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Setting up Outlook Express Newsreader

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  Using the web based access to newsgroups is a very difficult way to use high volume newsgroups like the XP newsgroups. With several XP newsgroups average daily volume well over 1000 messages, the web formats lack of the search ability severely limits the usefulness of the newsgroups forum.

  Below are steps and tips on setting up the Outlook Express Newsreader for viewing and posting to the Microsoft newsgroups.

  1. Open Outlook Express or if you have Outlook configured, open Outlook [see below for enabling news for Outlook 2003.
  2. From Tools menu, select Accounts.
  3. Click the Add button and select News.
  4. This will launch the Internet Connection Wizard.
  5. Type the name you want to appear in the "From" column in the Display field.
  6. Type your email address, this can be any email address, but I suggest creating an anonymous email account just for newsgroup posting.

    (As a further warning, never use your real email address in the configuration of your newsgroup reader or your signature.

    Alter the address with something obvious to someone with a legitimate reason to reply, but so you will not have your email address harvested by spam harvesters. Use a prefix/suffix like no spam or bogus, etc. Change the part of the email address after the @ sign. This will lessen the possibility email will be sent to a real person.)

    Anonymous email accounts are available for free. Hushmail Secure Email is one of many examples available. For more examples do a Google search for "anonymous email"                                                                      
  7. Enter msnews.microsoft.com for the NNTP server. Since the Microsoft public newsgroups do not require a password, leave the checkbox "my newserver requires me to log on" unchecked.
  8. In the Newsgroup Subscriptions dialog box, type microsoft.public.windowsxp. to display all Windows XP newsgroups. Click the newsgroups you're interested in, then click Subscribe.
  9. When you have subscribed to the desired newsgroups, click OK
  10. From OE Tools> Options> Read> Set the number of headers to retrieve to 1000. Uncheck the checkbox to download all the messages in a newsgroup. (recommended, but takes a considerable amount of time. OE Newsreader will give a much higher estimate of the posts to download. Estimate is over a million headers for the general group, but actual number is around 90 to 100 thousand.) The XP newsgroups have a very high volume and average posts in some groups exceed 1000 posts per day, using the default 300 headers to download would give only a fraction of the posts and replies to the newsgroups.
  11. From View> Current View select Show All Messages.
  12. From View> Sort By select Sent
  13. Optionally From View> Layout> Preview Pane, select open preview pane, then 'below messages' or 'beside messages' and finally Show preview pane header. This option allows you to see messages as you select them.
  14. Use Help for more tips on configuring OE for newsgroups.


When posting the same question to multiple newsgroups, do so by cross-posting rather than making individual posts to each group. By cross-posting, replies will show in all groups regardless of the newsgroup the reply was made. Cross-posts should be limited to topic relevant newsgroups with the usual accepted groups limited to (3) three per post, but more or less can be posted to with most newsreaders. Screen shot images below illustrate how to cross-post.

  1. Reply to message.

    Click image to enlarge.
  2. Select Newsgroups.

    Click image to enlarge.
  3. Add Newsgroups.

    Click image to enlarge.
  4. Example of cross-post.

    Click image to enlarge.


  Additional tips for OE newsreader.

After the initial download of the headers, you should compact the newsgroups by right clicking on a subscribed newsgroup and selecting Properties from the menu, then Compact

  For Outlook 2003, the tool bar must be customized to enable a link to open Outlook Newsreader. If you receive an error message or the news option is not available from the customize menu option, uninstall Outlook and reinstall making sure you have closed Outlook Express before reinstalling. If Outlook Express has been previously setup to receive newsgroups, you may need to remove the newsgroup accounts to get Outlook 2003 to properly intergrate OE seamlessly into Outlook 2003.

When properly configured, opening OE newsreader from Outlook 2003 will show Outlook Newsreader on the application title line.

Example of OE properly intergrated into Outlook 2003 shown below.

Outlok Newsreader 2003

click the above image to enlarge.

  Finally, there are other newsgroup applications and some are more specialized to specific newsgroup tasks, but I find the Outlook Express newsreader especially well suited for Microsoft peer support newsgroups. For downloading files and binaries, I would suggest other newsreaders more suited for this task.


  Printable text version. Right click text file and choose print target: oesetup.txt


  List of Microsoft Public Newsgroup links compiled courtesy of  MS-MVP Jim Eshelman.

  Clicking the links will automatically create any necessary account configuration in Outlook Express and take you directly to the Microsoft newsgroup you have selected — no complicated technical configurations are needed! Over 2000+ newsgroups available.

Microsoft newsgroups rules of conduct. Useful tips on E-mail Addresses and Privacy.


More tips on OE


Alternative Newsreaders

Netscape NewsBin Pro v4.05
Agent Xnews