Reset Unread Mail Count on Login Screen

On the Windows XP login screen you can easily see how many unread mail you still have in your inbox. This number can be wrong sometimes.

This issue could happen for all sorts of reasons but the most common I come across is that someone else uses MSN Messenger on my machine. The number of his/her unread e-mails then gets added to my unread mail. When you click on the unread mail count on the login screen you can see how many unread mails each logged account has.

While resetting the unread mail count is easy (with the TweakUI Windows XP PowerToy) you also might want to prevent it from ever happening again.


Reset Mail Count

Like I mentioned before you can easily reset the mail count on the login screen with the TweakUI Windows XP PowerToy. You can download it from the Windows XP PowerToy website or directly by clicking here.

Once installed open it and choose the Repair section on the left. On the right use the dropdown list to select "Repair unread mail count" and choose Repair Now.

Tweak UI Unread Mail Count
Resetting the Unread Mail Count with TweakUI

Prevent it from happening again!

Like shown resetting is easy but having to do this every single time someone else has used my computer to use MSN Messenger really got annoying. By setting registry permissions you can overcome this and allow only the accounts you specify to update the unread mail count.

  1. Use TweakUI to reset the current Unread Mail count
  2. Open Outlook with the account you want the Unread Mail count to apply to.
    If you’ve got several Outlook profiles and also want to have the Unread Mail count apply to those accounts restart Outlook with those profiles.
    If you’ve got a Hotmail account and also want to have the Unread Mail count apply to that account login to MSN Messenger.
  3. Open the registry and browse to;
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\UnreadMail
  4. Expand the key; you should now see ‘folders’ of the e-mail accounts that you want to have the Unread Mail count apply to.
    If there is an account listed that you don’t want to have the Unread Mail count apply to you can remove the ‘folder’ by selecting it and then press DELETE
  5. Right click on the the UnreadMail ‘folder’ and choose Permissions…
  6. Press the button Advanced
  7. Deselect the checkbox for "Inherit from parent the permission entries that apply to child object. Include these with entries explicitly defined here."
  8. When prompted choose Copy
  9. From the Permission entries box select your username and press the button Edit…
  10. Deselect Create Subkey-> OK
  11. If you are a member of the Administrators group also deselect the Create Subkey permission for that group
  12. OK yourself a way out of all the open screens and close the Registry Editor

The login screen will now only display the (combined) Unread Mail count from the accounts specified. If you want to add an additional account later enable the Create Subkey permission again, start Outlook/MSN Messenger with the account and then deselect the permission again. You can always delete the UnreadMail ‘folder’ to restore things to the way they were.

Get rid of it completely

Another (bit more drastic) method is to get rid of the Unread Mail count completely. This is also something you can do with the TweakUI powertoy. From the left pane expand Logon and then Unread Mail. Deselect the option "Show unread mail on Welcome screen." You can choose whether to apply this only to your account or for all users on that computer.