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Configuring Microsoft products for safety, security and privacy

Outlook Express - also see (MS IE) Zone and Advanced Settings

You MAY find that some of these settings are already in place because MS realised the exposure they had created and changed SOME defaults - the most obvious of which was the choice of 'More Secure' vs 'More Functional'.

Please note that these settings need to be changed in EACH ACCOUNT (known as Identity in MS OE - click on File, Identities) that you have - this is a benefit in that you can treat different sources of e-mail distinctly - 'Read all in plain text' through to having a more formal 'Signature' (not shown).

These are the security-related settings for Outlook Express. To get to these settings from Outlook Express simply click on "Tools" then "Options" then the appropriate Tab (top).

The four images to the right are what you want to achieve - see each cell.

You may also want to move the 'Store Folder' under the 'Maintenance' Tab so that it easier to back-up BUT (contrarily) ONLY DO THIS JUST AFTER DOING A FULL BACKUP of your e-mails or when you first set-up your PC.

If you only want to make changes incrementally then by far the most important is the 'Restricted sites Zone' on the very last screenshot, the second most important is the 'Block external images & content in HTML e-mail'. NEITHER OF THOSE CHANGES SHOULD CAUSE ANY PROBLEMS FOR LEGITIMATE MAIL and they are easily 'reversable'.

Please not that WINDOWS 98 DOES NOT SUPPORT THE 'Block' OPTION and so the only safe way to handle e-mail, especially on a Spammy account is to have the harsher setting of 'Read all mail in plain text' - see the top right (Read Tab) screen shot.

Don't auto-login to Messenger or download e-mails while you may be absent

Read all messages in plain text - ONLY IF ON Win98 or you choose not to take the "Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail" option under Security - see below.

Don't add people to your address book automatically

Take the more secure (zone - see above) options, warn you of applications trying to send out e-mails as you, stop attachments being opened*** and "Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail" - XP+ only.

*** Note that this is a LITTLE extreme because it stops virtually everything but this web page is aiming to show the most secure option. Do consider the option to have more than one e-mail account (in MS OE) as a way of managing the constraints on your e-mail especially tight on a Spammy account but may not as severe on a well managed-one.


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I hope that has been useful. Any Comments, suggestions or corrections to: Contact us please. This would be especially useful if the software environment you have is different to mine and the headings, text or prompts are different.


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