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Microsoft KB Archive/104360

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Knowledge Base

PC Win: New Mail Notification Using a Custom Command

Article ID: 104360

Article Last Modified on 10/30/2006


  • Microsoft Mail Client 3.0
  • Microsoft Mail Client 3.0
  • Microsoft Mail Client 3.2

This article was previously published under Q104360


Versions 3.0 and later of Microsoft Mail for Windows provide the ability to develop custom commands. Chapter 1 in the "Technical Reference" describes how to define custom commands.

You can define a custom command so that whenever Microsoft Mail is minimized or is in the background on the screen and new mail arrives, the Mail window is brought to the foreground. You can use this feature as a means of new mail notification.

Custom commands are defined in the MSMAIL.INI file (which is usually located in the Windows directory), in a section titled [Custom Commands].

If this section does not exist, you can create it by adding the following new section header:

[Custom Commands]

The custom command for new mail notification should be after the [Custom Commands] line and is as follows


where <path> is the complete path to the MSMAIL.EXE file. "Notify" is a label and can be replaced by any other text string. The APPEXEC.DLL file is usually not copied to the local computer during the setup process.

APPEXEC.DLL was not shipped with version 3.0. However, it was included with versions 3.0b and 3.2.

With Mail 3.0b, APPEXEC.DLL is located on the Messaging Applications Development Tools disk, in the MAILEXTS subdirectory.

With Mail 3.2, APPEXEC.DLL is located on the Technical Reference Server Programs disk, in the MAILEXTS subdirectory.

You should copy the APPEXEC.DLL file to the Windows subdirectory.

NOTE: Mail must be running for this method of notification to work. Mail can be either in the background or minimized. If you are in an MS-DOS window or if you are running an MS-DOS application, there will be a change of context and mail will be brought to the foreground.


The information above is for a private custom command. To share this custom command with other users, you need to define a shared command. To do this, you must have a file named SHARED.INI in a shared directory on a server. Then perform the following steps:

  1. If the [Custom Commands] section does not exist in this file, create that section and then add the above custom command to the [Custom Commands] section.
  2. Copy the APPEXEC.DLL file to this shared directory.
  3. On each user's local MSMAIL.INI file, in the [Microsoft Mail] section, add the following line:

    SharedExtensionsDir=<Path to the Shared directory on the server>

    You can specify the path in UNC notation (for example, \\<Server_name>\<share_name>) or you can specify the path using a drive name (for example, d:\mailexts).

For more detailed information on creating shared custom commands, refer to Chapter 1 of the Microsoft Mail for PC Networks "Technical Reference."

Additional query words: 3.00 3.00b 3.20

Keywords: KB104360