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This procedure does not remove the need for an Antivirus Program.

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When your Windows system was installed, Internet Explorer and Outlook Express will usually have been installed as well. There have been a number of security enhancements to both or you may have upgraded to a later version. Either way it is important to check "Windows Update" on the Microsoft website to make sure you have ALL the security upgrades

You can check from here

(You may need to enable signed activex controls and allow scripting for Microsoft Update to work)

Note:- You may have to restart the computer if you install an upgrade so Bookmark (Add to favorites) this page now.


Why should I worry about security?

How to back up your address book or export it for use with another mail program or database.

Backup Outlook Express Addresses

This page shows you how to set Outlook Express for better security and protection from Script Viruses and at this point you have to make a choice...

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.
Basic Security Improvements
On the Outlook Express main screen, choose the Tools Button and select the "Options Item".

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

Make sure it is set to "Restricted Sites"

This simple setting improves security, even with the defaults which were set when your Internet Explorer and Outlook Express were installed.
The Preview Pane (I)
This is Optional, but can help stop you accidentally running a script like KAK-WORM

There are two ways to do this, read both methods first.

Method 1:-
Go to the "View" button and select "Layout"

This gives you access to the Layout window and allows you to disable the "Preview Pane" which is used to read messages without opening a new window for them.

The preview pane is basically a small message window that's always open so if you're using it any scripts in the message can run as the message is previewed.

Above, With Preview Pane

If you want to remove the "Preview Pane" check the boxes like this.

Below, Without Preview Pane

The Preview Pane (II)
This method is better if you sometimes want the Preview Pane

Method 2:-
Point at the Menu Bar and right click. A small selection will appear as shown. You need "Customize".
The Customise menu appears.

Notice that the icons in the right pane are arranged top to bottom in the same order as your menu bar is organised left to right. You can scroll down the icons in the left pane to "Preview".

Notice in the picture it's "Highlighted" so you can simply click the ADD button to include it on your Menu Bar.
Arranging The Menu Bar

There are "Move Up" and "Move Down" buttons so you can highlight the new icon and move it into position. At least in my version of OE you can also click on an icon in the right pane and simply drag it as shown.

Remember UP in the pane is LEFT on the Menu Bar.
Note that the Preview Pane is much less dangerous if you have disabled scripting and activex etc as detailed below, so if you want to keep it be particularly careful with the next part.

There are now some more settings to do with Internet Explorer. This is because much of what Outlook Express can display is the same as a web page that Explorer can display, so to avoid having two big programs doing the same thing, Outlook Express uses some of the parts of Explorer.

The "Preview Pane" is a good example, it's actually displayed by Explorer as a "Window", just as you view a webpage.

The same parts of Explorer that play sounds and display pictures can also be used by "Scripts" which are what virus writers hide in emails to perform other functions.

To be entirely safe from these you must disable "Scripts" but that also spoils your enjoyment of many of the great graphics pages you find on the Internet.


You now need to click on the Continue link to confirm the settings in Explorer.

Back To Index Page           Continue With Explorer Settings


Other Outlook Express Hints
(Don't forget the Explorer Settings Link Above though)

Reading Text Without Opening

If you click on a message in the list using the RIGHT mouse button a menu will pop up. Choose the Properties item.

You will see a "Properties" Window appear.
Message Properties

This gives some brief details of the message properties but you need the "Details" Tab to see more useful information.
Information Details

Select the "Details" Tab and a window will appear containing the Internet Header Data for the message.

You can copy and paste from this window which is useful if you have something like the Sam Spade utility for tracing messages.

You can get the utility from

SamSpade.Org
The Actual Message Text

Clicking on the "Message Source" button will display the entire contents of the message in text.

If the message is HTML you will see the HTML tags and code and if a script virus is present like Wscript KakWorm you will see that too, however viewed like this is cannot execute and is harmless.

Even though the virus is harmless like this it must be treated carefully to avoid accidental opening. However you can at least read the message in comparative safety. For some information on viruses

Our Virus Links

Thanks to all in the www.grc.com 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