Thursday, August 1, 2002

Does Outlook still support MS Mail?


By Diane Poremsky

A reader, Greg, asks an interesting question about the old MS Mail server. His office uses Office 2000 and the MS Mail workgroup post office for interoffice email. His company just purchased some new computers with Office XP installed and can't figure out how to set them up to use MS Mail. He reports, "It seems that Office XP does not support this feature. Does it not, or am I missing something? Or did Microsoft drop this feature so that offices will have to use Exchange?"

Greg is correct that Outlook 2002 does not support MS Mail. I'm not sure that it was dropped in an effort to force users to Exchange, since many of the small workgroups that use MS Mail could never justify the expense associated with installing an Exchange server. The official reason for dropping MS Mail is because it's very old technology, does not support the custom folders found in Outlook and is not Y2K compliant. It's also likely that Microsoft never realized the extent of MS Mail usage by small workgroups and thought few would miss it.

Greg's office doesn't have to revert to Office 2000 to get MS Mail capabilities back. Microsoft Outlook MVPs Vince Averello and Dmitry Streblechenko discovered that upgrading from Office 2000 and MS Mail to Office XP left the MS Mail feature enabled. They then determined what was needed to add MS Mail support back to Outlook 2002. I've created a Web page with the instructions at

For those who feel it's time to find a new solution for internal email, Sue Mosher lists alternatives for MS Mail at Sue also lists other features that were removed from Outlook 2002 on the same page.

Diane Poremsky is the president of CDOLive LLC and a Microsoft Outlook MVP. She's coauthor of Word 2002: The Complete Reference (Osborne, 2001) and Beginning Visual Basic 6 Application Development (for Wrox Press). For questions or suggestions for future columns, write her at