Is it safe to keep Outlook Express? Outlook Express is the only email that
I’ve ever used as it came with my computer. It gives me no trouble at all as
I’m a very light user. Is there any danger that some day I will wake up and
have nothing? I’m 85 years old and not too eager to learn another program. Am I
safe with Outlook Express? I have Microsoft Windows XP, Home Edition, Version
In this excerpt from
Answercast #61, I look at the dangers of reaching the Outlook Express data
limit and how to protect yourself if you want to keep using the program.
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Outlook Express safety
You now, I’m really reluctant to say that you’re safe with Outlook Express
because it does have known issues. Most notably, the databases can go corrupt
if you eventually end up accumulating too much mail – which is what people do
after they’ve been using it for years and years and years.
However, I definitely understand your situation. Learning a new email
program is not something to necessarily be taken lightly.
How to be safe with OE
So, here’s my recommendation: back up. Back up your computer.
Make sure that the back ups of your computer include your email database;
your email folders. I’ve got articles on the site that will show you exactly
where the Outlook
Express data storage is kept. Make sure that’s included in your backup; all
In fact, if you can, get used to getting regular, full machine image
backups made. That way, you’re backing up not just your email, but all of your
pictures and your documents and whatever else might be on your computer. Do
That way, if one day you do wake up and Outlook Express isn’t working (and
all your email appears to be gone), you can revert to the most recent backup and
it will all come back. Then, you can make a decision before you download any
more email on what to do. It may be that you could (at that point) be forced
into getting a new email system.
That could happen. But you don’t have to do that (as long as you’re well
backed up) until there’s actually a reason for it.
Backing up protects you
I personally consider Outlook Express a ticking time bomb. Like I said, as
you accumulate more and more email, the risk of there being a problem goes up
Fortunately, what you consider to be a “light usage” may in fact be so light
that you’ll never, ever encounter one of these problems. That’s fantastic. But
I don’t know. I don’t know what you mean by “light;” you don’t know what I mean
by “light” or “heavy.”
You could be very slowly over the course of many years accumulating a lot
of email. And the threshold within Outlook Express that says, “Whoops, this is
too much. I don’t know what to do with it anymore,” could be reached.
The best way to protect yourself (and that’s all you really need to do;
protect yourself) is to start getting regular backups of your machine. Keep
using Outlook Express then, knowing that if or when something does eventually
go wrong, you can always recover to the most recent backup.
Next from Answercast 61 – Why is the Maxthon browser always setting itself as the default browser and how do I stop it?