Subscribing to Newsgroups in Outlook Express

Microsoft gave Outlook a cousin named Outlook Express. The two programs do many of the same jobs, but each has its own specialty. The most important difference between Outlook and Outlook Express is that Outlook Express is free. The program is included with Internet Explorer as well as with certain releases of Windows, so if you have Outlook 2002, you also have Outlook Express.

The other difference between the two programs is that Outlook Express can read Internet newsgroups and Outlook can't. Internet newsgroups are collections of messages that anyone can read. After you read the messages in a newsgroup, you can reply to any message you read or post a whole new message of your own. To participate in a newsgroup, you need a special type of program called a newsreader — Outlook Express is just the tool for the job.

If you start hanging around in Internet newsgroups, you'll find that you spend a lot of time in a handful of groups, and you'll probably ignore the other tens of thousands of groups out there. Who has time to read 10,000 newsgroups, anyway?

You can get into your favorite newsgroups more quickly if you subscribe. Subscribing to a newsgroup is different from subscribing to a magazine. You don't pay a fee for subscribing to a newsgroup, and nobody needs to know you're reading a newsgroup unless you post messages to the group.

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Don't post your e-mail address to an Internet newsgroup. People who send junk e-mail often gather e-mail addresses from newsgroups. After the junk e-mailers (or spammers, in Internet jargon) get your address, your Inbox may become stuffed with so many junk e-mail messages that you won't be able to find the messages that you really want to see.

To subscribe to a newsgroup, follow these steps:

1. Choose View-->Go To-->News from the Outlook menu.

The Newsgroups screen in Outlook Express appears.

2. Click the name of a newsgroup to which you want to subscribe in the Newsgroups screen and then click the Subscribe button.

An icon appears next to the name of the group you selected to show that you've selected it, and the name of the newsgroup appears in the Folder List on the right side of the Outlook Express screen (see Figure 1).

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Figure 1: The Newsgroups to which you've subscribed appear in the Folders list.

From now on, whenever you start up Outlook Express by choosing View-->Go To-->News from the Outlook menu, the first thing you see is a list of the newsgroups to which you've subscribed. When you click the name of a newsgroup in the Folders list, the latest messages in that newsgroup appear.

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