How to Download Outlook Express for Free

Windows Mail replaced Outlook Express 6 but it's still available

Microsoft's Outlook Express is a discontinued product that was included with Internet Explorer 3 through 6. The last version, Outlook Express 6, shipped with Windows XP. A beta version of Outlook Express 7 was originally planned for Windows 7, but it was replaced by Windows Mail.

Outlook Express is not the same as Microsoft Outlook, another popular email service and software program from Microsoft.

Outlook Express for Windows XP

Person downloading Outlook Express
Lifewire / Maddy Price

Outlook Express was a free email program that shipped with early versions of Windows. You can no longer download Outlook Express from Microsoft and it's no longer supported with regular bug and security patches.

However, it is still available for download from Softpedia. Please know, however, that it only works with Windows XP and because it hasn't been updated in a very long time, it likely suffers from many security issues. You're much better off moving away from Outlook Express as your email client and instead use Microsoft Outlook or another popular client.

Outlook Express for Windows 10, 8, 7, & Vista

Microsoft did not develop Outlook Express for Windows versions later than Windows XP and never intended it to be used in those versions of Windows.

In Windows 10 and Windows 8, the included mail client is called Mail. Windows 7 did not include a default mail client but Windows Live Mail was available via Windows Essentials. In Windows Vista, Windows Mail was the included client.

If you really miss the Outlook Express experience, you can try these third-party substitutes but we highly recommend you move on to another, more modern client, as we mentioned above:

  • Outlook Express for Win 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 is available from Run As XP. If you use this program with Windows 10, each time an automatic update happens, OE is removed and must be reinstalled.
  • OE Classic is a program similar to Outlook Express and billed as a replacement for it. OE Classic is free and available for all Windows versions from Windows 2000 through Windows 10.

How to Set Outlook Express as Your Default Email Client

If you have an old copy of Outlook Express or are able to download it, you can still set it as the default Windows email program even though it has been discontinued.

How you go about this differs depending on the version of Windows you are running.

Windows 10 & 8

  1. Click the Start menu.
  2. Select Settings and type "Default" into the search box.
  3. Select Default app settings.
  4. Click on email and select Outlook Express from the list of available email apps.

Windows 7 & Vista

  1. Click Start.
  2. Enter "default programs" in the search box.
  3. Click Default Programs.
  4. Click on Set your default programs and highlight Outlook Express.
  5. Click on Set this program as default.
  6. Click on OK.

Windows XP

  1. Launch Internet Explorer.
  2. Click on Tools/Internet Options from the menu.
  3. Go to the Programs tab.
  4. Confirm that Outlook Express is selected under Email.
  5. Click OK.

Again, not to belabor the point, but the very best course of action would be to abandon Outlook Express entirely and move on to an email client or web-based email that's being continually improved.

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