Outlook Express and Hotmail… no more

An Outlook express icon that I made from scrat...
Outlook Express

This may seem like old news to someone who’s stayed in the loop (I hadn’t), but as of June 30th 2008 – officially – Outlook Express users could no longer access their email via Outlook Express. Instead, Microsoft decided to force everyone to download their newer Windows Live Mail program (an edition of which was included with Vista from the start).

I don’t know the reasoning behind this other than the branding exercise whereby MS have tried to tie together all their online packages – the toolbar, MSN, Messenger, Mail and so on. Simply, it just makes things complicated for the very casual user when their email stopped working for no apparent reason.

Which is what happened to a friend today. Almost a year after the cut-off date that they knew nothing about. On their work’s email.

Yes, I know having your work email on a freebie service like Hotmail (or is it Live Mail these days?) isn’t ideal but that’s what they’d gone with and it worked for them. As I said, until today when they could receive mail but sending it gave a “host not found” error. Strange as manually entering the host address into Firefox resolved it no problem.

The solution to the issue is simple – download Windows Live Mail from this link and install it. Make sure you un-tick all the boxes for the other stuff you might not want (there are six or seven packages listed) and let the install run. Once it’s in, give it your Hotmail login details and then allow it to search for your Outlook Express installation. It’ll pull in all your contacts, folders and email. Then ditch OE.

Simple, easy… and pointless. Also surprising, given that the official cut-off date was almost a year ago. I guess it’s just one of those things that’s taken time to propagate across the servers.

But, really – making people change program not just have an upgrade?

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How to remove Windows Search 4.0

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...

I installed this piece of **** as part of the update routine a while ago and just couldn’t get rid of it for the life of me. I could disable it, but every time I did a right-clicked “search”, I ended up having to wait an age for it to load so I could redirect to the old built-in system.

Well, thankfully I discovered an article which helped. All the claims of “look at the Add/Remove Programs” list were useless as it doesn’t put itself on there, despite what Microsoft claim. Also, I’ve not seen an Update spuninst folder/file in the system root when I’ve put it on either – which means there’s no uninstall program.

The page is this one, courtesy of ARNO#. It does involve downloading a ZIP file, but I can verify that it works. I would recommend running a registry cleaning package once you’ve gone through his instructions, though. No harm in doing so just to ensure you get rid of any loose ends that might get left behind.

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Bloatware? Erm… yeah

Office 2007 Professional retail box

Upgrading some PCs at the moment as part of the closedown procedures, and I spotted one patch coming down the wire from Microsoft Update – 2007 Microsoft Office Suite Service Pack 1. A whopping 194Mb. Ouch.

Now, given that one of the “selling points” of Office 2007 is its smaller OXML (.docx etc) files which are a significant space-saver over the old format Office files, isn’t it a little poor to issue a patch which is larger than some office suits? How big is Office 2007 if a patch is just shy of 200Mb?

I’m glad I stuck with OpenOffice. Version 2.4 is a whopping (not) 127Mb download. That’s the actual suite, not an update or a patch.

Gah! Computers! But sometimes they help out…

First off, let me repeat that GAH! only amplified somewhat:


Thank you. Apologies to anyone who couldn’t post comments earlier. I’d put the wrong API into my upgraded reCAPTCHA so it didn’t work. That’ll teach me not to check these things when I’ve tinkered with them.

I’ve just tonight noticed that using the drop-down archive box to the side there, that you can’t go back further than February 2007. No idea why not. If you go to Feb and step back through the individual posts, or go to the archive on a single day anytime before then it works just fine. It’s simply month-long archive pages pre-Feb’07 that struggle.

[UPDATE: Fixed. Turns out I had some “real” folders with the same name in my directory tree. That seems to confuse WordPress’s “pretty permalinks”. Deleted the old folders, all works now. Phew.]

I’m looking into it, but it’s driving me nuts. The WordPress support forum’s gone crazy as well. First of all not letting me log in (cleared cookies, not it’s fine), then letting me in, letting me post… but not allowing me to edit the posts. And then not letting me reply to my own posts, telling me that the topic has been closed – when it hasn’t been.

*locates nearest brick wall, loves it in the way only Glaswegians really know how*


Better stuff. Here’s a way you can help a charity and take money out of Microsoft’s pocket. No, it’s not that stupid email forwarding thing. It’s a scheme they’ve started on MSN. Put a little code next to your login name and MS will donate a sum to the charity of your choice (from a short, US-biased list) each time you start a conversation.

It’s called I’M Making a Difference – I’M… Instant Messenger. Clever.

Sounds like a wind-up, but I promise it’s true. Details are on CybernetNews, and also at Microsoft’s own I’M page to save me keying in all the “how to”‘s.

As I’ve commented on there, it’s a shame all the charities are US ones given the international usage of IM. However, better one good cause than none wherever it may be. I can’t believe this has been going on since March last year! They’ve raised almost $1.5million so far. Each charity is guaranteed a minimum $100,000 with no upper limit.

I’m not 100% sure if non-US residents logging in makes a difference, but let your Yank friends know about it all the same. And there’s no harm in putting the icon on your own name – just in case it does work!