Thanks! I've been lurking here like forever, and this is the first thing I felt I could help with.
Thank you Estople for a marvellous first post. Modifying the registry key did the trick in persuading windows to reinstall Outlook Express properly. Somehow it also made Microsoft Outlook load now, without the CD... it just starts now.
Microsoft has not announced anything about KB897715, and I've seen it work OK on XP Home. My only problems with it have been on Win2K, and the symptoms were not as you've described. My OE problem was fixed with the method I outlined, but I learned enough along the way (including and Emergency Repair), that I knew it would solve yours, too. Outlook now working is a bonus, I had no idea that would happen.
Weird! Does Microsoft know about this? They mustn't because it's the only update still appearing in the "express microsoft update" scan. And to be honest, I've had these problems with the programs not loading WAY before that KB897715 appeared. I guess if you say so though, I'll ignore it.
Chances are that one or more of your prior machinations destroyed the connection settings. Now you can call the ISP help desk. The server names and port numbers that need to be entered into Outlook's and OE's Properties' dialogs should be on the tips of their tongues. If your friends are like mine, they didn't write any of that stuff down. Just tell 'em you had to reinstall OE and your settings are all gone, they should be able to walk you through the solution. Unfortunately, we can't; those names and numbers are specific to each ISP, sorry. They're probably not open today, though... Have a nice 4th!
One small problem though. I followed your advice as follows: yet the settings do seem to have been lost, and there's no connection to the internet with Outlook Express or Microsoft Outlook. When I start OE I get the following Dial-up connection dialogue box: I hit cancel because the "connect to:" drop-down box is empty, and got the following message:
Could someone please explain what I need to enter (and where) so I can connect them back properly?