Configure Outlook XP/2003/2007 to Prompt for a Password

Posted on January 7, 2009 by Daniel Petri in Exchange Server with 0 Comments

How can I configure Outlook XP/2003/2007 to prompt me for a password?

When using an Outlook client to connect to your Exchange mailbox you are getting a lot of information, some of it might be confidential, displayed on your computer screen. This type of information should be protected from viewing by other users. While using a username and password to protect your online identity is considered best practice, it is within the nature of the SSO (Single Sign On) method that Windows uses to allow the user unrestricted access to all the resources that they have permissions to, AFTER the user has logged on. Therefore, after the user logs on to their Windows client with their correct credentials, they will NOT be prompted to supply their credentials again within that session when accessing online resources.

Your mailbox is one of those resources.

So, we need to add some extra security in order to protect your mailbox from being accessed while you’re logged on to your computer but are not near it right now (i.e. took your lunch break, went to the printing room to pick your copies, or even took a quick restroom break).

One tested method of protecting your session from being used by another person is to safely lock your computer while you’re not near it, even for a second. Another method would be to log yourself off each time you were not near the computer.

But a more controlled approach for protecting your mailbox would be to ask Outlook XP/2003/2007 to prompt you for your credentials each time you opened it. This is not as safe as totally locking your workstation (see Important Note below), but it’s another means to stop others from looking at your mailbox while you ARE logged on.

In order to configure Outlook to always prompt you for your credentials before opening your mailbox perform the following steps:

  1. Start Outlook.
  2. From the Tools menu, select E-mail Accounts.
  3. Select the View or Change Existing E-mail Accounts option.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Select your Exchange server.

Note: If prompted, in the Password text box, type your password.

  1. Click the Change button.

In Outlook 2007 the screen will look different than in Outlook 2003, but the same steps apply:



  1. Click the More Settings button.
  2. Set your network security level:
  • In Outlook 2003:

Select the Security tab.

Place a check in the Always Prompt for User Name and Password check box.

  • In Outlook 2002:

Select the Advanced tab.

From the Logon Network Security drop down list select None.

  1. Click OK.
  2. Click Cancel.
  3. From the File menu, select Exit.

BTW, you can also perform the above steps by using the “Mail” applet in Control Panel.

Naturally, you need to close Outlook in order for it to prompt you whenever your mailbox is opened. Do NOT leave it running, and LOCK your workstation when you leave it, even for 30 seconds.

Important note: Please make sure you understand that this tip will not stop a malicious user that has gained access to your workstation and has logged on as you (or has gotten to use your computer while you were absent for a few minutes). A malicious user can easily go through the same steps as yourself (via the “Mail” applet in Control Panel) and un-check the password requirement checkbox! Always make sure you physically lock your computer and room, and always lock your workstation when leaving it unattended.

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