How to use Outlook Express on Windows 7:

From the Partner forums….

[Win7: FAQ] How to use Outlook Express on Windows 7:

Some partners enquried that how to continue using Outlook Express on Windows 7 as there is no built-in e-mail program by default. This following technical bulletin is aimed to introduce how to run Outlook Express on Windows 7.

In Windows 7, we can leverage the XP mode feature to run Outlook Express. Here are the detailed steps:


1. Make sure your computer meets the requirements for both Windows 7 and Virtual PC 7.


Your computer should be equipped with the minimum system requirements to run Windows 7 (at least a 1 GHz processor and 1 GB RAM) and should have Data Execution Prevention (DEP) and Hardware-assisted Virtualization turned on in the BIOS.


2. Download and install Windows Virtual PC Beta and Windows XP Mode Beta from the following link:


3. Start and log on Virtual Windows XP.


4. In Windows XP Virtual PC, create a shortcut for Outlook Express and save it in the “%allusersprofile\Start Menu%” folder.


5. Back to Windows 7, click Start -> All Programs -> Windows Virtual PC -> Virtual Windows XP Applications -> Outlook Express (Virtual Windows XP).

6 Thoughts on “How to use Outlook Express on Windows 7:

  1. Joe Raby on August 8, 2009 at 9:52 am said:

    Seriously? Someone really needs to be told about the security dangers of using Outlook Express, since there is no spam filter, no phishing filter, no unsafe attachments blocker, no scripting blocker, no image blocker, etc.

    Is there really a benefit to running Outlook Express over something like Windows Live Mail?

    (Just for fun, lets try running Windows 98 online and see how fast it takes to catch a worm.)

  2. Robear Dyer, MS MVP on August 8, 2009 at 10:07 am said:

    If you prefer OE’s less-ugly stepsister* Windows Mail in Vista, it’s available in Win7 with a little sleight of hand. See

    * versus the uglier stepsister Windows Live Mail

  3. Joe Raby on August 8, 2009 at 2:30 pm said:

    Those instructions would fall under the classification of decompiling, which is against the end-user license agreement, since Windows Mail is part of Windows Vista.

    It’s not designed to work on Windows 7 either, and by purposefully integrating it into an operating system to which it’s not included could be considered a type of piracy, so I don’t know how a Microsoft MVP can honestly advocate this scenario.

  4. Robear Dyer, MS MVP on August 8, 2009 at 3:01 pm said:

    @Joe Raby: In WinXP SP2 and SP3, see OE Tools | Options | Security tab where one will find unsafe attachments & image blocking options.

    As for script blocking, OE runs in the Restricted Sites zone by default.

    PS: All of the above apply to Windows Mail in Vista as well as Windows Live Mail, both of which are based on OE.

  5. Joe Raby on August 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm said:

    Honestly, I haven’t looked at OE since pre-SP2 since they were still behind not having a spam or phishing filter. Scripting support was also a major hole where malware would get in.

    Microsoft started working on Windows Live Mail Desktop beta around that time anyway, and it had all that in there.

    Windows Mail had all the security features integrated though. It is nowhere close as bad as Outlook Express.

    Windows Live Mail added extra functionality by separating mail folders by mail account by default. Windows Mail makes mail accounts go into the same Inbox by default, which I find infuriating. Outlook 2007 and Windows Live Mail both fixed that over their previous versions, and Windows Live Mail just has more functionality, like the Photo Email option, which integrates with Windows Live Photos/Skydrive.

  6. The Fish on October 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm said:

    Robert Dyer, regarding “decompiling”… I *hardly* think copying a few files is decompiling.

    Regarding it being “piracy” this is also untrue. If you own Windows Vista you have every right to continue using it or parts of it.

    The Fish

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