How to Safely Delete Suspicious E-mails

Dear Computer Lady,

I read your newsletter each week, like some folk do the Bible. I’m a “Newbie” at this game of computers and do not fully understand the e-mail system in Outlook Express. I save your column every week for references. But I’m stymied when I receive e-mail from someone I don’t know and to be honest I’m scared to open them because they might contain viruses.

Is there some way to highlight the “strange” e-mail without it popping open and possibly contaminating my system. This way I can contain it, right click on my mouse and hit delete. Thanks for the educational newsletter you publish to us folk out here.


Dear Bill,

There are a couple of things you can do.

First, check with your ISP and see if they offer any filtering for your e-mail. My ISP has this type of filter and I never get any infected e-mails from my e-mail account.

Second, make sure you have a good antivirus program installed and make sure you keep it updated! I use the free antivirus program, AVG and it has prevented my system from becoming infected with any viruses. In fact, most of the time, it removes the virus from the e-mail message before it allows me
to read the e-mail. You can find a link to AVG on my website at

The final thing you can do, is turn off the auto preview in Outlook Express. You can do this by clicking on “View” then on “Layout”. You will see the “Window Layout Properties” dialog. In the bottom half of the window, there is a section for “Preview Pane”. Just remove the check mark in front of “Show preview pane” and click “OK”. Now, you will have to double click on your messages to open them.



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