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Spell Checker for OE

Outlook Express depends on a shared Microsoft Spell checker that is embedded in either Microsoft Word or Microsoft Works. If you do not have either of these, you do not have a spell checker for Outlook Express. The below is freeware so you do not have to buy another Microsoft product to get one. Yet more proof of "Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing" scheme eh? 

You shouldn't have to be a spelling champion to use Outlook Express--but since the program doesn't have a spelling checker built in, that seems to be the target market. Spell Checker for OE integrates with Outlook Express to help you catch those pesky typos and misspellings. No one should let spelling get in the way of a good idea that you want to pass on to friends and family.

Spell Checker for OE v2.1
Author: Vampirefo
File Size:596KB
Operating System(s): Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows 98

Spell Checker For OE 
Spell Checker For OE 

Prevent Users From Changing Privacy Settings In IE

Once you have configured your privacy settings in IE, you may decide you want to disable access to those settings so no one else can change what you’ve done. The following steps will help you do just that:

1. Open the Start menu and click Run. 
2. Type gpedit.msc in the Open field and click OK. 
3. Navigate to the following location within the Group Policy Tree: 


4. Double-click the Disable The Privacy Page policy and select the Enabled radio button. 
5. Click OK.

Get Rid of Content Advisor Password

Internet Explorer has a feature called the Content Advisor which allows you to specify content settings to make the net child-safe. Once enabled, you can set a password to keep your kid(s) from getting in and changing settings. However, if the password is forgotten, you need to get around it somehow. There are utilities on the internet to help you out with this, but you can also easily disable it via the registry. 

To do this, 

  1. Close all open instances of Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE)
  2. Open REGEDIT; If you do not know how to start RegEdit, perhaps this tip is not for you. If you would like to learn more about the system registry, please see Bo's Tweaky Clean Windows.
  3. Navigate to the the Base Key: 

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE | SOFTWARE | Microsoft | Windows | CurrentVersion | policies | Ratings 

  4. In the right frame, highlight the "Key" entry and hit Delete. 
  5. When you are done, close REGEDIT and restart Internet Explorer. 
  6. Once you restart, make sure the content advisor is disabled and you're back in business.
    1. To do so before starting MSIE, 
      1. In Control Panel
      2. Double click Internet Options
      3. Switch to the Content Tab
      4. Under Content Adviser, click the Disable button
      5. Close out the dialog and restart the browser

I know what your thinking, "If it is really this easy, can my computer savvy child find this work-a-round"? Well, if they read this they can. Yet another reason to switch to Firefox or find a third party security advisor with encrypted passwords.

Microsoft Internet Explorer IE6 can't search from address bar?

Reader Dave asks: I no longer am able to search from the Address Bar within IE. For example, if I try to search for 'free beer' (without quotes) a new page is displayed with 'http:///?%20free%20beer' in the Address Bar and 'Invalid syntax error' shown at the top. Do you know what has changed within IE to cause this?

Answer: Unfortunately I do Dave. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think the most likely explanation is that you have gained some spyware in your Internet travels that are mucking up your computer. If you do not use a Spyware Scanner/Eradicator, then I strongly urge you to get one. There are a ton of freebies on the market. Our old standby has been Spybot Search and Destroy for a few years now and AddAware by Lavasoft before that. Both are featured on our Featured Freeware Page. However, there is a new bad boy in town and in all of our tests, it has outperformed SS&D on most scanning operations though some of the advanced tools leave something to be desired. Take a look at 
Microsoft® Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) and our Update on Microsoft AntiSpyware.

You can also reset your autosearch capability (as it's called) by changing a few keys in the System Registry itself
(Please see Bo's Tweaky Clean Windows for more on the uses of the System Registry Editor), if you're sufficiently brave or foolhardy. Remember to save a copy before you make any changes, just in case, but if you dig around and find the hive

 "HKEY CURRENT USER" and the Sub Keys "Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchURL" you should be able to double-click the default entry in the right pane of the registry editor then enter


Restart and, with any luck, you'll be good to go. Until your spyware attacks again, that is. So make sure, before the changes are made, that you run a complete Spyware scan of your system and fix any problems found.

Information bar appears while downloading a file - Windows XP SP2

When you visit a site which uses the automatic download prompt, the Information bar appears instead of the download window. This is due to a security enhancement in Windows XP SP2 to protect the users from automatic download prompts generated by rogue websites. In valid cases, to download the file you need to click the Information bar and select "Download file" option to download the file. This is the safest workaround you can follow.

"What if I don't want to see the Information Bar at all ?"

To prevent the Information Bar from being displayed for a particular website (safer)

To prevent the Information bar from being displayed while downloading files, try adding the website to the Trusted Zone in Internet Options, Security dialog. Automatic Prompting for file download is enabled by default for Trusted Zone domains. You must add a website to Trusted Zone only if you trust the website fully.

To prevent the Information Bar from being displayed for all websites (
not recommended, use only in valid cases)

This procedure will allow Web sites to automatically prompt you when downloading files and software (bypassing the Information Bar).

  1. Open Internet Explorer.

  2. On the Tools menu, click Internet Options.

  3. On the Security tab, click Custom Level.

  4. Do one or both of the following:

    • To turn off the Information Bar for file downloads, in the Downloads section of the list, under Automatic prompting for file downloads, click Enable.

    • To turn off the Information Bar for ActiveX controls, in the ActiveX controls and plug-ins section of the list, under Automatic prompting for ActiveX controls, click Enable.

More Information

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Blaisdell's Little Corner of the Web, Bohunky0, nor any of it's affiliates can guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.
For more on the uses of the System Registry Editor, see: Bo's Tweaky Clean Windows

To make the changes via the registry, modify the values for 2200 and 2201 accordingly.

Click Start, Run and type REGEDIT. Navigate to:

[HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Zones\3]

In the right-pane, double-click 2200 and set it's value to 0 (REG_DWORD)
In the right-pane, double-click 2201 and set it's value to 0 (REG_DWORD)

Values for 2200 :
0  -
Automatic prompting for file downloads is Enabled
3  - Automatic prompting for file downloads is Disabled

Values for 2201 :
0  - Automatic prompting for ActiveX controls is Enabled
3  - Automatic prompting for ActiveX controls is Disabled

Configure Internet Explorer to work as an FTP client

Interacting with FTP sites from Internet Explorer can result in a number of confusing and frustrating errors. As a result, users often end up using a separate software program to access FTP, even though it would be much simpler to be able to handle the tasks from within IE itself.

There are several tweaks that you can make to Internet Explorer that will make it more FTP-friendly.

First, you can to setup IE so that it can browse FTP directories like they are folders in Windows Explorer:

1. Click Tools | Internet Options 
2. Click the Advanced tab 
3. Under Browsing, check the box "Enable folder view for FTP sites"

Next, if you are on a computer that is behind a firewall, you will need to set up IE to use passive FTP:

1. Click Tools | Internet Options 
2. Click the Advanced tab 
3. At the bottom of Browsing, check the box "Use Passive FTP"

If you need to upload files to an FTP folder, then you need to use a special URL in the following format:


This will result in the user being prompted for a password. Once the password is supplied, then a directory comes up and files can be dragged and dropped to and from the FTP window from a Windows Explorer Window.

You receive an error "539 char 2 error invalid argument code 0 url". With SHDOCLC.DLL/preview.dlg

Reader Jenney writes:

I sure hope you can help me. when I try to go to ms I get iexplore has caused an error in mshtml.dll and then it close and also when I go to outlook express 6 and try to print a e-mail I get line 539 char 2 error invalid argument code 0 url res://c:\windows\system\shdoclc.dll/preview.dlg  my ie is 6 ,Windows Me 
thank you

The error 539 char 2 error invalid argument code 0 url, is usually caused by an error with AOL. Though you do not mention that your using AOL it may be wise to check out this MSKnowledgebase Article:

This article describes how to configure Internet Explorer to work with America Online (AOL) as your Internet service provider (ISP).

Other Methods to Resolve SHDOCLC.DLL/preview.dlg issues:

This issue can occur if the Iepeers.dll file is corrupted or is the incorrect version.

Follow these steps to resolve this issue:

First, try to re-register the Iepeers.dll file as well as SHDOCLC.DLL file:

  1. Press the Windows key plus R to bring up the Run command line interpreter
  2. In the Open Box type, or copy and paste the following:
     regsvr32 IEPEERS.DLL
  3. Click OK
    For more on the uses of the Registration Utility, please see:
    Regsvr32 tool (Regsvr32.exe)
  4. Follow the steps above to also re-register SHDOCLC.DLL
  5. Follow the steps above to also re-register mshtml.dll
  6. Reboot the system to lock the changes into place.

If the file is corrupted, the above will not work. If you are using Windows 98 or Me, you will need to extract a fresh copy from the setup files associated with your installation of MSIE 6.0. For uses of the Extraction tool, please see:
How to use the Windows Extract.exe Command

If you are using Windows XP, you may be able to restore the file by running the System File Checker Utility. Here is how:

  1. Press the Windows Key plus R to bring up the Run Dialog.
  2. At the Open command line type or copy and paste the following:


    Note the space between the command SFC and the switch /

  3. SFC will scan your DLL cache folder for a newer version of the file or files that may be missing, misrepresented, or corrupted. If it finds the file it will remove the old version and install the newer version and will register it with the system registry. If SFC cannot find a working copy of the newer file in the DLL Cache folder (The DLL cache folder contains any and all updates or hot fixes installed on your system) it will prompt you for your Windows XP installation CD so it is important that you have it handy.
  4. The scan will take a long time to complete and you may think that the system has frozen or locked. Most likely it isn't. If there is no disk activity, this simply means that the SFC utility is searching the System Registry which is stored in Memory and thus it doesn't need to activate the Disk. This is normal and you should not halt the process.
  5. Once SFC has completed, reboot the system and see if the problem is resolved. If it is, we are done. If not, please keep reading.
NOTE: If SFC asks for the installation CD it means that it has installed the original version of the file it replaces. The file may need to be updated. Once you have rebooted, connect to the internet and go to the Microsoft Update Center to see if the system needs to be updated. If so, choose to install any updates that it shows.
If SFC did not repair the problem, try running a Restore Point:
  1. Click the Start Button | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | System Restore
  2. Choose to restore "Restore my computer to an earlier time".
  3. Click Next and choose a time before this problem occurred
  4. Follow the Wizard's instruction to complete the restore point and choose to restart your computer for the changes to take affect.

Cannot log onto MSN Hotmail due to invalid cookie settings

Reader Tracey writes:

I have a question, to a problem ,that is driving me bonkers. I am using Microsoft Internet Explorer V.6 I cant not open my hotmail account.  I keep getting a msg that my cookies are disabled and they aren't.  I am using MacAfee security center and everything seems to be set up correctly in that. I have gone under tools and internet options and privacy 50 times but still no luck. I have called Msn and Dell but no one can help me there either.  DO you have any advice?? I would really appreciate it !~


Possible Answer(s):
MSN has been having problems with cookie thieves so they have increased their cookie acceptance for that site through .NET Passport. In most instances they forgot to inform their clients. Not really a big surprise Microsoft being Microsoft.

A little background:
Microsoft officials said that the Hotmail service offers users several tools to limit what the company terms "cookie-based replay attacks" but added that Microsoft is "always looking at ways to protect users further, as well as giving them more control over their online experience."

Security experts, however, said that the Hotmail vulnerability exposes the risks of relying on browser cookies as the digital keys to Internet sites.

Cookies, the small data files placed on an Internet user's computer when visiting websites, are primarily used to identify visitors for the purpose of customizing content such as advertising. But many sites, including Hotmail, also rely on cookies for more serious authentication purposes.

For such sites, the cookie is akin to an ATM banking card that doesn't also require the holder to provide a password. Lose the "card" and you may give up your security.

At the Web-mail service, a half dozen cookies are written to the hard disk when the user clicks the "keep me signed in" option while logging in to the service. The option is designed to relieve Hotmail users of being nagged for a password each time they check their mail throughout the day.

Two of the cookies, set by MSN.com and named "MSPAuth" and "MSPProf," are the digital keys that allow an attacker to access the interior pages of a Hotmail account without being prompted to sign in, and to read and send messages from the account and change the account holder's preferences.

A Hotmail user's best defense against cookie robber is to shun the "keep me signed in" option, and to follow Microsoft's advice and click the service's sign-out icon when finished with a Hotmail session.

If you get the error message: "Your Web browser options are currently set to disable cookies. To use .NET Passport, you must enable cookies", the fix can be as simple as changing a few settings or simply deleting the browser cache and cookie manager.

Check your system's date and time:
In some instances this type of message has been seen when the system clock or calendar are out of sync. When this happens the session time is incorrect and MSN thinks that a cookie robber is afoot and shuts down the server to your session.

Try the following to allow cookies for a certain site:

  1. Close all open instances of MSIE 6.0
  2. In Control Panel double click Internet Option
  3. Switch to the Privacy Tab 
  4. Click on Edit
  5. Add each of the following domains and click "Allow":
  6. Click OK 
  7. Click Apply 
  8. Click OK
  9. Re-open IE.

If this was a no go, try deleting files and coolies.
Here is how:

  1. In MSIE click Tools | Internet Options
  2. On the General tab click the delete cookies button
  3. To delete the files click the delete files button and checkmark the box for deleting offline content in the resultant dialog and then click OK
  4. Close MSIE and restart it.
  5. Give your passport account another try.

The above did not resolve the problem then it may be possible that the passport files on your computer under your current logon may be corrupted. In that case, try creating a new profile and re-assign your passport account. See:Add a new user to the computer

Compacting Folders in Outlook Express Causes Problems

Reader Nicky writes: 

The other day while I was online I briefly left my desk and when I returned there was a box saying " Compacting Inbox " and the little green boxes indicating it had nearly finishes . As I had not actioned this I clicked on cancel and when I looked at my inbox all my emails had gone and I cant find them anyway .
Surely they have not all been deleted as I did not ask it to do this . I did have a lot of emails on there but I work from home and this is a real problem.
I am hoping the fact it said compacting and not deleting means they are still hidden somewhere but where ? and how do I stop it doing this again (The Bo Quick Reference: Look, in Windows Explorer, with the program set to show all file types including hidden and system files, for a folder called Inbox(1).dbx. Once found, rename it to Inbox.dbx and choose to overwrite when prompted.)

Answer: In most cases this is caused by a corrupted DBX file. Read on, I'll explain more:

 Tip: Avoid the temptation of clicking on a DBX file to see what it contains.
It is enough to know that a message inside a DBX is not simply a string of text that you can read, but rather is broken up into parts which are not assembled into a legible message until you access the corresponding folder in Outlook Express. Also know that altering even a single byte in a DBX file might render the file completely unusable by Outlook Express.

Understanding Outlook Express Files

Sound prevention begins with sound understanding, so let's begin with a look at the Outlook Express user files. Each folder that you see in the Outlook Express Folder list is stored on your hard disk as a single file with the same name as the folder but with the extension DBX added at the end, such as "Inbox.dbx" and "Sent Items.dbx". All these DBX files are stored in a single Windows folder called, not surprisingly, the Store Folder. The Store Folder is usually located deep within the Documents and Settings folder in Windows 2000 and Windows XP, and is by default marked as a hidden folder. This makes it tricky to find your Store Folder in Windows Explorer, but there is a very good reason for this. One source of DBX corruption is trying to open and edit a DBX file yourself. 

Finding Your Store Folder

Here is a quick and easy way to display your Store Folder with just a few clicks and keystrokes.


In Outlook Express, click Options on the Tools menu.


Click the Maintenance tab.


Click the Store folder button.


Press the TAB key to highlight the Store Folder path.


Press CTRL+C to copy the path to the clipboard.


Click OK, then again OK to close the Options panel.


Click Start, and then click Run.


Press CTRL+V to paste the path into the command line.


Click OK.


If you do not see any files in the folder that opens, click Folder Options on the Tools menu, click the View tab, and then click "Show hidden files and folders" and click OK.


Click the Store Folder button to see the path to your Outlook Express DBX files
Click the Store Folder button to see the path to your Outlook Express DBX files.

Signs and Symptoms of DBX Corruption:

The first symptoms of DBX corruption usually begin innocently enough. You might notice that Outlook Express feels sluggish when starting, or when switching folders. Simple tasks like marking a message as read might take several seconds. Such performance issues usually mean that some minor corruption has occurred but has not yet reached a critical level. If the corruption is more extensive but involves a single e-mail or news folder, Outlook Express might crash with this error when you try to open the damaged folder:


Msimn caused an exception C0000006h in module Directdb.dll. The message could not be sent. There is not enough Disk space.

In these cases the corruption can usually be repaired by compacting all your Outlook Express folders. To minimize the chance of errors during the compaction process, I recommend this simple procedure:

  1. On the File menu, click Work Offline so that no new messages will be arriving.

  2. In the Folder list, click on Outlook Express so that no e-mail or news folder is open.

  3. Close the Folder list by clicking the X in the upper right-hand corner of the list panel. Alternatively you can click Layout on the View menu, and then clear the checkbox for "Folder List".

  4. On the File menu, point to Folder, and then click Compact All Folders. Do not use your computer until the process is complete, which might take several minutes.

  5. If an error occurs, close Outlook Express, re-open it, and begin the process again from the top. If the same error occurs again, close Outlook Express, restart your computer (or log off and then log on again), open Outlook Express and then begin the whole process again.

If compacting does not correct the corruption, you will need to move all messages out of the damaged folder (if possible), close Outlook Express, and then delete the associated DBX file for that folder. If you cannot open the folder, move the damaged DBX file out of the Store Folder into a new folder you create. I will explain later how you can recover most messages from the corrupt file.

In cases of severe corruption Outlook Express will no longer recognize that the DBX file exits, and so the corresponding folder will disappear from the Folder list. If however the corrupt file is Inbox.dbx, Outlook Express will sometimes create a new one and append a number to its name, such as Inbox(1).dbx. If this happens when you open the Inbox, you will see your Inbox messages disappear right before your very eyes!

Compact All Folders vs. Compact Folder:

You can always compact a single folder by pointing to Folder on the File menu, and then clicking Compact. This is recommended every time you make large changes to any folder. But in order to compact "Folders.dbx", the crucial index of the Store Folder, you must instead click Compact All Folders. Outlook Express will first compact all your e-mail and news folders, and will finish by compacting "Folders.dbx".

When Special Folders Stop Being Special

When a special folder becomes corrupt, the first sign is usually just that the folder stops working. For example, you might find that messages you send are no longer being saved in the Sent Items folder or that you are suddenly unable to delete messages, or you cannot open messages in the Drafts folder. If the Inbox is corrupt you will usually see just an empty folder, although sometimes new e-mail will not be downloaded. In the case of the Sent Items or Outbox folders, Outlook Express might crash when you attempt to send a message, presenting this error:


Unknown error has occurred. Protocol: SMTP Port: 0 Secure: No [SSL] Error: 0x800c0131

If the Inbox is corrupt, Outlook Express might not start, but in most cases it will do so by creating a new DBX file named Inbox(1).dbx.

In all these cases compacting all folders often fixes the damage. If it fails to do so, you will need a new DBX file for the damaged folder.


If possible, drag all messages in the non-working folder into another folder you create just for this purpose. You can create a folder by pointing to Folder on the File menu, and then clicking New folder (or by pressing Ctrl+Shift- E).


Close Outlook Express.


Open your Store Folder in Windows Explorer.


Delete (or rename) the DBX file associated with the non-working folder. For example, "Sent Items.dbx" or "Deleted Items.dbx" or "Drafts.dbx". Since these are default folders, new DBX files will be created automatically for the special folders when you restart Outlook Express.

How to stop background compacting in Outlook Express without Service Pack 2:

When the Cure Kills: Compacting and Corruption

As stated earlier, compacting all folders in Outlook Express frequently repairs mild corruption. But surprisingly enough, and again as ironic as it seems, the compaction process itself has also been implicated in causing corruption. Before Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Outlook Express was configured by default to compact files automatically after Outlook Express had been inactive for some minutes. However, although Outlook Express might have been inactive, the same could not always be said for other programs being used when compaction began. On some systems, particularly those with limited amounts of RAM or slow processors, the sudden drain on computer resources sometimes caused the compaction process to hiccough, and all too often a damaged DBX was the result.

It is largely for this reason that the background compaction feature has been removed in Windows XP SP2. Now Outlook Express will compact automatically only after you have opened and closed Outlook Express 100 times. It will do so not in the background, when you might be busy doing other things on the computer, but rather when you close Outlook Express for that 100th time. Do not cancel this compaction, nor use your computer until it is finished. For best results however, you should still compact all folders on a regular basis, such as weekly or bi-weekly.

If you have not installed Windows XP SP2, you should disable the background compaction to lessen the chance of it damaging your files. To do so:

1.Click Options on the Outlook Express Tools menu.
2. Click the Maintenance tab.
3. Clear the checkbox for "Compact messages automatically in the background".
4. Click OK.

Minimizing the Risk Is Also Minimizing the Loss:

"Don't put all your eggs in one basket," goes the old saying. In Outlook Express this translates into "don't save all your messages in one folder, especially not the Inbox." By keeping your DBX files small, you minimize the risk of corruption while at the same time minimizing the loss should corruption occur. This is especially true for the Inbox since it is the folder that changes the most. So keep your Inbox lean and healthy by using it for what it is, a box for incoming messages waiting to be stored or deleted, and not as a place to store all the e-mail you've ever received. Not only will Outlook Express be less likely to lose your e-mail, it will also perform more efficiently.

Don't Forget Sent Items:

Most of us don't look in this folder very regularly, yet it grows every time you send a message. It is therefore very easy for the "Sent Items.dbx" file to grow very large. Be sure to move messages out of Sent Items and into sub-folders from time to time to lessen the risk of corruption. A good rule of thumb is to keep no more than 2,000 or so messages in Sent Items.

Recovering from Corruption:

In the event one of your mail folder's DBX file suffers from corruption that is not cured by compacting all folders, there is hope for recovering the messages it contains.

• Close Outlook Express immediately.
• In Windows Explorer, navigate to your Store Folder and move the damaged DBX file into a new folder you create.
• Copy the latest backup of the DBX file from your backup media into the Store Folder. If you are copying from a CD-ROM, verify the copy is not set as 'read-only' by right-clicking on the DBX file and clicking Properties.
• Restart Outlook Express.
• Compact all folders as described earlier.

In the unfortunate event you do not have a backup that contains the messages you need, it is possible to recover messages from a corrupt DBX file. Unfortunately there is no built-in recovery tool in Outlook Express to do this. There is, however, a very inexpensive third-party tool called DBXtract that could possibly recover these messages.. It was written by Steve Cochran, a Microsoft MVP for Outlook Express for many years. You can purchase and download DBXtract at Steve's

Ten Steps of Prevention:

If you follow the ten stops outlined here, you will greatly reduce the chances that your DBX files will become corrupt.

1. Disable the e-mail scan in your anti-virus program.
2. If you have not installed Windows XP SP2, disable automatic background compaction.
3. Keep the Inbox as empty as possible by moving messages to other folders you create.
4. Be careful that the Sent Items folder does not grow to an unmanageable size (2,000 or so messages seems a good target).
5. Compact all folders on a regular basis, such as bi-weekly, or more often if you make extensive use of e-mail or newsgroups.
6. When compacting, do not use your computer until the process is finished.
7. Purchase a copy of DBXtract for emergency use.
8. Keep your computer and anti-virus products up to date with the latest patches.
9. Backup your entire Store Folder on a regular basis. (See the Restore folder backup below)
10. Remember that you can store important messages, or messages with large attachments, outside of Outlook Express simply by dragging them from the message list and dropping them on your desktop. Then delete the original message in the message list to keep the DBX file smaller.

These simple steps will help keep your Outlook Express working in tiptop shape so that hopefully you will never need that emergency copy of DBXtract.

Backing up the Folders.dbx:

In the case of one important file, corruption can cause Outlook Express not only to crash but also to be completely unable to start, presenting just the "working" hour-glass cursor or one or more of the following error messages:

• MSIMN caused an invalid page fault in module Msoe.dll
• MSIMN caused an invalid page fault in module Msoe.dll at address
• Outlook Express could not be started. It may not be installed correctly. Make sure that your disk is not full or that you are not out of memory. Contact Microsoft support for further assistance. (0x800c012e)
• Outlook Express could not be started because Msoe.dll could not be initialized. Outlook Express may not be installed correctly.

In these cases the corruption is probably in the file "Folders.dbx". This is the master index of the entire Store Folder and without it, Outlook Express cannot do anything. Should you find yourself in this situation, the only solution is to delete the corrupt file from the Store Folder. That will allow Outlook Express to start and to build a new "Folders.dbx" by re-indexing all DBX files it finds in the Store Folder. This is not without consequences however, and so is not something to do unless absolutely necessary. You will have to do some work to replace the information lost, namely:

• Re-create your mail folder hierarchy by dragging folders into place in the Folder list. Note that any folder you have created to group sub-folders but that does not itself contain messages will not appear in the Folder list and so must be created again.
• Re-download the list of newsgroups from each news account.
• Reset your subscribed newsgroups and download messages again.
• Reset synchronization options on IMAP and newsgroup folders.
• Edit any message rule that moves or copies messages to folders other than the Inbox.

 Removing a single byte from a single DBX file can have dire results.

My final word may seem like madness, but hear me out before you judge:

Madness Realized
Viral Irony: The Most Common Cause of Corruption, yup, its true!
When encountering the symptoms of DBX corruption, many people immediately fear that their computer is infected with a virus. As surprising and ironic as it may seem though, the most common cause of DBX corruption is not a virus, but rather anti-virus programs that are configured to scan incoming or outgoing e-mail. Even the most well-known anti-virus programs have exhibited this problem from time to time. To lessen the risk of such corruption you should disable the e-mail scanning module in your anti-virus program. This is usually easy to do by looking at the user-configurable options in the anti-virus program. It is not at all necessary to scan e-mail for viruses to protect your computer.

Now before you dismiss me as mad, let me explain why e-mail scanning is unnecessary. Almost every anti-virus program for Windows installs by default a system scan that runs in the background every time Windows starts. This scan is necessary to protect your computer. If you receive a virus in an e-mail attachment, the virus cannot do anything at all until you actually open the attachment. At that time Outlook Express extracts the attachment from the message and saves it to the Temporary Internet Files folder on your hard disk and attempts to open the file. And it is precisely at that moment that a background system scan will detect the virus, provided it is able to do so, and stop the virus from executing. The system scan will usually delete the infected file from the Temporary Internet Files folder, or else move it to quarantine. To remove the infected e-mail message in Outlook Express, simply hold the Shift key while you press the Delete key. That's all it takes to keep your computer safe, both from e-mail viruses and e-mail anti-virus scanners. Scanning e-mail as it arrives therefore adds nothing to your level of protection. It might indeed make you feel more protected, but that feeling is an illusion. If the system scan is unable to detect the virus, the e-mail scan will fail to do so also.

Exporting MSN Favorites Into Your Current Browser

Reader Tim writes: I was wondering if you knew how msn explorer stored favorites.  I believe it is via the web through .NET.  Am I able to import these into ie 6?  Also, I am using FireFox browser by Mozilla.  I really like it.  What do you think?

MSN used to store your favorites on your PC, so you could easily visit
My Computer | Hard Drive | Programs | MSN | Users | Favorites
and just pull it out. Now they are saving it on their servers which is convenient when you travel the folders and settings come with you. However they did away with local storage. Well, that's not entirely true, read on for more detail.

Microsoft doesn't make it easy but there are ways to do it.  MSN now stores your favorites in a file called  favorites.xml which should be found at this folder level in Windows XP:

C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\MSN6\UserData\{95DD4C60-8C62-01C4-0300-0000C749E62E}

Before you start, you should download and install this XML update from Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=3144b72b-b4f2-46da-b4b6-c5d7485f2b42&displaylang=en
Next, you will want to download and install the MSN Favorites Export Toolkit from MainSoft. You can find it towards the bottom of the page at the following link: http://www.mainsoft.fr/freeware_en.htm What this program will do is create a bookmark.html file which can then be imported into MSIE or Netscape or Firefox.  I suggest that you rename the file to something like MSNBookmark.html so that you will not overwrite your current favorites files.

As for Firefox? We have been touting this little gem ever sense it came out. See our review and some tips at the following site:

 Alternative Browser's To MSIE due to IE flaws

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Gain more viewing space

  1. Right-click the Toolbar and select: "Unlock the Toolbars
  2. Left-click the Address Bar button, it changes to a four-way arrow 
  3. Drag the Address Bar into the empty space next to Help in the Toolbar 
  4. Next, right-click on any of the Icon Buttons, and uncheck Text Labels Also you can select: Small Icons from the Customize menu. 
  5. Then right-click the Toolbar and select: "Lock the Toolbars"

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Open Internet Explorer to a Blank Page
  1. Create a new Desktop shortcut
  2. In the command line, (highlight and paste the below)
    "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE" -nohome
  3. Name the shortcut: (example) IE6 Blank
    From now on you can paste a saved URL without loading your ISP software, etc.
  4. You can also drag this shortcut into your Quick Launch area.
    Note: this is the same as setting your Home Page to: "about:blank"
    Ad-Aware users, setting your page to "About:Blank" causes a false CWS detection.

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Fix Odd Toolbar Behavior

Did you ever get your Toolbars in IE set just right only to reboot and you lose your settings? Many times when Toolbars are added or removed the Registry entry that controls these settings does not get updated or has become corrupt. You can create a small reg file to reset (to default) and correct this behavior.

  1. Copy and paste the below into Notepad


    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar\WebBrowser]

  2. Save the file as:


  3. Remember where you stored the file or simply save it to the desktop
  4. Go to the location in which you stored the file and double click on it. Reboot your computer to lock in the changes.
  5. Next, go to our Featured Freeware Page and get a copy of either Spybot Search and Destroy or Addaware.
  6. download and install the program and then update it (also free over the internet) and do a full system scan. Choose to fix any problems that might be found then reboot the system.

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Seeing When a Web Page Was Last Updated

There are times, especially when we consider the amount of time that it takes to find things you're really looking for, when you might want to know if the information on a certain page has been updated or if that page hasn't had any additions sense your great aunt Harriet used a buggy whip. Here is a way to determine the date the site was last updated.

You can easily determine when a web page was last updated.

1. Open up the page you want.
2. Enter javascript:alert(document.lastModified) in the Address bar (Works for any java enabled browser)

This can be done with a single click by adding it to the Links toolbar. (In MSIE and Firefox)

1. While javascript:alert(document.lastModified) is in the Address bar, click on the "E" logo next to the page title in the address bar and drag and drop it onto the Links bar. (Be sure to disable the Toolbar Lick)
2. To rename it just right-click on the title in the Links toolbar.

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Deleting the INDEX.DAT file (Windows2000, XP)

Reader Carl Asks: What is the Index.DAT file and should I delete and if so, how?

The INDEX.DAT file keeps a record of all the web sites you have visited. Normally you can't simply delete this file since it is protected by the operating system.
However, there is a way:

1. Close all running applications
2. Open a command window (CMD.EXE)
3. Go to to C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5 (where username is the replaced by your current login name)
4. Start the Task Manager (Ctrl-Shift-Esc)
5. Click on the Processes tab
6. Select EXPLORER.EXE and click on End Process
7. The screen will be blank except for the command window
8. Delete the INDEX.DAT file
9. Go back to the Task Manager
10. Click  File | Run | Explorer and the desktop will be back

With a Batch File:

Since it would be cumbersome to manually change directories each time, it would be very simple to create a two line batch file to do this automatically. For the example it will be the C:\index.bat file

CD C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5
Del index.dat

1. Open up a CMD window to the C:\ directory
2. Start the Task Manager (Ctrl-Shift-Esc)
3. Click on the Processes tab
4. Select EXPLORER.EXE and click on End Process
6. Go back to the Task Manager
7. Click  File | Run | Explorer and the desktop will be back

Once you learn how do this, it only takes about 30 seconds to delete the file.

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Version Dec 7 Copyright © 2001 Larry Blaisdell