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Avoiding viruses which don't even need you to open an attachment

The ability to send "cool" e-mails using what is referred to as "html" aimed to popularise the Microsoft e-mail products. Now the world's Internet super highway is under threat from the design shortcomings of the Microsoft product line.

If you have not enabled the "View as Plain Text only" feature in MSIE v6 and you have the Outlook Preview pane enabled then you are exposed to writers of both Spam and Worms which have been so dramatically described in the press during 2004.

The preview pane is an oblong box containing the top of each message which changes as you move through the items in your OnBox. It is normally located immediately beneath the list of items in your InBox - see bottom right of image to right.

The problem is that previewing an e-mail is identical to viewing it even if you only view it for a fraction of a second. Viewing a "rogue" html Mail item allows it to do many things of which the most benign is to let the sender know that you have received their e-mail. The nastier e-mail (worms as they are called) attempt to install software which secretly capture your keyboard usage when you are logging into your online bank! - very nasty. This makes total erasure of your hard drive relatively polite!

To make Outlook cease to display (and therefore auto-open) mail in your InBox (note that all mouse clicks are single clicks using the left button unless specified otherwise):

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Click on "View"
  3. then click on "Layout..." to get the window you see below:
  4. DESelect the "Show preview pane" checkbox.
  5. Click on OK.

    Note that you may find it useful to include more columns of information about each e-mail in your InBox prior to opening them. (see Outlook Col. Views for instructions)

    I hope that has been useful. Any Comments, suggestions or corrections to: Contact us please. This would be especially useful if the software environment you have is different to mine and the headinds, text or prompts are different.

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14Jan16: not 0 or 0 !