Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

A program is trying to access my email addresses – why?

A program is trying to access my email addresses – why?

If you’ve seen this popup message:

outlook popup message

Then you know the question. Why is Outlook telling you that someone is
accessing your contacts?

If you have to ask, then chances are the news isn’t good.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

Microsoft added this warning to Outlook in response to a series of
email-borne viruses that, once they infect, try to spread by sending email to
everyone to everyone in your address book. Now, when a program tries to that
Outlook asks if it’s okay before actually allowing that program to see your
contacts.

There are legitimate cases where a program would want to access your address
book. For example my cell phone comes with software that allows me to
synchronize my address book with one kept on the phone. But the important point
is that I know it, and I know when it’s happening. If that message pops up at
some time when it’s not expected then it might be cause for concern.

The concern, of course, is that you might be infected with one of those
viruses. And you can guess my advice: update your virus scanner and scan right
away.

And for what it’s worth, it’s a vicious circle: virus writers have found
ways around the protection afforded by this feature in Outlook, and Microsoft
has patched those vulnerabilities. The virus writers are probably busy at work
looking for a new way around those patches.

The moral is the same as my advice: regularly update your virus scanner and
scan.

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Tech problem solving & safety tips with a weekly confidence boost in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow

Slow Computer?

Speed up with my FREE special report: 10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow, now updated for Windows 10.

No strings. No email. Here's the direct download. (Just right-click and "Save As...".)

37 comments on “A program is trying to access my email addresses – why?”

  1. I’ve been getting this message the first time I launch a new message template every time I reopen Outlook. That is, I start Outlook, and then the first time I create a new message, I get the warning. This only began happening AFTER I updated Office XP to SP 3. I believe it may have something to do with Microsoft trying to add security to my sysetm, and the fact that I use Word as my e.mail editor.

    I also get an extremely brief flash of this message when I synch Outlook with my Palm Tungsten T3, but I think the Palm OS or the Key Folders software I’m using is smart enough to “click” the allow button.

    Reply
  2. I have got this message and too noted that it only appeared after installing SP3. I was really worried that it could be a virusand have reformatted the hard drive and reinstalled windows.

    If anyone works out how to sort the problem please dolet me know!

    Lee

    Reply
  3. I’m getting this message also. My PST file is on a shared network drive. Is it possible for the message on my machine to be displayed if a machine (other than mine) with access to that shared drive gets a virus?

    Reply
  4. I hate Microsoft sometimes. There’s no way to unistall this “feature” without reinstalling Windows all together. This is a major problem when it’s running on an Ap server such as a phone system.

    Reply
  5. That “error” is normal. It comes from and new function of office sp3, has it been explained later.

    During the normal email create or reply, this errors occurs when ms word is used to edit the emails. Try to disable word as the default email editor, and this error will be gone.

    Reply
  6. HI

    I want to disable this ‘feature’ only for Remote Assistance emails in a school environment.

    Is there a way to give ‘trust’ to the Remote Assistance in XP?

    Thanx

    Reply
  7. So what do you do when you get the message (pops up every time I try to open an email), and Norton…updated with the latest definitions…detects no viruses?

    Reply
  8. One of the earlier commenters mentioned that he experienced this when Word was selected as his email editor. Turning that off seemed to fix the problem.

    Reply
  9. I agree that it has to do with SP3, but I have also found if you have a full version of Adobe Acrobat installed you will get this message. If you uninstall Acrobat and keep SP3, the message disappears. Just another Microsoft incompatibility.

    Reply
  10. I have similar problem. There are two user accounts on my laptop. One is local and works without any problems. Second is for company and it works in local networks (connect to domain and bla bla bla). This account has problems with Outlook. Something is trying to access address book. Virus is updated. I’ll try to disable Word, but not sure if this will work… Anyways, I can do this only from company…

    Any ideas, why it works differently on the same computer?

    Reply
  11. God bless Leo and Caroline for her Adobe post on this issue! Definetly turned out to be our companies problem.

    The Adobe tech site pointed me in the right direction but failed to resolve the Acrobat 6.0\Outlook\Word isssue I was experiencing in the best possible way.
    Adobe fails to instruct users that they can also remove the “Attach as PDF” feature from Outlook by modify the Acrobat install from Add/Remove Programs.This stops the access pop-up.

    Reply
  12. Maybe a little late to post this, anyway, found a nice solution for this problem. Its called “Advanced security for Outlook” and its a litte freeware program from MapiLab. In my case the message popped up every time I wanted to send a new mail message and the reason was a dll from Adobe (I have Adobe Acrobat Professional on the computer) Look for MapiLab in Google …

    Reply
  13. I have an easier fix.
    You just need to disable to Outlook module in Acrobat 6.0.

    Browse and look for the file “PDFMOutlook.dll” in c:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat 6.0\PDFMaker\Mail\Outlook.

    Then, rename the file to “PDFMOutlook.dll.old”

    That should fix the problem

    Reply
  14. Thanks a pile to Anonymous (June 12/06). Your fix is perfect. One more cause of irritation off the list! By the time this computer is obsolete, it will be working perfectly…

    Reply
  15. There’s a terrific Outlook add-in at:
    http://www.mapilab.com/outlook/security
    that identifies which program is trying to access, and fixes it. It was how I found out that PDFMOutlook.dll is the culprit.
    Adobe website acknowledges this as a problem… see

    [HTML Link Edited]

    http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/knowledgebase/index.cfm?event=
    view&id=KC.330069&extid=330069&dialogID=9566778&iterationID=
    1&sessionID=48302ba695f58067643c&stateID=0+0+9574381&mode=
    simple”>http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/knowledgebase/index.cfm?event=
    view&id=KC.330069&extid=330069&dialogID=9566778&iterationID=1&sessionID=
    48302ba695f58067643c&stateID=0+0+9574381&mode=simple

    Reply
  16. Hello JB,

    I am also getting same prblem from outlook warning saying that ” A program is trying to access email address from outlook” I am using Windows XP and microsoft outlook 2003.I went to the mapilab.com website which u mentioned that has worked for u. But I cud not find teh solution there. I am taken to FAQ’spage when I click on “add-in”.kindly help where can I find the add-in? is it free?

    Anyone of u if u know soln pls help.Awaiting for ur reply.

    http://www.mapilab.com/support/faq/?F_Filter=415

    Reply

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.