8.5 Getting Email to Play Nicely with Windows
Email and Windows XP don't always play well together. For example, XP often insists on needlessly launching Windows Messenger whenever you open Outlook. The following hints are designed to stop this incessant quarreling and keep you emailing smoothly.
8.5.1 Killing the "Unread Messages" Notice
Your Windows welcome screen tells you the number of unread messages you have in your email box, with one teeny-weeny caveat: It's usually wrong (Figure 8-16). No one, including Microsoft, seems to know why this happens. But there's no reason you need to keep seeing this useless information.
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Figure 8-16. The number of messages announced by your welcome screen can be waaaay off.
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Figure 8-17. TweakUI lets you stop XP from telling you on the Windows welcome screen how many unread email messages you have. The number is invariably inaccurate, so you might as well turn it off.
To make this change, you need to download and install a program called TweakUI, available for free at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/downloads/powertoys.asp. (For more about TweakUI, see Section 2.1.1).
Once you've installed the software, choose Start All Programs Power Toys for Windows XP TweakUI for Windows XP. Choose Logon Unread Mail, and in the screen that appears (Figure 8-17), turn off "Show unread mail on Welcome screen" and click OK. From now on, Windows XP won't bother telling you how many messages it thinks you haven't read.
8.5.2 Killing the Windows Messenger
When you use Outlook or Outlook Express, Windows Messenger may open every time you use either program. If this bothers you, there's an easy way to keep Messenger from popping up.
In Outlook Express, choose Tools Options General, and deselect "Automatically log on to Windows Messenger." Depending on your version of Outlook Express, you may instead need to choose Tools Windows Messenger Options Preferences, and deselect "Run this program when Windows starts." Now click OK.
Note: This change stops Windows Messenger from starting whenever you start Windows, not just when you start Outlook Express.
To turn off Windows Messenger in Outlook, choose Tools Options Other, and uncheck the box next to "Enable Instant Messaging in Microsoft Outlook."Click OK.
8.5.3 Contacting Windows Messenger Buddies
You can shave precious seconds off your Instant Messaging routine by using Windows Messenger from within Outlook or Outlook Express.
In Outlook Express, Windows Messenger buddies appear at the top of the contacts pane. When a buddy is online, a green icon appears next to the person's name. Double-click the name in the contacts pane to launch an instant messaging session with that person.
In Outlook, if a buddy is online, that person's name shows up in the InfoBar. This bar appears at the top of each contact's window (which appears when you double-click a person's name in your contact list), or at the top of an email message from the contact. To send an instant message, click the InfoBar, compose a message, and click Send.
8.5.4 Relocating Outlook on Your Taskbar
The Windows XP taskbar ‚ which runs along the bottom of your screen ‚ can quickly get crowded when you have lots of programs running. If you're suffering from taskbar overload, you might want Outlook or Outlook Express to tuck itself into the notification area whenever you minimize either program. (The notification area, also called the system tray , is the right-hand portion of the taskbar, next to the clock).
To activate this change, you need to download and run a separate program: either HideOE (to hide Outlook Express), or HideOlk (to hide Outlook), both available for free at http://www.r2.com.au.
Note: You can also use a Registry hack to shift Outlook to the notification area when you minimize the program. Run the Registry Editor (Section 15.1.2) and go to My Computer HKEY_CURRENT_USER Software Microsoft Office 10.0 Outlook Preferences. Create a new DWORD value called MinToTray and assign it a value of 1. Exit the Registry; the change takes effect right away. To return Outlook to its normal behavior, either delete the MinToTray DWORD value, or give it a value of 0.