX to at least "Prompt" and you won't miss much by having them completely "Disabled".

Now there are a couple of things you must look at under the "Advanced" Tab.

Many of these items are not too relevant to security, but the item "Enable Install On Demand" should be unchecked. If you have it unchecked the website has to ASK first.

The settings as you scroll down can be checked below.

The rest of the settings I normally use are here, however many users will never require such things as the Java Console etc.

My suggestion would be to check your settings against these and if you're unsure what they do refer to the help files or let your mouse pointer hover on them for a few seconds. For total protection I guess you need to disable practically everything but even at this configuration you will be much better off than previously.

Setting Outlook Express and the script rules in the "Restricted Sites" zone is the most critical.

Now might be a good time to check out some AntiVirus software, and don't say you can't afford it. There is an excellent FREE one from Computer Associates called Innoculate It.

You can find some AntiVirus links and other information on OE at

Our Virus Index Page           More Outlook Express Details

And for other security matters try

Gibson Research Corporation

and you might be surprised what can be done with what apparently innocent information you send out to a website

Privacy Net Security Checks

Back To Index Page           Back To Outlook Express Settings           Internet Communications Simplified

Thanks to all in the newsgroups who contributed and checked these pages. A great place to discuss all aspects of PC security with experts and ordinary users alike. Thinking about a certain Firewall or AntiVirus? Someone there will probably be using it and you can't get a better recommendation than that.

One of those contributors has developed a very useful tool to help with settings. You can find it here.

Lock Down Internet Explorer