Outlook Express box everytime I login

Posted on 2012-09-20
Last Modified: 2012-10-06
I am getting a box from Outlook Express that says: To Free Up Space, Outlook Express can compact messages.
We do not use Outlook Express, Ha....I just thought of just disabling it from the add and remove programs, will that work or is there something else I can do to disable it.
Question by:calitech
    LVL 89

    Expert Comment

    by:John Hurst
    The message will only come up if Outlook Express has been used at one time on this machine. Open Outlook Express and see what is there.

    ... Thinkpads_User
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    >> I just thought of just disabling it from the add and remove programs, will that work

    since you are not using it, uninstall it will solve the problem.
    LVL 62

    Accepted Solution

    You can stop the message appearing by changing the OE counter in the Registry

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{identity}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0

    Change the value in "Compact Check Count" to zero (once it reaches 100 you'll get the prompt back)

    Very occasionally this can be an indication of malware on the PC launching OE in the background.  Lots of other programs have been implicated in incrementing the "Compact Check Count" though including Windows Search.  If OE isn't used you can pretty much ignore it or set up a .reg file you can run to reset it when needed.  It can be a real pain trying to uninstall OE through Windows as it's an integrated component.

    Instead of physically removing OE you can tell Windows that Outlook Express is uninstalled with another Registry edit:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\{44BBA840-CC51-11CF-AAFA-00AA00B6015C}

    In the registry, if the "Installed" value is set to "1", change it to a "0" and reboot.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    I often see people suggesting that it is possible to uninstall Outlook Express by unticking the entry in the list of optional programs:
    Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs > Add/Remove Windows Components.

    As far as I am aware, all this does is hides Outlook Express, and does not physically uninstall it from the computer.  There are a few other "optional" Windows XP components like this, and to completely uninstall them requires using 3rd-party utilities like XP-Lite by (

    The Windows Optional Components are listed in the file:
    and the Outlook Express entry is this:
    The contents of C:\Windows\inf\oeaccess.inf pretty clearly indicate that this is just a case of hiding Outlook Express from users, and this is what Masqueraid's 2nd registry key value does.  Who knows, maybe if it isn't a visibly installed program the compact prompt will stop.

    Outlook Express does not physically have to be opened and closed as a visible program window for the compact notification counter value in the registry to be incremented.  Many things can be programmatically accessed very quietly so you are not aware.  In addition to the Windows Search (Indexing Service and Catalog) mentioned by Masqueraid, other culprits that I have seen blamed for doing this with Outlook Express files are Windows Desktop Search (not the default XP search) and some of the Nero CD-Burning programs.  I suppose that even Picasa might by default walk through and access the files unless specifically told not to, and I'm pretty sure that some incremental backup applications could cause the files to be "accessed".  Solutions I have seen involve editing the folders and file types that are indexed by these processes where this is possible.

    I have always used Outlook Express in Windows XP, so it isn't something I have ever consciously tried to dig deeper into, apart from resetting the counter value in the registry on the odd occasion.  I think it would be quite hard going to track down what process was doing this, so running a logon script to reset the counter would probably be the most appropriate solution.

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