Turning off the mail count in the Windows XP login screen – Registry

The other day, my girlfriend had been using my computer, and logged into MSN. When I restarted the computer, I noticed this message:
131 Unread messages
This is both annoying, and it really looks stupid. I mean, sure I get a bit of email, but I rarely have as many as 20 emails in my inbox, and even if I did, my hotmail inbox is not my primary email. Add to that the fact that this count has been taken from my girlfriends’ hotmail and we’re starting to get to the bottom of my frustration. Frankly, I don’t want it to tell people whether there are any unread email at all.
Apparently, there are a few programs that feed into this count; Outlook, Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird and MSN Messenger to mention but a few. So, how do we remove it? As it happens, it is pretty simple to do just that, but it does require some fiddling about in the registry, so if you’re not comfortable with that, just leave it alone and clean up your inbox. Here’s how to do it:

  • Log in as a local administrator
  • In the start-menu, open “Run”
  • Type “regedit” and hit enter
  • In the registry editor, navigate to:


  • If you don’t have the key UnreadMail, you need to create it by right-clicking the CurrentVersion key, click new, then key
  • In the right pane, right-click, and choose to create a new DWORD
  • Call the DWORD MessageExpiryDays
  • Open the DWORD and make sure it’s set to 0
  • Registry edited

Here’s the result:
Login Screen, No Mail Count
Oh, and if you don’t want to muck about in the registry, and still want to remove this annoying “feature”, just wait for my next blog post, which will cover just that…





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