In supporting Outlook or Outlook Express users, you've probably walked more than one user through the process of resetting a forgotten password. You may have even had users configure Outlook or Outlook Express to save their passwords. But what do you do if the passwords fail to be saved? Here's the story of how one TechRepublic member solved this problem with a quick registry tweak.
The following article suggests ways to edit your system registry. Using the Windows Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that can require you to reinstall your operating system and could result in data loss. TechRepublic does not and will not support problems that arise from making edits to your registry. Use the Registry Editor and the following directions at your own risk.
TechRepublic member Deasey recently submitted his Outlook password problem to our Technical Q&A. "The Outlook Express and Outlook 2000 passwords are not stored even though the store checkbox is checked," Deasey wrote, "I have uninstalled/reinstalled everything so far except Win2K….Can anyone suggest any registry settings to check?"
Deasey uses Outlook 2000 for Internet mail and does not connect to an Exchange server. The password in question is the Incoming Mail Server password located under the Servers tab of the Mail Account Properties window (see Figure A).
Deasey enters the password, checks the Remember Password box, clicks Apply, and then clicks OK to close the windows. However, when he reopens the Mail Account Properties window, the password is gone. The same thing happens in Outlook Express.
Protected Storage System Provider problems
TimTheToolMan recommends a quick visit to Microsoft's Knowledge Base. After a brief search for relevant information, the troubled user found the necessary information. Deasey wrote, “I solved the problem using [Knowledge Base article number] Q264672—OLEXP: Your Outlook Express Password Is Not Retained in Windows 2000 or XP.”
According to this article, this problem occurs when, "the registry contains incorrect information for the Protected Storage System Provider registry subkey for your account." The Q264672 article outlines the necessary steps to correct this error, which entails removing the user account information and then reentering the password. A user with Administrator rights must perform this process.
Remove the current user account information
To remove the User Account Information, open Regedt32, and then locate and click the following registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Protected Storage System Provider
Choose Permissions on the Security menu and click the registry key for the currently logged on user. Ensure that Read and Full Control are both set to Allow. Next, click the Advanced button. Once again, ensure that the currently logged on user is selected, and make sure that Full Control is listed in the Permissions column and that This Key And Subkeys is listed in the Apply To column. Find the Reset Permissions On All Child Objects And Enable Propagation Of Inheritable Permissions check box and click it. To finalize the changes, click OK.
Double-click the Protected Storage System Provider key, click the user subkey folder directly under the Protected Storage System Provider key (see Figure B), click Delete on the Edit menu, and then click Yes in the warning message dialog box.
This must be done for each Windows identity, because they each possess a subkey under Protected Storage System Provider.
Finally, exit the registry and restart the computer. This registry edit will work for machines running Windows 2000. The process is similar for Windows XP, and Knowledge Base article Q264672 offers detailed XP instructions.
Reenter the password
The second phase of this solution involves reentering your password. Open the Windows Control Panel and select Mail or Mail And Fax. Click Internet E-mail and choose Properties. Then, click the Server tab, type your password in the corresponding location, and select Remember Password. Click OK and Close to finish the process. When you reopen the Mail Account Properties window, the password should still be there.
What advice do you give end users for remembering passwords? Does your organization use a password management application to track end-user passwords? Post a comment to this article and share your opinion.