Lately I’ve seen this message turn up out of nowhere on Windows XP computers that do not run Outlook Express.


I don’t know why it’s turning up now after years of staying quiet but it reminds me that Outlook Express is one of several obsolete Windows components that can be safely removed from most Windows XP computers.

Open Control Panel / Add or Remove Programs and click on the left on Add/Remove Windows Components.


I routinely remove some of the items in the list that comes up. If you think you might be using any of them, please do not uninstall them. I don’t want any silly mistakes.

  • MSN Explorer  This was Microsoft’s attempt to create a customized browser that looks like America Online. It’s unclear why anyone would want to look like America Online.
  • Outlook Express  This is now obsolete and replaced by Windows Live Mail. Look, let me reiterate – if you’re using Outlook Express for your mail, don’t uninstall it! This is not the same program as Microsoft Outlook, of course; if you’re using Outlook, you can safely uninstall Outlook Express.
  • Windows Messenger  This is NOT the same program as Windows Live Messenger, the one that most people use. If you have a useless instant messenger icon down by the clock that’s always said “Not connected,” it’s probably a remnant of this program.

Uninstall them by unchecking the box by each item.


You may see an error message about MSN Explorer. I don’t know what it means but in my experience it’s harmless if you click OK.


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