Email is a fast, cheap, convenient communication medium; these days, it’s almost embarrassing to admit that you don’t have an email address. To spare you that humiliation, Windows XP includes Outlook Express 6, a program that lets you receive and send email messages and read newsgroups (Internet bulletin boards). (Incidentally, don’t confuse Outlook Express with Outlook, a far bigger and more complex corporate email program that’s sold as part of the Microsoft Office software suite.)
Outlook Express doesn’t work with online services like America Online or Prodigy. Instead, you’re supposed to check and send your email using the software you got when you signed up for these services.
To use Outlook Express, you need several technical pieces of information: an email address, an email server address, and an Internet address for sending email. Your Internet service provider or your network administrator is supposed to provide all of these ingredients.
The first time you use Outlook Express (which you can open from the Start menu), the Internet Connection Wizard appears to help you plug in the necessary Internet addresses and codes that tell the program where to find your email.
If you used the New Connection Wizard (Section 9.3) to establish your Internet account, then your settings are probably already in place. In that case, you probably won’t see this Internet Connection Wizard; skip to the next section.
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