Removing Outlook and Outlook Express

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by Caine, Jan 14, 2006.

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  1. Caine

    Caine Registered Member

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    I got Thunderbird 1.5 up and running. It's idiot proof setting up (lucky for me!! :D ) and gave me the option of importing all the settings/mail/contacts from Outlook Express in one click after install.

    I wondered if it's possible (or even if it's necessary) to completely remove Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express from my pc? The reason I ask is because of the recent vunerability patched by MS: Security Update for Outlook 2000 (KB892842).

    Being MS products, are Outlook and OE embedded too closely to be removed (I'm thinking IE), and is it therefore necessary to just leave them unused on the machine and apply patches when necessary, or can I just use add/remove programs?
     
  2. Eldar

    Eldar Registered Member

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    Hi Caine,
    Never tried it, but since MS Outlook comes with MS Office,
    I think you could remove it. :) You'll need the Office disk IIRC.
    Never tried it though.

    On the other hand since you're already using Thunderbird, I find it unnecessary to remove those programs, since you're not even going to use it.
    Nor do you need to apply patches, if you stick with Thunderbird.
    Your choice. ;)

    BTW it's best to compress your mail in OE, prior to importing into Thunderbird.
    Otherwise you could end up seeing mail you previously deleted or moved. :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2006
  3. alglove

    alglove Registered Member

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    Outlook is simple enough to remove through Add/Remove Programs --> Microsoft Office. You will get an option to install/uninstall the individual components.

    For Outlook Express, go to Add/Remove Programs --> Add/Remove Windows Components (on the left side). I suspect this does not totally eliminate Outlook Express from the computer, but it is better than nothing. Go to the C:\Program Files\Outlook Express folder afterwards if you are really determined to break it!
     
  4. diginsight

    diginsight Security Expert

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    Outlook can be removed using the MS Office installer from Add/Remove Programs.

    Outlook Express is more difficult. Microsoft uses Outlook Express to install wininet.dll which provides the "Internet Extensions for Win32". For years I've worked with a hardened Windows 2000 system without Outlook Express and Open Office instead of MS Office. The problem with removing Outlook Express is that you have to leave wininet.dll intact or you're breaking stuff. The downside is that by removing Outlook Express, but keeping wininet.dll, you never are sure if wininet.dll gets updated whenever there's a vulnerability.

    To make life much more easier I've decided to leave Outlook Express on my system and servers and keep it updated.
     
  5. Caine

    Caine Registered Member

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    Thanks very much for the replies folks! :D

    This seems the safest option for the moment. I never used Outlook anyway even when OE was my only client. I'll just leave OE unused and apply patches with microsoft update when necessary.

    Hopefully this doesn't start too big a tangent, but re: sun's open office, I heard it mentioned before and considered replacing MSoffice. I assume I can dl and install a trial run and see how it works out before uninstalling MSoffice? Or is there some conflicts I need to beware of and uninstall it first?
     
  6. The only 'conflict' I noticed between MS Office 2000 and OpenOffice 1.0 is file association. If you install OpenOffice it asks you if you want to associate it with Office file extensions. I haven't tried this with MS Office 2003 and OpenOffice 2.x.
     
  7. Caine

    Caine Registered Member

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    I would just like to ask a follow up question here, more out of curiosity than necessity since I've decided to replace MSOffice anyway, but how do you remove Outlook from Office completely so that it's not just made unavailable for email while still remaining available to the current (and future) exploits that are unpatched?

    According to microsofts advice: OL2000: How to Uninstall Outlook from Office 2000
    Like I said I've decided to play it safe and given up on MS Office altogether, but for anyone else that has the same trouble, how do you completely remove ALL the program files safely without breaking necessary files and services?
     
  8. diginsight

    diginsight Security Expert

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    Why do you think Outlook (Express) is a security risk if you're not using it as your mail or newsgroup client?
     
  9. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    As far as I remember Outlook Express isn't so easy to uninstall.
    I think Paranoid2000 mentioned this once. You have to know how to do it.
    As already said, why remove it if you don't use it ? You can't remove MSIE either, if you use another browser.
    You can remove the icon, if that bothers you and that's what I did.
     
  10. Caine

    Caine Registered Member

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    As I said I never used Outlook so what difference does it make now it's been uninstalled along with the rest of MSOffice?

    And as for Outlook Express, I WAS taking your advice since it's too difficult to remove and leaving it as it is. I just removed the shortcuts(icons) so it requires some effort to open Outlook Express now.

    The reason is I'm not the only person with access to the pc. Better to just minimise the possibility someone will (out of habit) try and check the mail using Outlook, especially if I'm not about at the time to keep it patched.
     
  11. diginsight

    diginsight Security Expert

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    If you're using XP SP2 you can remove the shortcuts using the add/remove software and add/remove windows components.

    The removal procedure you followed in your previous post should be sufficient to stop other person from using it. They'll still need to configure a mail account before they can use it as a mail client.

    If you want to completely remove Outlook can consider two methods:
    • 219423 OFF2000: How to Completely Remove Microsoft Office CD1, which is very time consuming.
    • Completely uninstall Office 2000 and re-install without Outlook. You should still verify if this has the same results as using 219423.
     
  12. diginsight

    diginsight Security Expert

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    Uninstalling is relatively easy, but as I mentioned before wininet.dll comes with Outlook Express and you don't want to remove wininet.dll or leave vulnerabilities in wininet.dll unpatched.

    I've removed MSIE on Windows 2000, but once you remove mshtml.dll (IE html rendering engine) things start to break like HTML Help etc. With the improvements in Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 SP1 I no longer bother removing components as I did with Windows 2000. This doesn't imply SP2 is perfect ;)
     
  13. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I've read your previous remark, but I see it this way :

    As long M$ doesn't offer a pure MS Windows CD without their MS Applications, I consider MS Windows and its MS Applications as a whole package, where nothing can be removed without risks.
    That is most probably not entirely true, but my knowledge isn't there to do it without risks.

    As long there is no normal Add/Remove procedure to uninstall each MS Application, I keep them on my harddisk.
    I'm also not going to write any abnormal procedure down on paper in order to remove certain MS Applications without risks.
    Removing "MS Outlook Express" and not removing "wininet.dll" is an abnormal procedure.

    So I just ADD third party application softwares to replace MS Applications, but without removing them.
     
  14. diginsight

    diginsight Security Expert

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    This is the correct assumption, unless you like to work according to the following principles:
    If it ain't broken, break it.
    The only problem about troubleshooting is when the trouble shoots back.

    Breaking stuff in Windows is excellent if you want to learn how it works, but after a couple of years working with Windows 2000 Professional and Server my experience is that it haunts you in the most unexpected ways. See Client, service, and program incompatibilities that may occur when you modify security settings and user rights assignments for an impression of what you can break by changing default settings and how it can haunt you. I'll just stick with the most secure versions (XP SP2 , W2K3 SP1) and leave everything default, until I feel confident enough working with the products. That said, today we fixed a program (essential for our company) refusing to run, by disabling DEP on W2K3 SP1. This has to be implemented on our entire server farm. There goes my principle of not changing default settings :rolleyes: Maybe, we'll change it back after the software vendor has implemented a fix, but then we'll have to go through the entire testing process again testing 50 - 100 program with DEP enabled. The most practical solution will probably be to leave DEP disabled even after the vendor has fixed it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2006
  15. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    diginsight,
    Thanks for your last post, an interesting reading and at the same time a warning for me not to fool around too much with Windows. It wasn't my intention to do this anyway. :)
     
  16. basket96

    basket96 Registered Member

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    does nod32 scan email in thunderbird? it did not seem to do so in outlook express so I switched to outlook (which I HATE!!!) and want to use thunderbird. however, i noticed emails that came through on outlook express ...outlook with nod 32 picked up the virus. will that happen with t hunder bird? will it scan?
    thanks in advance
    ryan

    i run windows xp home edition
     
  17. Caine

    Caine Registered Member

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    I'm not an expert by any means basket, but any of the mail I have recieved from my ISP's mail server has the following message appended to the end of the mail:
    And either I've been bizarrely lucky in not having recieved ANY infected attachments since installing Thunderbird, or else Thunderbird combined with NOD32 is, in effect, the best mail solution. (imo anyway). I'll let the experts argue this point more properly though.
     
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