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Configuring Windows Vista Productivity Applications - Windows Mail

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E-mail, short for electronic mail, is a fast and convenient way to communicate with others by transmitting and sending text messages with file attachments (documents, pictures, sound, and movies) over a network, including the Internet. You can send a single message to groups of people and forward messages that you receive to other people. Because e-mail messages are created and sent electronically, they can be easily stored and retrieved. Organizations that are fully computerized and have many users make extensive use of e-mail because it is fast, flexible, and reliable.

To use e-mail, you need the following:

  • A network and/or Internet connection

  • An e-mail program or web-based service

  • An e-mail address that consists of a username, the at symbol (@), and the name of your Internet service provider (ISP) or web-based e-mail provider.

Windows Mail is an e-mail and newsgroup client software package that replaced Outlook Express, which came with Windows XP. It enables you to exchange email with others, and it enables you to organize, manage, and protect your e-mail.

Using Windows Mail

To use e-mail in Windows Mail, you must set up an e-mail account. You need the following information from your network administrator or ISP:

  • Your e-mail address

  • Password

  • Names of your incoming and outgoing e-mail servers

To add an account, you run the Add User Account Wizard, which can be started by doing the following:

Open Windows Mail.

On the Tools menu, click Accounts.

Click Add.

Select E-mail Account and click Next.

You then follow the instructions through the wizard. If you do not know the names of your services, your address, or your password, contact your ISP or network administrator.

If you do not receive e-mail, check the following:

  • Make sure your computer is properly connected to the Internet by opening a web page on the Internet.

  • If this is your first time trying to receive e-mail from this e-mail account on this computer, verify that the account/server information is set up properly. If you don’t know your account information, check with your system administrator or your ISP. Account information can be accessed by opening the Tools menu and selecting Accounts.

  • Click Send/Receive to retrieve your e-mail again.

After you have added an account, Windows Mail checks for new e-mail messages when you first start it. E-mail you receive is stored in your Inbox.

By default, it then checks every 30 minutes after that. To change how often it checks for new e-mail, open the Tools menu and select Options. Then, change the Check for New Messages Every x Minute option.

The Inbox is one of several folders that hold e-mail. To see a list of e-mail you’ve received, click the Inbox in the Folders list. Your e-mail messages display in the Message list. The list shows who sent the mail, the subject, and when it was received. To read a message, click it in the Message list. The contents of the message display below the Message list in the Preview pane. To read the message in a separate window, double-click it in the Message list. To reply to a message, click the Reply button.

To create a new e-mail message in Windows Mail, click the Create Mail button. A new message window opens. In the To box, enter the e-mail address of at least one recipient. If you are sending the message to multiple recipients, enter a semicolon (;) between e-mail address. You can also specify recipients in the CC box, short for carbon copy. CC is typically used when you want to send informational e-mails to a person and you don’t expect action from them. In the Subject box, type a title for your message.

To attach a file to the message, click the Attach File to Message button on the toolbar (located just below the menu bar). Locate the file, select it, and then click Open. The file displays in the Attach box in the message header.

To send the message, click the Send button. If you are connected to a network, the e-mail will be received by the recipients.

Configuring Windows Mail

To configure the settings for Windows Mail, open the Tools menu and select Options. An Options dialog box displays with multiple tabs, as shown in Figure 1. The options include the following:

  • General settings for configuring newsgroup behavior, send and receive timings and behavior, and default messaging programs

  • Read settings for configuring how messages appear, how newsgroups messages are downloaded, and how fonts are used in Windows Mail

  • Receipts settings for configuring how read receipts behave

  • Send settings for configuring the format to send e-mail and news messages, and general settings for actions to take when mail is sent

  • Compose settings for configuring fonts and stationery used in e-mail and news messages, and settings for using business cards

  • Signatures settings for configuring a personalized signature to add to your outgoing e-mail

  • Spelling settings for configuring your spelling checker preferences

  • Security settings for configuring secure e-mail by using certificates, for using virus protection for your e-mail, and whether to allow image downloads

  • Connection settings for configuring how the connection to the mail server behaves

  • Advanced settings for configuring maintenance and troubleshooting

Figure 1. Windows Mail options.

Dealing with Junk E-Mail

With the popularity of e-mail and because of its low cost, users have to deal with junk e-mail. Junk e-mail is unsolicited e-mail that usually contains advertisements, flyers, and catalogs that may or may not contain fraudulent schemes and pornography. In addition, viruses are often spread through junk e-mail.

Windows Mail includes a Junk E-Mail Filter that analyzes the content of messages sent to you and moves suspicious messages to a special Junk E-Mail folder, where you can view or delete them at any time. And if a junk e-mail message slips past the filter into your Inbox, you can specify that any future messages from the sender be automatically moved to the Junk E-Mail folder.

Windows Mail automatically screens junk e-mail. However, you can customize how junk e-mail is filtered by opening the Tools menu, selecting Junk E-mail options, and selecting one of the following protection levels:

  • No Automatic Filtering. Use this option if you want to stop blocking junk e-mail messages altogether. Windows Mail will continue to block messages from domain names and e-mail addresses on your Blocked Senders list.

  • Low. Use this option if you don’t receive many junk e-mail messages and want to block only the most obvious junk e-mail messages. This is the default setting.

  • High. Use this option if you receive a large number of junk e-mail messages and want to block as many as possible.

  • Safe List Only. Use this option if you want to receive only messages from people or domain names on your Safe Senders list. E-mail messages from people or domain names not on your Safe Senders list will be treated as junk e-mail messages, so you should choose this option only if you are certain that every person or domain name that you want to receive messages from is on your Safe Senders list.

Of course, you can take the following steps to reduce your junk e-mail:

  • Use caution in giving out your e-mail address. Avoid publishing your real e-mail address in websites, newsgroups, or in other public areas of the Internet.

  • Before you give your e-mail address to a website, check the site’s privacy statement to be sure it does not permit the disclosure of your e-mail address to other companies.

  • Never reply to a junk e-mail message. The sender will know that your e-mail address is valid and might sell it to other companies. You are then likely to receive even more junk e-mail.

If you are getting junk mail from a specific e-mail address, you can add that address to the Blocked Senders list. If you have e-mail that is getting flagged as junk e-mail, you can prevent the blocking of the messages from a specific e-mail address by adding them to the Safe Senders list. If an address is on both the Safe Senders list and the Blocked Senders list, the Safe Senders list has a higher priority than the Blocked Senders list; therefore, the message will be received rather than blocked. To add addresses to the Blocked Sender’s list, follow these steps:

Open Windows Mail.

Click a message from the sender that you want to add to the Blocked Senders list.

Click the Message menu, point to Junk E-mail, and then do one of the following:

  • To block all future messages from that specific sender, click Add Sender to Blocked Senders List.

  • To block all messages from any sender whose domain name (the portion of the e-mail address after the @) is the same as the sender’s, click Add Sender’s Domain (@example.com) to Blocked Senders List.

To move a message from the Junk E-mail folder to your Inbox, follow these steps:

Open Windows Mail.

Click the Junk E-mail folder.

Click the message that you want to move to your Inbox.

Click the Message menu, point to Junk E-mail, and then click Mark as Not Junk. The message is moved to your Inbox.


Although marking a message as not junk will move that message to your Inbox, future messages from that sender might still end up in the Junk E-mail folder. To prevent this from happening, add the sender to the Safe Senders list.

Securing Windows Mail

To keep Windows Mail secure, follow these guidelines:

  • Use an up-to-date antivirus program.

  • Make sure that virus protection is enabled for Windows Mail security options, including warning when an application tries to send mail and not to open attachments that could be potentially have a virus. You should also consider blocking images within HTML e-mail.

  • Use caution when opening e-mail attachments.

  • Be careful when clicking links in messages.

  • Always use a secure password. Passwords that use a combination of uppercase, lowercase, and alphanumeric characters are harder to guess than passwords that can be found in a dictionary.

  • If more than one user uses a computer, create a different profile for each user with its own e-mail account.

Phishing Options

Phishing Filter is a Windows Mail feature that helps detect phishing websites. The Phishing Filter uses the following methods to help protect you from phishing scams:

  • It compares the addresses of websites you visit against a list of legitimate sites reported to Microsoft. This list is stored on your computer.

  • It helps analyze the sites you visit to see whether they have the characteristics common to a phishing website.

  • With your consent, Phishing Filter sends some website addresses to Microsoft to be further checked against a frequently updated list of reported phishing websites.

If you visit a website that has been reported as a phishing website, Internet Explorer will display a warning web page and a notification on the address bar. You can then choose to continue or close the page. If the website contains characteristics common to phishing sites, Internet Explorer will notify you in the address bar that it may possibly be a phishing website.

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