Hate Microsoft Outlook Mail? Try Windows Live Mail instead.

I'll start by saying that I'm an Outlook-lover... at work.  When it comes to using Outlook on a non-Exchange environment, I've learned how to be very, very frustrated.  Between constantly corrupted PST files and a mass of other issues, I finally ditched Outlook at home for good and move to something else - Windows Live Mail.

Before I took that leap, I looked at a number of other options and, actually, have used a few other products in the past.  However, these past forays into Outlook alternatives never lasted that long and I always found myself moving back to Outlook, mainly due to its versatility and ease of use.  One product that I used for quite a while was Thunderbird.  I gave it a fair shake and, frankly, ended up not liking it that much; no good, concrete reasons except that the interface seemed clunky at the time.  A lot of people do like it, but it just didn't work for me.

When the time came to replace Outlook for good, I didn't look too far from the Microsoft tree, although I would have had I found something that I liked.  Ideally, I wanted to find a client that could:

  • Handle multiple email accounts with ease, including my Gmail account.  I have a large number of accounts that I need to check regularly.
  • Double as a newsgroup reader.  I also subscribe to a ton of newsgroups and I like having them all in one place.
  • Be able to handle RSS feeds and integrate with my Internet Explorer-bases RSS feed.
  • Work with full-text search.  I can't get along without being able to search my email!

    I also wanted something that was reasonably easy to use and that didn't frustrate me at every turn a la Outlook in non-Exchange mode.  There are probably a whole lot of products out there that would fit the bill, but once I found Windows Live Mail, the search was over.

The interface change does take some getting used to; I use Outlook 2007 all day long at the office and love that interface, so Windows Live Mail's relatively bare-bones look is a bit of a shock at first.  And the dearth of a toolbar full of icons at the top of the screen was a little different at first, but quickly overcome.

After about 6 weeks of use, I have a number of IMAP accounts, a POP account, an HTTP account, about two dozen newsgroups and a few RSS feeds configured in Windows Live Mail and, overall, I'm extremely pleased with the product.  While I'd never even give Windows Live Mail a second look at work (they'll rip my Exchange-connected copy of Outlook 2007 from my cold, dead hands), it's solved my home messaging problems fabulously and it's free to boot!

What’s wrong? The new clean desk test
View Comments
You Might Like
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies