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Updates to oeclassic.com web site security

Sep 22nd, 2017

As we moved to a better and modern web server which hosts this web site, we discovered that the contact form within the program has stopped working on Windows XP and older. This happens because Internet Explorer 8 (or older) on Windows XP does not support secure connections required by the web site.

This is not a problem for Internet Explorer 9 and Windows Vista and anything more recent than that so this is not a problem for Windows 7, 8 or 10. Therefore, we will likely not be fixing this problem. Windows XP is simply too old and you cannot fix things forever - everyone else already abandoned it. Checking for updates still works as that does not use secure connection to the web site (it is not required).

The reason why this doesn't work is because Windows XP does not support modern encryption (longer and more secure ciphers) which are now used by our new web site, so we decided to stop support for program built-in contact form for Windows XP in favor of users who already use more recent versions of Windows to provide them with more secure experience. It is not a good decision to leave 97% of our users with weaker encryption because the other 3% just don't want to upgrade from Windows XP. As protection of user's privacy is one of our guidelines and server can only use one encryption, we have to take side and we choose modern encryption. Once again, this does not affect Windows 7, 8 and 10 users at all. They will see no difference.

Users who still wish to run OE Classic on Windows XP can continue to do so, the program will still work, except for the contact form which is tied into the web site. They can still contact us using web page using some other web browser than Internet Explorer (also note that Chrome and Firefox web browser developers have also stopped support Windows XP and Vista for a good while now).

Once again, we urge you to upgrade from this obsolete and insecure version of Windows to something more recent (Windows 7, 8 or 10) - if you haven't already done so. We wrote a good number of times how insecure Windows XP and Vista are by modern standards.

OE Classic 2.7 released!

Jul 19th, 2017

This update brings so many great new additions to OE Classic. In fact, there are so many that text description won't do! So - we prepared quite a few screenshots for you - take a look:

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OE Classic has brand new icon set - the icons are optimized for pixel-perfect display and are crisp-clear even in smallest sizes such as 16x16

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Broken stationery is now shown properly which increases compatibility with existing Outlook Express stationery

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Each toolbar can now be customized

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This toolbar button makes it very easy to switch identities either by clicking it, or by using the drop-down menu

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OE Classic can now put contacts you reply to into address book automatically and there is even an override option if you want to avoid this for some contacts - and you can even reverse this - uncheck the option but manually add some contacts using the menu checkbox

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Message editor now fully supports plain text messages in addition to HTML messages

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More information about attachments - file size and properties

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Very easy way to zoom-in messages with tiny letters - zoom is saved as well

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New Read options - Font for incoming plain-text messages and default HTML zoom for other messages

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New Compose options - Font selection for HTML and plain-text messages (including font attributes like bold, color, etc.), requesting read receipt for all messages and automatically putting contacts into address book when replying

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New Send options - Options for controlling message format (HTML or Plain-text) and returning requested read receipts

But all the above is just scratching the surface of this update - there is a lot more under the hood. Entire list of changes follows.

New features
  • Completely rewritten From/To/Cc/Bcc list parser to support name comments (some mailing lists and newsgroups use comments instead of name) and fix some parser bugs
  • Support for importing UTF-16 IAF files (generated by Windows Mail or Windows Live Mail)
  • Many icon improvements, especially for small sizes (16x16)
  • Toolbar Customize added in View menu and popup (right click) menu in Main Window, Message Viewer, Message Editor, Address Book
  • Added Next Unread Message and Identities toolbar buttons
  • Additional default attributes for message editor font - color, bold, italic and underline
  • Composing Plain Text email messages and HTML to Plain Text (and back) conversion in Message Editor
  • New message template format which allows plain-text templates in addition to HTML templates (existing templates were updated)
  • Dual format signatures (uses plain-text signature if message is in plain text format and HTML signature if message is in HTML format)
  • Layout options were redesigned to offer full Toolbar customization using the new Toolbar Editor
  • Compose options Plain text font choice (not reflected in the sent message, as plain text messages don't have formatting)
  • New Send options with default compose format and if reply message will use same format as incoming message
  • New Read options - Font size for plain text messages, HTML zoom
  • Enhanced status bar in message viewer - zoom level and message type
  • Zoom In/Out and Zoom percentage in Main Window View menu
  • Popup menu with Load/Save/Copy/Paste/Select All in Message Rules - Add Condition (for text conditions)
  • Option to automatically add sender to address book when replying and an override option (in Message Editor) when auto-save is not needed
  • Optional sending read receipts to senders who request it (message disposition notification)
  • Option to request a read receipt for all sent messages (Compose options)
  • Options for returning requested read receipts to sender - Notify for each request / Never send (Send options)
  • Accessibility improvements for Account Wizard, Options
  • Program now communicates with web site using encrypted (HTTPS) connection (e.g. when using contact form or downloading update) - this may require Windows XP users to enable support for TLS 1.0 in Internet Explorer settings (already enabled in more recent Windows versions)
  • Warning if closing the program is attempted while there are still opened message editor windows
  • Improved text to HTML conversion to preserve multiple spaces/tabs (Insert text from file, Reply/Forward to plain-text messages, Insert plain-text signature)
  • Attachment file size shown after the file name and attachment Properties in right click menu (Message Editor)
  • Multiple Received dates shown in Message Properties and highlighting if date differs too much from Sent date
  • Added F5 as secondary shortcut for Send/Receive
  • Faster deletion of folders/newsgroups

Bug fixes
  • HTML stationery no longer includes repeated attachments at the bottom of the message
  • High DPI support in Message Editor (small button toolbar)
  • Message Editor no longer breaks HTML while switching from Source to Edit due to spaces being added at word wrap points
  • Blurry and uncentered high DPI text labels in Options fixed
  • Reinstalling the program could cause error and failure to start the program due to bug in uninstall script
  • Auto-select of subject line text is disabled for replies and forwards
  • Improved detection if attachments should be shown inline or not to prevent unresponsiveness
  • Updated SSL/TLS libraries with the latest bug/security fixes (v1.0.2l)
  • Updated built-in SQLite with the latest bug fixes (v3.19.3.0)

Brand new message decoder/encoder!

Jul 7th, 2017

Wow! There is no other word for what we're about to announce!

For the last few years OE Classic depended on third party message decoder/encoder which worked OK, but always had certain annoying misbehavior as well as lack of flexibility in message decoding and bugs which were never fixed. For example, some messages were decoded improperly and there was no ability to user-customize them, such as user-selection of code-page so the incorrectly shown characters would be decoded properly for misbehaving messages. It was not very fast either and it offered no ability to skip decoding of unnecessary email items or decode them when they are really needed (on demand).

On top of that, some of these components are also very expensive - some of them cost a few thousand USD (per year!). Although we would happily pay for that, assuming they worked per our specification. But they did not.

Lacking control over the code and after years of asking (read: almost begging) for developers to fix these and other issues or at least make it more flexible, we finally got tired of all that and promised ourselves that we won't cause our users to suffer because of the lack of their understanding of what message decoder really needs to do.

So we decided to roll our own message decoder/encoder. It took about 2 weeks so far but the work done is just AMAZING. Over 2 times faster than the current one when decoding and over 3 times faster when encoding a message. Full flexibility to finally fix all the misbehaving messages which surfaced over the years. Ability to give user choice of code-page and much better auto-detection when code-page is not properly specified. And also, much faster evaluation of the message to determine if decoding is really needed or not.

The end result of this is that the operations related to message decoding (which is opening or downloading of any message) will be significantly faster and this will give users really great experience. It is highly addictive to get used to this speed - once we got used we didn't want to go back to the old one, but there is some more work to be done with regard to testing before we can roll it out to the public as we want it to be made with the same highest standards our users have come to expect from us over the years.

This means it has already passed through millions of auto-generated messages to test for any possible failures with zero errors. It also went though a few gigabytes of our test store folder.

This is big change although it won't be as visible as some other features - but this one literally will be experienced by every user of the program because 100% of the messages will be passing through this decoder/encoder so it is the core of the program. It is of utmost importance for this to be fastest and top quality piece of programming and any compromise with it just wasn't an option.

There is still some work to be done and we will be rolling it out gradually, but do expect a great decoding accuracy as well as speed improvement from it once it is merged into the main program!

TLS 1.2 setting

Jun 4th, 2017

It appears that AT&T / Yahoo based email addresses might have occasional issues with TLS 1.0. So, if you use any email address ending with @sbcglobal.net, @att.net, @yahoo.com and the like, try using TLS 1.2 in Expert account properties - which might behave more stable than TLS 1.0 with these addresses. If it doesn't work you can always revert back to TLS 1.0. TLS 1.2 is more secure and more future-proof and in this case might cause more reliable connection to the server. But it does not work for all servers, only those which support it.

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TLS 1.2 setting offers better security but does not work for all email servers.

WannaCry attack on Windows XP

May 15th, 2017

Have you heard of WannaCry, the latest ransomware attack on Windows XP, exploiting the EternalBlue vulnerability and leaving users of Windows XP with encrypted files with option to either pay the ransom (not recommended) or permanently lose the files (if they have no backup)?

Sadly, many have not and still continue to use Windows XP in spite of our warnings that the support for it has ended in 2014, leaving it open to any malware released afterwards. Maybe Windows XP (and Outlook Express) used to be good, but it is time to move on and continuing to use it is just a terrible idea (from the security standpoint).

Don't forget that OE Classic works on more recent Windows such as Windows 7 or Windows 10 just as good as it does on Windows XP - in fact, it works better due to built in features of Windows 10 it utilizes.

OE Classic 2.6 released (search contacts, views)

Dec 7th, 2016

New version offers you some great new tools - let us present you the most interesting ones:

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Search box offers selection what to do with the results

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Current View menu offers to hide read messages

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Left to right and right to left document types are supported

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Error messages are more clear and offer tips how to fix them

Entire list of changes follows.

New features
  • Permanently delete messages or folders by pressing Shift+Del keys, without moving to Deleted Items, it can also delete damaged messages which cannot be deleted using regular delete
  • Added search box in Address Book with selection what to do with the results (filter them, select all or select only first result)
  • Added search box in To/Cc/Bcc contact selection window
  • Support for right-to-left scripts (such as Arabic or Hebrew) in the message editor
  • Message-list views with Show All Messages and Hide Read Messages (View/Current View menu)
  • Shows tooltip when user hovers mouse over the message/folder/contact list and title is wider than available column width
  • Bcc list and Watch/Flag are now shown in message viewer window (if present)
  • If message in MBX file cannot be read (e.g. if file is damaged), the error message is conveniently shown in preview pane or message viewer window

Bug fixes
  • Workaround for some malformed types of messages to display them correctly
  • Quickly clicking Delete button (or pressing CTRL+D shortcut) in viewer window produced an error
  • Opening newsgroup message or range of messages which have not been downloaded yet in message viewer produced an error
  • Clicking contact Properties in Address Book was not working until a contact was clicked
  • Clicking blocked content bar to load blocked images removed visible embedded images from the message
  • Updated SSL/TLS libraries with the latest bug/security fixes (v1.0.2j)
  • Updated built-in SQLite with the latest bug fixes (v3.14.2.0)

Smaller DB file size in version 2.6

Oct 8th, 2016

Due to new SQLite database default page size increase from 1024 to 4096 bytes, we wanted to do a test how this would affect OE Classic folder .db files, such as Inbox.db.

Initially, when a folder is created, it makes a slightly larger file - 12 KB compared to the old size of 5 KB. But, as soon as the folder starts to fill up with messages these differences begin shifting in favor of the new (and larger page size) database format.

After moving 16,218 test messages into old and new folder format and comparing file size, the new format was over 50% smaller. More precisely, in our test case, new Inbox.db file was 11.7 MB and the old format used 23 MB. The MBX file was the same size, as it still uses the same format. So definitely a win for the new format as it uses less disk space, except initially when the files are small anyway. Also, with the increased page size it should also perform slightly faster as well (even though, we did not measure a significant difference).

To utilize this new page size format all you need to do is to update to version 2.6 (currently beta) which uses it automatically. Any newly created folder will use new page size which generates smaller database files.

Also, worth mentioning is that except the file size change this doesn't affect older folder files - they will continue to work just fine in this new version as well and no database format update is needed for now.

OE Classic 2.52 released (improved editor)

Oct 4th, 2016

This version mostly improves message editor and fixes some bugs related to sending messages.

New features
  • View menu in message editor with 2 checkbox switches - All Headers (toggles Cc and Bcc fields), and Source Edit (toggles Edit/Source/Preview tabs)
  • Automatic expand/collapse of Cc and Bcc fields, depending on if they are filled or empty and if All Headers menu checkbox is unchecked
  • Show/Hide Cc/Bcc clickable label in message editor
  • Count of items in address book group properties
  • Default button in To/Cc/Bcc selection is highlighted in bold font
  • Notification if version is outdated when support form is started (only for stable versions)

Bug fixes
  • Folders inside Deleted Items could not be deleted
  • Fixed some controls DPI scaling issues (address book, address book selection, columns editor)
  • For new messages Message-ID and In-Reply-To headers were identical, which caused sending errors on some servers

Why you should upgrade regularly

Oct 1st, 2016

In our statistics we see that quite a few users are using old and no longer supported versions such as 1.9, 2.1, 2.31, 2.4 and so on. Many of these versions were released 2 or even 3 years ago.

Not updating for that long is really not a good idea. Here are a few good reasons why you should update:
  • New versions bring new features you requested.
  • They also improve existing features so they become faster, better and more stable.
  • Users ask questions about already implemented features and already fixed bugs. In such cases user-support time is wasted on problems which are already fixed. This is important reason for you (and us) to update.
  • New versions bring security improvements. Want the best protection against spam or viruses? Use the latest version.
  • Finally, if you don't update for too long, we may simply abandon old version file format and you may not be able to update. We keep compatibility with older formats for a long time, but not forever. It is not possible to make the program better and keep the old file format because some features depend on improved file format too.

We hope these will raise the awareness of the importance of updates. Don't ignore them - they are really important! We don't make the program bloated and introduce unnecessary features - we carefully evaluate what goes in. Lots of time is also spent to make it user-friendly and not just cram new features into it to make a mess.

So let me write this once more - update to the latest version. It is free and it will work better than the older one.

Keep in mind to use special upgrade procedure if using any version older than 2.32 (as described on download page).

In other news, we are testing IMAP support. It works already and internal builds can connect to a server and fetch messages. But there is a lot of work in tweaking it properly and adding it to the user-interface in a user friendly manner. We'll get there and we will keep you informed.

OE Classic 2.51 released (bug fixes)

Jul 20th, 2016

This version contains lots of smaller improvements and bug fixes.

New features
  • Message rules word lists are sorted alphabetically when added, automatically eliminate any duplicates and also allow multi-selection (for faster Remove)
  • Editing of already inserted Message Rules Conditions
  • Message rule Account condition uses default account as a starting selection
  • Message source editor does word wrapping instead of using long lines
  • Message rules windows can be resized
  • Email validator level can be adjusted in the new Advanced options
  • Folder delete is no longer permanent operation and can be reversed as deleted folder is only moved to Deleted Items folder
  • Nested folders are also deleted after deleting top-level folder
  • Empty Deleted Items option now also permanently removes all subfolders inside Deleted Items folder
  • More icon improvements

Bug fixes
  • Undo/Cut/Copy/Paste/Select All toolbar buttons and Edit menu items were greyed in message editor
  • Removed byte order mark from some messages causing improper display
  • Zero length words in message rules are no longer allowed
  • Message rule list Move Up/Move Down buttons did not select the item which was moved
  • Message rules were not checked for invalid/deleted folders - such rules now show meaningful error and they can be opened to change the folder to an existing one
  • Emails with frame/iframe content opened a new browser window - it is now blocked
  • Account ID was shown instead of the name in the message rules condition list
  • Switching between Edit/Source/Preview tabs in message editor caused message to be shown or sent incorrectly under specific circumstances
  • Multiple clicks on message compose Send button could generate 2 (or more) messages in Outbox
  • Message sending/saving is no longer allowed while the user is still editing source (user must switch back to Edit tab)
  • Visual HTML editing features were not disabled while source editing was active
  • Copy/Select All were not working in Preview tab of message editor
  • Message editor fonts are more consistent when replying to other messages (keeping selected font type/size)
  • After copy-pasting plain text in message editor, line breaks were not preserved as in original text file
  • Reply All no longer includes user's own emails as a recipient in To/Cc list
  • Change of focus to folders in main window after opening message in a new window no longer happens

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