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Why Microsoft Outlook 2003 Sucks
Version 0.52

This article explains why users used to Outlook Express should NOT switch to Outlook 2003 and the frustrations you will have after performing a switch.

Can't do a "Find Next"

You have to do a Find All to retrieve all matching messages. Outlook Express finds the first instance of the message and opens the e-mail immediately in the preview pane. Simply hit F3 in Outlook Express to find the next message

If I need to find all messages, Outlook Express provides that option. In Outlook 2003, you are forced to use the Find All function which goes through the slow time consuming process of searching the whole folder.

Newsgroup Sent Posts are stored in a separate folder in Outlook 2003

All posts to newsgroups are sent through Outlook Express and which keeps the sent messages in its own DBX folders.

If you perform a search in the Outlook 2003 Sent Items folder, you will need to repeat it in the Outlook Express folders if your search needs to cover newsgroup postings too.

Opening a Message takes more time than in Outlook Express

I am sure you have noticed this. There is a noticeable lag when opening a message in Outlook 2003 in the preview pane.

This gets more and more noticeable as your PST (the Outlook database format) file grows.

Getting the headers of a message requires registry hack

If I need to submit the message to a spam reporter, Outlook 2003 provides no way to extract the full message source, you can only extract message headers on its own without the message itself. It requires a registry hack. With that hack, messages now take up to THREE times the original space required.

If you don't believe me, try sending a mail to yourself and compare the size difference of the received mail and the sent item mail size with the SaveAllMIMENotJustHeaders registry hack above.

All Newsgroup messages imported from Outlook Express Newsgroup Sent Items lose their 'To' field.

One of my greatest regrets. I lost all the To fields on messages imported from Outlook Express. When I tried to import back to Outlook Express, the To fields were all blank.

No One-Click button to disable Preview

A minor issue. Outlook Express allows you to enable/disable the preview by just clicking a button. You have to add the button to the Outlook Express toolbar for this to work.

No Easy Way to Edit HTML When Composing Mail

There are many ways around it. None easy.

No Integrated Newsgroup Reader

A common complaint ever since Microsoft Outlook was born. Till now, it uses Outlook Express for its news reader, storing all the sent posts in Outlook Express's folders.

What Rocks

  • Mail Notification with Preview
  • Find follow-ups to a particular mail (but it searches with subject, and some of my mails share the same subject line)
  • Customizability - Grid Lines, font, etc
  • Junk Mail Filter - Though I do not use it, I create rules manually that move mails to that folder
  • Simultaneously checking multiple e-mail accounts, Outlook Express performs one task at a time

Outlook 2003 is more for business executives who need to share calendars and keep track of their time.

Sooner or later, I think I would be downgrading to Outlook Express. Update: I have downgraded back to Outlook Express. Fortunately, Outlook Express was able to import back all my messages from Outlook 2003's PST files.

Last Updated 8th Nov 2006.

Errors? Omissions? Need Help? Know something? Post your queries in the comments below.

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