Windows Live Mail: Good, but not Quite Outlook

When Microsoft made the transition from XP to Vista, Outlook Express also made the switch to Windows Mail. Outlook has long been considered the quintessential email program in most circles while, Windows Mail is more a simple, trimmed-down email program that is similar to the Outlook setup, but without all the bells and whistles. It probably won’t win any awards and won’t be universally accepted as a replacement for Outlook, and it’s not, but for home-use it is a very respectable email program which is easy to set-up and equally easy to use.

Now, as a part of Windows Live Essentials, Windows Live Mail is available as a free download for use in Windows 7. I’ll not rehash the process for downloading Windows Live Mail, that can be found here. Let’s take a brief look at the program and review the set up process.

After the program has been downloaded from Windows Live, you will open it by clicking on the program in the Windows Live Folder from the Programs menu. When the program opens, it should immediately ask you to add your email account to the program. If the message doesn’t show up, you can add an account by clicking on the Add e-mail account link on the right-hand task pane. The next step is entering your email account information.

grey Windows Live Mail: Good, but not Quite Outlook

Microsoft – “With most large e-mail providers, if you know your user name and password, Windows Live Mail can usually detect your account’s settings and set up the new account automatically. However, when adding some accounts, you may need to get some account information from your ISP (Internet service provider. A company that provides access to the Internet.) or network administrator” and enter that information manually by checking the Manually configure server settings for e-mail account.

The most commonly used type of email account is POP3, which is default. If this is not the type of account you have, then chose the appropriate option from the drop-down menu. You’ll need to input the correct information for the Incoming Server and Outgoing Server (this information depends on your ISP) as well as the Login ID. You’ll also need to check whether your email server requires authentication or a secure connection. In my case, as is most, this was not required. Click Next.

grey Windows Live Mail: Good, but not Quite Outlook

Click Finish to finalize the setup.

grey Windows Live Mail: Good, but not Quite Outlook

If everything is entered correctly, you should be taken to your inbox and new emails should be downloaded. I had not used Windows Mail since Vista, so I was pleasantly surprised with the new layout. Similar to Outlook, but even easier to use, the new layout affords the average user everything they would need to manage their emails and a few extras. The interface can be easily customized by clicking the options drop-down and chosing Layout.

grey Windows Live Mail: Good, but not Quite Outlook

Tip: There is a Sign In button on the top right corner that will allow you to log in using your Windows Live ID.

 

As far as features, Windows Mail includes the basic features that can be found in Outlook, without the extra options that are more applicable to advanced users. There is also a comparable Calendar feature which can be accessed from the navigation pane.

grey Windows Live Mail: Good, but not Quite Outlook

I won’t go through all of the features because most are typical email program features, but a few negatives to point out:

  • One option that I use in Outlook that I was unable to find in Windows Mail is the “Leave a copy of messages on the server” option which will literally leave a copy of the message on the original server so the message will still appear in Yahoo! and in Windows Mail. I have looked everywhere for this feature. If any readers knows of this option in Windows Mail, please let me know. (Update: User cbkitt found this option is available in Windows Mail. To activate, right-click on the account and select Properties and it will be under the advanced tab)
  • Although I hear that it is possible to set-up an Exchange account in Windows Mail, it is not recommended because not every Outlook option is compatible with Windows Mail.
  • There are a few free email accounts that cannot be setup in Windows Mail without using a “tweak”.

grey Windows Live Mail: Good, but not Quite Outlook

Note: Some email accounts such as free Yahoo! Mail would need an alternative method to setup Windows Live Mail using programs like YPOPS! and IzyMail, which I’ll not suggest or go into here.

grey Windows Live Mail: Good, but not Quite Outlook

In conclusion, I was pleasantly surprised with Windows Mail and I am still considering switching to it for my personal email accounts, while leaving Outlook installed for my Exchange account. The new user interface is very easy to use and quick to pick-up for new users and setup was quick and easy as well. If you haven’t yet chosen a mail program for home use or are tired of your existing mail program, give Windows Mail a try, you might be surprised.

Have you used Windows Mail, and if not what program do you currently use?

Subscribe & Connect

Share This Post: 

Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter for updates:

, , , ,

21 Responses to Windows Live Mail: Good, but not Quite Outlook

  1. cbkitt October 14, 2009 at 11:58 am #

    There is a tool to leave the your message on the Server.

    Go to.. Accounts.. Advanced and you will find the switch’s here.

    It’s Account independent.

    • Jason October 14, 2009 at 1:04 pm #

      Thanks for this tip. I thought I looked everywhere…I guess I missed it. I’ll give it a try and update the post with the results.

    • Jason October 14, 2009 at 6:06 pm #

      I have updated the post to include the directions. Thanks again.

  2. Name October 14, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    There is an option, Its in one of the tabs underneath the individual email account settings. Some POP3 won’t work unless you use a workaround.

  3. Anonymous October 14, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    I’ve used Windows Live Mail for a while now and while I have tried using Outlook, I always find myself going back to Live Mail. It’s just simple and gets the job done.

  4. jan October 15, 2009 at 12:49 am #

    where do i find this to set up my acct?
    The most commonly used type of email account is POP3, which is default. If this is not the type of account you have, then chose the appropriate option from the drop-down menu. You’ll need to input the correct information for the Incoming Server and Outgoing Server (this information depends on your ISP) as well as the Login ID. You’ll also need to check whether your email server requires authentication or a secure connection. In my case, as is most, this was not required. Click Next.

    • Jason October 15, 2009 at 9:19 am #

      You’ll need to click on the “add e-mail account link” then check the “manually configure…” link to get more detailed setup options.

  5. Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 4:10 am #

    i love windows live mail and have been using it for ages(probablly since it was released) i used outlook in w98 and xp then changed to windows mail when vista came out but quickly jumped over to windows live mail (which is completely different windows mail, in actual program sense) the interface is somewhat similar but live mail is a lot easier to use and more user freindly(especially for those less techy like my mum)

    i’ve had to use outlook a few times on freinds pc’ but i really cant go back to that anymore. i meantioned live mail to them and installed it and non of them have gone back either…

    once you change you’ll never go back…

    • confused March 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

      I’m having trouble getting my e-mail to work directly from my programs – excel, word, acrobat. It will give me an error message twice, but will open an e-mail window the third time. Any thoughts. Thought I would ask you since you like this e-mail.

  6. Zeljko Manjkas October 15, 2009 at 4:34 am #

    I use Windows Live Mail and only big problem is email rules.
    Applying added rule to existing folder newer works (rule is simple move mail to specific folder if from line contains specific mail address).

    Everything else works fine.

  7. BARBARA JEAN October 19, 2009 at 5:46 pm #

    Where is the File, Edit, View, Tool, etc. where is my Address book?
    helllllllppppppppp. plus, i’m not able to use my OUTLOOK EXPRESS?
    WHAT’S WRONG?
    BARBARA J.

    • Jason October 20, 2009 at 10:29 pm #

      Hi Barbara Jean,

      To view the File Menu you just need to click on the ‘Menu’ Icon on the left-side of the toolbar and click on ‘show menu bar’.

      You can import your address book by clickin on the ‘contacts’ option and then on the ‘file’ menu click on ‘import’ and select the type.

      Hope this helps

    • Mustafa Mohamed March 27, 2010 at 12:52 am #

      Press ALT and it should appear :)

  8. Jason October 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    Hi Barbara Jean,

    I am currently using a computer not equipped with Windows 7 or Live Mail. I will give you some exact directions once I get home on my other machine.

  9. jay October 29, 2009 at 5:02 am #

    so can I just “export” my windows mail and then import into live mail?

  10. Nunne March 25, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    I love Windows Live Mail but I do have one problem and that is I cannot size my font from the View drop-down box as it is grayed out!! Anyone know how to fix this?

    I have changed my default size in the e-mails that I am sending out, but it is that first page which I now want to make the font larger – help please :)

  11. confused April 16, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    I’m having trouble getting my e-mail to work directly from my programs – excel, word, acrobat. It will give me an error message twice, but will open an e-mail window the third time. Any thoughts.

  12. loadmsn September 2, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    The mail so so …I love the old hotmail version.It’s easy to use

  13. Rick Wagner September 2, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    Try http://www.EmClient.com instead.. it’s just like Outlook from days gone by and free to manage your first two accounts..

  14. Selvan September 28, 2010 at 10:48 am #

    I don’t like the fact that I can’t keep the accounts separate (not all in the same window) like in OE where I used the old idForOE.vbs file to clear the registry of it’s last user.

    Often when creating new e-mail I end up sending it from the wrong account. Sure, it’s my own fault for not checking, but it sure would be much simpler if I had the ability to open just my account and not the rest of the families. We do all use the same Windows log on account and don’t want to have to log off and on just for this which is the only way to get around it AFAIK.

  15. Ray March 10, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Oh brother,I just deleted windows live essentials 2011 because i did not like it.
    How do I get version 2010 back? I have no more e mail. Help please

Leave a Reply


*