Outlook Express is the email client that is integrated into the Windows operating system OS. Outlook Express is a full-featured email client that allows users to send and receive messages using accounts established through outside email providers. Outlook Express also allows users to download email messages to their computer hard drive. Depending on the location and function of these files, they have different file extensions.
Email Files in the Inbox
The most current messages downloaded from the mail servers of accounts set up through email providers such as EarthLink is then stored in the inbox. The inbox can be subdivided into a number of mailboxes by the user. Mail stored in the inbox and in its subdivided mailboxes have the *.eml extension. These files can be readily opened within Outlook Express or by Outlook Express even when the application is not in use.
Email Files in the Archives
Outlook Express also stores messages in its archives, which are within the hard drive of the user's computer. These files commonly have either a .dbx or a .mbx extension. These files are not readable within Outlook Express nor can they be opened by Outlook Express. However, a commercial product such as Mail Navigator can easily open these files, as well as export them back into Outlook Express in a form that can be read by the application.
Address Book Files
In composing or receiving messages, Outlook Express compiles a list of email addresses that it stores as a contacts list. These files are also included in the address book, which can be sorted and categorized into systematic mailing lists. The address book can also be exported and stored as a file on the user's hard drive, with the extension .wab, or as a file with the .csv (comma separated values) extension, which can be opened within Microsoft Excel.
Internet News Files
Outlook Express can also be used to post messages to news groups. News group messages can also be downloaded from the server through Outlook Express to be read offline. These messages can also be stored on the user's hard drive with the file extension *.nws.These files can also be opened and read within Outlook Express in the same manner as email files.
Outlook Express is not a mail service in and of itself; it is a mail client that can be used to retrieve mail from a number of mail services. Because it can be used to download and store files on a user's hard drive, Outlook Express files can be a potential source of trojans and viruses that are introduced through email and subsequently infect the user's computer. Additionally, malware can be disguised to mimic Outlook Express files, especially the more readily accessible *.eml files.
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