SSL Encryption for Outlook 2002 and 2003

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With Microsoft Outlook 2002 and Outlook 2003, it's possible to use secure SSL connections for added security. Doing so ensures that if another person somehow has the ability to eavesdrop on your Internet connections, that person won't be able to view your password or the contents of your email.

This page assumes that you have already followed the basic instructions to set up Outlook 2002 or Outlook 2003.

Before you continue, you should enter your email address (the address you want to set up in Microsoft Outlook) in the box above. Entering your email address makes sure that the instructions below are correct.

Enabling secure SSL connections

To enable secure SSL connections, you will:

  • Open the Advanced settings window for your mail account
  • Turn on both "This server requires a secure connection (SSL)" checkboxes
  • Change the "Outgoing server (SMTP)" port number to 465

1. Start the Microsoft Outlook program.

You can use the Start menu to start Outlook. When it opens, click Tools, then E-Mail Accounts from the menu bar:

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2. The "E-mail Accounts" window appears.

Choose View or change existing email accounts, then click Next.

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3. Open the settings window.

Highlight the account you want to change, then click Change to open the settings window.

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4. The "Internet E-Mail Settings (POP3)" screen appears.

The screen should already look like this:

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5. Open the Advanced settings screen.

Click the "More Settings" button, then choose the "Advanced" tab.

In the "Advanced" tab:

  • Check both boxes marked This server requires a secure connection (SSL)
  • Make sure that the "Incoming Server (POP3)" port number is 995
  • Change the "Outgoing Server (SMTP)" port number to 465
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6. Click OK to close the "Internet E-mail Settings" window.

After you close the "Internet E-mail Settings" window, the "Internet E-mail Settings (POP3)" screen will still be visible.

7. Test the settings.

Click Test Account Settings. Outlook should tell you that "all tests completed successfully". Close the "Test Account Settings" window.

8. Finish the setup.

Click Next, then Finish.

Outlook setup for secure SSL connections is complete

You're finished! Try sending yourself a test email message to make sure it works.

(For advanced users: you can check that your messages are actually being encrypted by viewing the headers of the test message and looking for text that says something similar to "using TLSv1" in one of the "Received" lines.)

Troubleshooting secure SSL connection problems

We've occasionally heard reports of computers where normal Outlook email works properly, but secure SSL connections do not work. This appears to be a problem with Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Windows on those computers (two possible causes are mentioned in Microsoft Knowledge Base articles 315049 and 304008).

If you have trouble after turning on secure SSL connections, try turning it off again to see if that solves the problem:

  • Open the Advanced settings screen, using the instructions above
  • Uncheck both boxes marked This server requires a secure connection (SSL)
  • Change the "Outgoing Server (SMTP)" port number back to 587

If this fixes the problem, then either Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Windows is not working correctly on your computer. It may be possible to solve the problem by deleting the email account completely in Outlook and creating a new one — but if that doesn't help, there isn't much you can do, unfortunately, short of reinstalling Outlook or Windows.