How to Remove the Padlock Icon in Outlook Express

by Jason Artman
padlock image by kshishtof from

In email applications, a digital certificate is used as a form of identity verification. When you digitally sign an outgoing message, it allows the recipient to be reasonably certain that you are the one who sent it. When you set up Outlook Express to use a digital signature with encryption, a padlock icon is displayed at the top of the window when you compose a message. This means that the message is encrypted, and that the recipient can only read the message if they have a copy of your digital certificate. If you no longer wish to see the padlock icon in your messages or want to send a message to someone whose computer does not support encryption, remove this feature from Outlook Express.

Step 1

Click the "Tools" menu at the top of the Outlook Express window, then click "Options."

Step 2

Click the "Security" tab at the top of the "Options" window.

Step 3

Remove the check from the box labeled "Encrypt contents and attachments for all outgoing messages."

Step 4

Click "OK."

Click the "Create Mail" button at the top of the screen to begin composing a new message. The padlock icon is no longer displayed at the top of the message window.


  • A padlock icon on a message received from someone else indicates that the message is encrypted. To remove the encryption from a message that you receive in Outlook Express, ask the sender for their digital certificate or to remove the encryption from their outgoing messages.


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About the Author

Jason Artman has been a technical writer since entering the field in 1999 while attending Michigan State University. Artman has published numerous articles for various websites, covering a diverse array of computer-related topics including hardware, software, games and gadgets.

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