It is common advice to not open suspicious email in order to avoid being infected by malware contained in the email.

What constitutes opening an email in Outlook? Specifically, is viewing an email in Outlook's Preview pane equivalent to opening an email? Can malware be activated by previewing email in Outlook's Preview pane? Or is the salient point that one should not open the attachments contained in the email?

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    With most E-mail clients you can configure them to inactivate the preview window. It is possible to close this muzzle of Outlook.
    – dan
    Jan 19, 2016 at 8:35

1 Answer 1


Yes there have been vulnerabilities regarding the Outlook preview pane. Another one from last year here.

The advice was originally not to open attachments contained in emails, but vulnerabilities such as these mean that you can still be vulnerable just by previewing.

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    I would emphasise it: a preview implies an open function from the E-mail client standpoint. The previewed E-mail is opened. The internal functions used are the same, the risk is the same, the impact is the same.
    – dan
    Jan 19, 2016 at 8:27

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