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Change Unread Mail Settings On Welcome Screen

By: Arie Slob

Windows XP by default will show you any unread mail you have in your email program on the Welcome screen.

Change Picture on the Welcome Screen & Start Menu


Now, there are some quirks with this feature:

  • Currently only Outlook & Outlook Express are capable of updating the unread mail "count" on the Welcome Screen.
  • If you have multiple email accounts, this feature will "break", meaning no unread mail count will be displayed. It's a matter of debate if this happens as soon as you have 2 email accounts, or if you have 3 or more. For me it "breaks" as soon as I add a 2nd account.

If you don't want to show unread mail on the Welcome screen, follow these instructions:

  1. Start the Registry Editor
  2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ UnreadMail
  3. Double-click the value MessageExpiryDays in the right pane, and change the value to 0 (if MessageExpiryDays doesn't exist, create it by clicking Edit > New > DWORD Value)
  4. Close the registry editor and log off from Windows for the changes to take effect

As you can probably guess from the MessageExpiryDays name of the value, it controls the number of days when new (unread) email will be considered read. So even if a message remains unread in your email program, after the number of days given in MessageExpiryDays have passed, the email won't be counted as unread (it will be considered "read") on the Welcome screen.

This is one of the functions performed by:


Tweaking Toolbox XP