Windows Live Mail Review



For many years the default choice for non-web based e-mail for home computer users their default e-mail client software has been Outlook Express. People end up using Outlook Express because it comes with Windows and they simply never think that there may be a better program for reading and writing e-mail.

Despite the popularity by default of Outlook Express, Microsoft has been accused of neglecting it. Even when every other e-mail client and most web based mail services have had filtering systems for sending spam to the bit bucket but Outlook Express has not had anything more than simple text filtering that could be used attempt to send spam to the deleted mail folder but since spammers use deceptive subject lines making the text filtering in Outlook Express ineffective.

After a few years of people having a completive alternative in the form of Thunderbird from the Mozilla with a Bayesian spam filtering and built in spell checking a phishing filter, Microsoft has responded and a long needed replacement for the Outlook Express has arrived. Windows Live Mail is now available for download for free from the Microsoft web site.

The biggest difference from Outlook Express is the much more modern user interface. Microsoft has extended the three panes side by side that began with Outlook and then Hotmail. The left hand pane has a list of e-mail accounts set up in Windows Live Mail. The middle pane is the list of e-mails and the Right pane is the e-mail preview pane. Like its predecessor, Windows Live Mail supports Pop mail accounts supplied from Internet service providers and Microsoft’s own Hotmail. Added to Windows Live Mail is the ability to use the G-mail service from Google. Subscribers to Yahoo Premium can use their Yahoo Mail accounts from within Windows Live Mail.

A common annoyance with Outlook Express was the lack of spell checking for outgoing e-mail when Microsoft Word wasn’t installed on a computer. Even then spell checking an e-mail required opening a separate spell check dialog window similar to Word 6.0. The inline spell check built into Windows Live Mail doesn’t require having Microsoft Word, and just like every version of Word since Word 95, a red zig-zag underline appears under each misspelled appears and right clicking under each misspelled word brings up a list of possible correct spellings.

For the past several years most competing e-mail clients have had spam filtering built in while Outlook Express had nothing to help prevent the onslaught of spam. This has finally been rectified in Windows Live Mail. Right from installation spam e-mails are diverted to a special junk e-mail folder without the training process that is required with other e-mail client programs. Microsoft as also added a phishing filter so that E-mails claiming to be from a bank e-bay or PayPal will be greyed out and links in the e-mails cannot be clicked on to warn users that the e-mails are attempts to steal their money.

Windows live mail includes an RSS reader which shows content from websites with frequently content like news and blog sites just like e-mails. The usenet newsreader has been retained. Usenet Newsgroups were the original discussion boards of the Internet. At one time most content on the Internet were found on the Newsgroups but are very seldom used in recent years.

To use Windows Live Mail all that is needed is a functioning PC running Windows XP with service pack 2 and a compatible e-mail account. For the home user computer user who is an e-mail junkie who doesn’t have the full version of Outlook Windows Live Mail is an essential upgrade. Even for casual e-mailer who wants to read and send e-mails without getting harassed by spammers. While Microsoft has caught up with the e-mail client programs offered by competitors, Microsoft could have taken the lead by expanding the protections offered by the phishing filter to limit access to other e-mails sent by other e-mail scammers. Despite protections against scams spread through e-mail Microsoft should at least consider pushing Windows Live Mail down through the Automatic Updates service like they did with Internet Explorer 7. Leaving Windows Live Mail as an optional download many of those who could benefit from the improvements in Windows Live Mail won’t get see them.

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