Preview pane in Outlook Express

I’ve heard that you can get viruses just by opening an e-mail without downloading anything. I’ve also heard that when you get spam, the person sending the spam can tell if you read the message and for how long you kept it open.

Is reading those types of e-mails in the preview pane only, a way to get around both of these potential problems?

I don’t know about OE, but in regular Outlook, highlight your inbox, then got the view menu, then select the preview pane option. The preview window should disappear. OE may be similar.

Yes. The preview pane essentially opens the message for you; in some cases, it will open an attachment for you - especially HTML attachments which may have embedded activex components or other malicious code.

And yes, the preview pane, because it opens the message, will notify the sender that you’ve read the message, if there is an embedded ‘web bug’ image or other resource - the way this works is that all of the emails are sent out with uniquely-named image links; the images don’t even have to actually exist - as long as you open the message (or the preview pane does it for you), your machine requests the image from the sender’s server and they know that someone tried to read the message.

Yes, there’s a way to stop it doing this; turn off the preview pane (I’m guessing that won’t be the solution you’re looking for though).