ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Warning to anyone who still uses Outlook Express

Outlook Express hasn’t officially been around since Windows Vista was born but a lot of people are still using it on their ageing XP boxes.  The problem comes when these boxes finally give up the ghost and have to get replaced by something running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 which don’t support Outlook Express at all.

I had this exact scenario yesterday when setting up a new PC for a client.  Their old one had died an honourable death but the hard drive still contained their files, including emails.  It was when transferring these files across to the new system that I found out (by accident) that their emails were from Outlook Express and not Outlook as first thought.  This was a problem.

If your old system is still running then you can install Outlook on it and import the emails very easily but when you only have the email store to work with the import doesn’t work as Outlook can’t read directly from an Outlook Express email store.

Another way is to download Windows Live Mail onto your new system as part of the Windows Live Essentials package but there is one catch.  If your email provider (ie BT, Sky etc) happens to use imap instead of pop settings then you can’t import your Outlook Express emails into Windows Live Mail either as it doesn’t work. You guessed it my client uses Virgin who just happen to use imap so bugger!!

The solution I came up with to counter this was to install Mozilla Thunderbird which is an opensource email client which talks very happily with Outlook Express.  All you need to do is copy your Outlook Express email store to your new PC (or laptop) and import it into Thunderbird.  The import is very easy.

The best way though to overcome this problem is not to be on Outlook Express in the first place.  Either download Windows Live Mail onto your XP system (if no imap settings) or better still if you must have a Windows email client install Outlook and import your emails straight across.  Personally I like opensource software so I would go down the Thunderbird route but that is just my opinion.

At some point that ageing XP system is going to go to the big recycle bin in the sky so make sure that you are using the software you want to before then.

One final note, if you are still on XP please be aware that all security updates for it will cease on 8th April 2014 so it might be time to look for a new system anyway.

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Falkirk and Perth.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter



This is why I do backups

I went to a client last week who wanted me to set up a new laptop for them in a business environment.  When I turned up on site I was asked “while you are here could you also take a look at this other laptop that is having issues with emails”.  “No problem I will take a look at that first” I replied.

I sat down and opened up Outlook 2010 to be greeted with the message PST FILE IS MISSING and sure enough when I checked deeper it was nowhere to be seen!! I asked the client “has anyone taken off any files over the last week” and they replied “no it was all working until we sent it back to get the graphics replaced.  Since it has come back we have had this”.  It looks like that when the client sent the laptop back to the manufacturer to get the graphics replaced (laptop is one month old) somehow their pst file containing all their emails had been deleted.

Lucky for them I had installed a NAS Server in the office one month ago and configured all the laptops to back up all client files to it (inc their emails) and after checking sure enough their backed up pst file was there.

After creating a new profile and importing their pst file the client got their emails back.  It cost them 1 1/2 hours of my time but it could have been worse, much worse!!

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter



Send / Receive is very slow in Outlook 2007

Today I will discuss the send /receive function in Microsoft Outlook and in particular why it sometimes runs very slowly.  These suggestions have been tested on Microsoft Outlook 2007 but should also work on Outlook 2010.

1. Disable Outlook Add-ins you no longer use

You need to expand Tools – Trust Center and click the Add-ins tab. Uncheck any add-ins that you no longer use (e.g GoogleDesktop, iTunes etc).

2. Reduce the size of your Outlook personal pst file

Remove any deleted emails you might have and any emails in general you don’t want to keep (especially emails with large attachments).  Once you done this you need to compact the pst file by going to File – Data Management select the file you want to compact and click Compact.

3. Disable all RSS Feeds

Microsoft Outlook 2007 installs by default with a set of RSS Feeds.  If you are not using Outlook for RSS Feeds then it is best to disable them aotherwise resources will be wasted during synchronization.

4. Split your personal pst file

If you have a lot of email accounts coming into Outlook then you might want to consider splitting each email address into its own pst file. Instead of having one very large file you would then have lots of smaller files which would make synchronization much quicker.

If anyone can think of anything I have missed please let me know!!

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

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