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Getting a red X when attempting to enter text in a new email message

Receiving a red X when attempting to enter text in a new Outlook Web Access email message? SearchExchange.com expert Brad Dinerman explains how to cure this common issue.

When I create a new email message, I am unable to write in the body field of the email. A red X appears in the upper left corner of the message body. However, I am able to enter information in all the other fields of the message box. I am running Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7 (IE7). Thank you in advance for your help.
I will assume that you are working with Outlook Web Access (OWA) on Exchange Server 2003. If that is the case, please make sure that you have downloaded and installed the latest version of the S/MIME control (available from the Options link within Outlook Web Access).

Also make sure that your security settings in Internet Explorer are not overly restrictive. You should also check out Microsoft Knowledge Base article 924334: The Compose Message form stops responding after you install Internet Explorer 7.0 and the S/MIME control on an Outlook Web Access client in Exchange Server 2003. This symptom is very common and is frequently resolved using the hotfix described in the KB article.

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