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Window Manager
Brian Livingston
Outlook Express' spell check fixes; rich-text replies; and stronger Internet protection

READER JON BONDY found an interesting behavior in Microsoft's Outlook Express e-mail client. This is something that could affect quite a number of Windows users.

"I purchased FrontPage 2000 and installed it," writes Bondy. "Along the way Internet Explorer 5.0 (IE), Outlook Express (OE), and all the rest were also installed. Fine: no big deal. I also installed Microsoft's Personal Web Server (PWS), which never worked properly.

"I decided to remove FrontPage 2000 and PWS. When I had removed them, IE 5.0 was still there, as was the latest Outlook Express.

"Here's the bug. Outlook Express lost the ability to do spelling checks. There was a message that an error had occurred, or that the spelling check had failed. There was no indication as to what really was going on."

A representative (who asked not to be identified) from Microsoft's public relations company, Waggener Edstrom, said:

"Outlook Express 5 doesn't include spell checking capability, it is dependent on another application (such as Office) to install it. If you have OE 5 installed without any spell checking components, the 'Check Spelling' command will be unavailable (greyed out). Installing FrontPage enables the command."

Find information on OE spell checking at Select "Specific article ID number" and search for Q178238, and then Q224176.

Meanwhile, Jon Bondy has an easy workaround. "I re-installed FrontPage 2000, this time only selecting the spelling checker, and Outlook Express started doing spelling checks properly."

More fixes for Outlook Express

While we're on the subject of OE, reader Manjit Singh sent in a new tip.

This relates to my Sept. 27 item about typing your own comments within a reply. Let's say you've set OE 5 to include the text of the message you're replying to, and to indent it with a vertical bar or other character. Let's say you've also set OE to reply in the same format in which the message was sent to you. If so, interspersing your reply HTML message makes your comments look like part of the original message, which is not very clear.

I said to insert a line, click the Paragraph Style button on OE 5's toolbar, and then click Normal. This makes your typed material look like a new comment.

Reader Singh points out an easier way, with one less click. "Create a blank line (the vertical bar will still be there) and click on the Left Indent icon (next to the bullet icon). This will eliminate the vertical bar and the formatting will look correct."

Update your BlackICE Defender

I wrote about BlackICE Defender in my Nov. 1 column. This is a $39.95 software product that provides a high level of hacker protection for Windows users who access the Internet through cable modems or Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL). The product is available from

That column was part of a four-week series on security problems that Windows users face from intruders who can log on to their PCs from the Internet. Thanks to readers who sent mail about the problem and suggestions to cure Windows' security holes. I'd particularly like to thank former InfoWorld columnist Steve Gibson, for reporting a hole in BlackICE Defender and recommending a fix.

Robert Graham of Network Ice, the company that makes BlackICE Defender, says a patch will be available by the time you read this. The hole is that, if Windows shuts down abnormally, BlackICE Defender disables itself for about the first 15 minutes after you re-boot a delay that lets you remove BlackICE Defender in case it caused the crash. The user gets no warning about the lapse in protection.

Gibson says the easiest way to get the patch is to double-click the BlackICE Defender icon in Windows' system tray. Then open the Control menu by right-clicking the upper-left icon. Finally, select "BlackICE Utilities," then "Download BlackICE Update."

Keep those tips coming. Readers Bondy and Singh will receive free copies of More Windows 98 Secrets.



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