How to Reinstall Outlook Express (And Internet Explorer)

Step-by-step instructions

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Outlook Express is a discontinued email and news client included with Internet Explorer versions 3.0 through 6.0. As such, it was bundled with several versions of Microsoft Windows, from Windows 98 to Windows Server 2003, and was available for Windows 3.x, Windows NT 3.51, and Windows 95. Outlook Express is a different application from Microsoft Outlook. The similar names lead many people to conclude incorrectly that Outlook Express is a stripped-down version of Microsoft Outlook. Downloads of Outlook Express are still available.

If Outlook Express Acts Up

If Outlook Express starts to behave in inexplicable but disturbing ways, then a fresh start can turn things around.

Unfortunately, re-installing Outlook Express (and Internet Explorer) is often not so easy an undertaking. As a program that comes with Windows, starting with a fresh installation of Outlook Express would usually mean starting with a fresh installation of Windows. Not a place you want to go, right?

How to Reinstall Outlook Express (And Internet Explorer)

Fortunately, you can install a new copy of Outlook Express if you can make Windows believe that what you install is a new version. This will mean different things on different systems, so make sure you get the right download and install the correct version:

  • Windows XP with SP 2: Download Windows XP Service Pack 2 Network Installation Package or get your SP 2 CD ready and re-install Service Pack 2.
  • Windows XP without SP 2: Install Service Pack 2 via Windows Update. This should give you a fresh copy of Outlook Express without any further tweaks. Optionally, you can reinstall Internet Explorer 6 SP 1 and Outlook Express using the method described below.
  • Windows NT 4/98/98 SE/ME/2000: Download Internet Explorer 6 SP 1 and follow the instructions below.

Reinstall Outlook Express and Internet Explorer 6 SP 1

To reinstall Internet Explorer and Outlook Express on systems other than Windows XP with SP 2:

  • Select Run... from the Start menu.
  • Type 'regedit'.
  • Click OK.
  • Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE­\SOFTWARE­\Microsoft­\Active Setup­\Installed Components­\{44BBA840-CC51-11CF-AAFA-00AA00B6015C}.
    • The key named (Default) will read Microsoft Outlook Express 6
  • Double-click IsInstalled.
  • Type '0'.
  • Click OK.
    • To re-install Internet Explorer as well, set the IsInstalled key for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE­\SOFTWARE­\Microsoft­\Active Setup­\Installed Components­\{89820200-ECBD-11cf-8B85-00AA005B4383} (Internet Explorer 6) to "0" in the same manner.
  • Close the registry editor.
  • Open the ie6setup.exe file you previously downloaded and follow the installation instructions.

Outlook Express to Outlook