You are here: Home / Computer / Internet / Auto Reply Outlook Express

Out of office reply outlook express or windows (Live) mail

Below you will find instructions for the newbie or the novice on how to set up an automatic "Out of Office" email auto reply or a "On Vacation" auto response if you use Window's Outlook Express or the newer Window's Mail and Windows Live Mail as your email client in a POP3 account.

These instructions are fairly simple, and quasi identical for Outlook Express and Windows Mail.

Windows Mail is an improved email program which came with Windows Vista , and Windows Live Mail with Windows 7. They added a junk e-mail filter, as well as protection against phishing messages. It must be said that Microsoft does not support Outlook Express anymore, and it is preferable to switch to Winbdows Live Mail.

Your computer must be on and connected to the internet and Outlook Express must also stay on for the auto-reply to work.

Consequently, this method will only run with an internet service that is always connected such as a Cable or ADSL connection.


1. Creating the reply message using notepad or wordpad

Left clickwindows start button left click Accessories and open Notepad or Wordpad.

Windows notepad or wordpad

Type your message. Here is an example on Wordpad.

Wordpad reply message

At the top of Wordpad, select File, and then Save As , and select text document.

The Worpad example was shown because it involves an extra step. If you choose to write your message on the Notepad instead, it will automatically "save as" a text document (*.txt)

Save message as a text file

In the above example I have saved the reply text on the desktop, and in the "File name" field, I named it "Out of Office reply". You can also choose to keep it elsewhere, like in My Documents.

If you wish to change the reply message every once in a while, just open the message and make the changes to the content, and then save it in the same location.

2. Creating the automatic reply rule

Open Outlook Express and select Tools Message Rules Mail

Outlook Express Mail Rules

You will see this window

Outlook Express new mail rule

In part 1 (Select the conditions for your rule) , you have different choices. We checked Where the To line contains people, and also where the Cc line contains people. You will notice that the very next line actually combines these selections. At the bottom of part 1, you will also find a selection called: For all messages. This will reply to every single email arriving to your address.

In part 2 (Select the actions for your rule), check Reply with message.

In part 3 (Rule Description) you will give Outlook Express the exact instructions, by left clickon the underlined messages, in our case, contains people, and message.

Contains people:

Type your (one or more if you have more than one) email address(es), and press Add

Type your email address

Once Add is pushed, your address will go down into the people section, and as mentioned above, for several addresses, just repeat the process.

Email address in outlook express


Select the outlook express reply message

If you saved your reply message in a different area, select it.

Just remember to select Text (*.txt) beside Files of Type at the bottom of the window

In part 4 (Name of the Rule), you can give the rule a name that will be relevant to you.


3. Turning the Out of Office Rule on and off

As in step 2, Open Outlook Express and select Tools Message Rules Mail

Outlook express mail rules

And check or uncheck your auto reply message.

How to turn on and off the auto-reply in outlook express



4. Lastly, outlook express has to be set to check mail periodically

Select Options under the tool tab

Outlook express options selection

This will open the next window. Normally outlook express is set up by default to check messages on the server every 30 minutes.

Outlook express options window

That is all there is to it.


5. Spam considerations

Unfortunately, in today's world, email spam is a reality that we have to deal with.

With this in mind, every time you answer a spam email, you are indicating to the spamer that he has found a valid email address, in this instance yours. Outlook Express does not have the same amount of options that Outlook has, however there is a way to limit the replies by creating a list of people to reply to:

Outlook express contains people rule

Once you click on "Contains people" in part 3. Rule Description, you will be able to enter the email addresses to which you wish to reply.