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Getting Outlook Express to print again


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 26, 2001

Q. I tried unsuccessfully to install greeting card software, which I later learned was defective. Now I am unable to print e-mail messages. I go to File, Print, and no Print window appears. I can print from the Web and other selections on Windows 98. The only alternative I've found is to copy and paste into WordPad and then Print. I ran the virus and defragment programs without success.

A. Sounds as if the greeting card software clobbered some files that are now not letting Outlook Express print. There are a few things to check whenever you cannot print from Outlook Express.

According to Microsoft, check to see if the folder that is referred to by the TEMP environment variable is missing. To check this:

1. Click Start, point to Settings and click Control Panel.

2. Double-click System.

3. On the Environment tab, note the path for the TEMP variable in the User Variables forbox. The default is:\Temp.

4. Use Windows Explorer to verify that the path you noted in step 3 exists. If it does not exist, create it.

There also is a known problem with Outlook Express 5.0 on some systems that requires the Preview Pane option to be active. To make the Preview Pane active: Click Layout on the View menu in Outlook Express, click the Show preview pane checkbox to select it, then click OK. This has been corrected in Outlook Express 5.5. So, upgrading to Outlook Express 5.5 may solve your problem.

As a last resort, try uninstalling and then reinstalling Outlook Express. This will keep your settings and should restore the files it needs for printing. To uninstall:

  • 1. Click Start, point to Settings and click Control Panel.
  • 2. Double-click Add/Remove Programs.
  • 3. Click the Windows Setup tab, click to clear the Microsoft Outlook Express checkbox and click OK.
  • 4. Quit Control Panel.

To reinstall:

  • 1. Click Start, point to Settings and click Control Panel.
  • 2. Double-click Add/Remove Programs.
  • 3. Click the Windows Setup tab, click to select the Microsoft Outlook Express checkbox, then click OK.
  • 4. Quit Control Panel.

Return receipts

Q. How do I install a return receipt request in Outlook Express?

A. When composing a message in Outlook Express, go to the tool bar, select Tools, then click Request Read Receipt. You will then be notified automatically by a returned e-mail once your e-mail reaches its destination and is opened. To request a read receipt for all messages, click the Tools menu, click Options, then click the Receipts tab. Select the "Request a read receipt for all sent messages" checkbox.

Keep in mind that options such as return receipts and "Out of Office" replies are dependent upon the simple mail transfer protocol, or SMTP, settings of the e-mail servers involved. Many non-commercial e-mail servers are not configured to generate receipts.

Outlook Express hiding places

Q. I use Netscape and Outlook Express. I'm getting a new system and want to copy files. Netscape's files for data and addresses are easy to find in the users' folder. Where does Outlook Express store the corresponding files?

A. Right-click on a folder within Outlook Express (such as the Inbox) and select Properties. This will give you the location on your disk where that folder's contents are kept. The Address Book (Contacts) is kept in a file with a Windows Address Book, or .WAB, suffix and is most likely located in C:\Documents and Settings\\ApplicationData\Microsoft\Address Book. The location may differ based on your Windows/Outlook Express version. In this case, just search for all .WAB files on your system.

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