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I recently followed the Microsoft Office Online Help instructions for customizing menus to add the News command to my Office Outlook 2003 Go menu. The task was successful, and I could start Outlook Express's newsreader from Outlook's newly added News command. However, after Outlook Express started, the News command disappeared from the Outlook Go menu.

In an attempt to determine what was causing the problem, I moved to another system and repeated my actions. This time the newly added News command didn't disappear from the Go menu, but when I clicked News, Outlook Express's newsreader didn't launch--instead, Windows Explorer launched and opened the C:\program files\common files\system\msmapi\1033 folder. To remove the News command from the Go menu, I selected Tools, Customize, Commands, Rearrange Commands and reset the Go menu. On both systems, I again tried to add the News command to the Go menu. I selected Tools, Customize, Commands, but the News command didn't appear in the list of available commands for the Go category.

I soon discovered that the problem stemmed from how I specified my default news client. When you open News from Outlook, Outlook Express launches and asks whether you want to make Outlook News your default news client--I had clicked Yes. When you open Outlook Express from the Start menu, the program asks whether you want to make Outlook Express your default news client--I had clicked No. However, for the News option to work in Outlook, you must specify Outlook Express rather than Outlook News as your default news client.

To solve the problem, I started Outlook Express independently (i.e., not from Outlook). On the menu bar, I selected Tools, Options and clicked the General tab. In the Default Messaging Programs section, I clicked Make Default next to the text This application is NOT the default News handler. Outlook Express was then enabled as the default news client. Next, I re-added the News command to Outlook's Go menu. When Outlook launched and asked whether I wanted to make Outlook News my default news client, I clicked No. Afterwards, Outlook's News command worked.