Windows Live Mail – A short overview

In November 2007 Microsoft launched a new e-mail client called Windows Live Mail. This client is one of the tools included in the Windows Live set of services and software products. Windows Live Mail is the successor of both Outlook Express and Windows Mail. This means that in the future it will be the only supported free e-mail client, and all development work going forward will only be on Windows Live Mail. For this reason, you might consider going to the download page and start using it.

But, before you do that, let’s see what novelties Windows Live Mail has to offer.

The first thing you will notice is its new and fresh look. For an e-mail client, Windows Live Mail has a pretty slick look and integrates very well with both Windows Vista and Windows Live.

Windows Live Mail

If you don’t like the default look or you get bored with it, you can easily change it at anytime and have Windows Live Mail look the way you want to. It takes only two clicks to do it.

Windows Live Mail

Another positive thing about this aspect is the fact that users can easily change layouts and use the one that best suits their needs. The interface is very minimalistic: you have a small number of buttons which cover only the basic actions and configuration options. Just like in the latest version of Windows Explorer, the menus are hidden by default. To activate them you will have to check the ‘Show all menus’ as shown in the screenshot below.

Windows Live Mail
Configuring Windows Live Mail is very easy, especially if you have worked with Windows Mail or Outlook Express. Most of the configuration options are found in the same menus, so no surprises there.

One feature that was appreciated by our readers in Outlook Express is the possibility to work with multiple e-mail identities. Just like Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail does not offer this feature. All you can do is import or delete existing identities.

Aside from its new interface, Windows Live Mail has several new features, which are not present in Windows Mail. The most notable are:

  • Easy e-mail configuration – if you use Windows Live Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo Mail Plus! (paid service) you no longer need to know the addresses of the e-mail servers, ports and so on. Just type your e-mail address, password, display name and Windows Live Mail will make all the additional configuration for you. Read our guide on how to configure Windows Live Mail to connect to Windows Live Hotmail and MSN Mail and see how it is;
  • Separate inbox folders for different POP accounts – if you work with multiple e-mail accounts you will have separate folders for each of them. This can also help users who loved the e-mail identities feature;
  • RSS Feeds – you can easily subscribe to your favorite RSS feeds and read them directly from your inbox;
  • Synchronization with Windows Live Contacts – Windows Live Contacts is integrated with Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Spaces to provide users access to their contact’s profiles and information. This means that you will be able to access the same contacts list when your work on your PC or when you access your Windows Live Hotmail from the web;
  • Better picture/photo messaging – when sending pictures via e-mail you can add frames or borders to them, change their size and layout or even edit them;
  • Emoticons and Inline spell checking – the spell checking is always a welcome feature. The available emoticons are the ones you know from Windows Live Messenger. Even though they are not very impressive, they sure are a nice new feature.

As a downside, I have noticed that some security solutions, including version 7 of Kaspersky Internet Security, do not detect Windows Live Mail as an e-mail client and do not install the spam filters; this means that the sent and received e-mail messages are not being scanned. I’m sure this will get fixed with future updates but until then it can be quite a problem if you are not very familiar with security on your computer.

After working for a while with Windows Live Mail, I must say it is pretty fast and easy to use. I’m sure many of you won’t have a hard time learning how to use it. Except the security problem I’ve mentioned, Windows Live Mail has no other major weaknesses. Even though the new features are not revolutionary, they certainly build up and create a pretty solid e-mail client which will please many users.

Related articles:
Configure Windows Live Mail to connect to Windows Live Hotmail and MSN Mail

15 thoughts on “Windows Live Mail – A short overview”

  1. E mail
    I am enjoying using Vista on my new computer but I have a problem. In trying to access my email from other computers as I am now in Monterrey, Mexico, I am not able to pull up my old UNREAD messages. What can I do?

  2. Kaspersky is lame
    According to their own staff, Kaspersky will never support Windows Live Mail (well, not for a long time anyway). They are only supporting Windows Mail, Thunderbird and Outlook. Apparently Windows Live Mail isn’t mainstream enough for them to care yet. It’s still a good program though, and easier to use than any of the other email clients.

  3. Siganture in Windows Mail
    We have been using Outlook Express and recently upgraded to Windows Vista and we had to upgrade to WIndows Mail. We had a signature in our E-mail on Outlook Express (stationary) and we tried to get it on WIndows mail. I would like to know any oneone would know how to get it into the new e-mail account. This has to do with our business and we are unable to use this Stationary but would really liek to.

  4. Unable to send email on new computer
    I receive email and reply is not received. Sending new email is also denied. On the send email form there is a Cc entry. What is being asked for? I have left it blank for that reason. HELP!

  5. forward lines
    How can I remove the lines on the border of email that has been forward to me. Sometimes there are 3 or 4 lines that I would like to remove before forwarding the email.

  6. Contact List Help
    Can anyone help me setting up my contact list folders. One my old outlook express, when I clicked To: to get to my addresses I just had the Main Identity Contacts and could access other separate folders from there. On windows mail when I click in the To: box all get a mixture of main and all names in other folders. So does anyone know how to get these separate?? Thanks!!

  7. VISTA 64 Vs WinLiveMail
    HP Help advised that I would need to use Program Files (X86) to install Live Mail. Can anyone direct me to a tutorial on how to accomplish this? Although I truly appreciate directions on how to install things I would rather learn how the whole thing works.

    Thanks, DennisB

  8. email addresses
    How do you make a address show only the email address rather than the persons name. Some people dont want their name identity shared. Is BCC the only way to do it. It seems maby they need listed in the contact differently.

  9. how to configure interface of windows live mail?
    I’m blind and am using windows xp with internet explorer and a screenreader. I thought, windows live would improve the functionality of internet explorer and outlook express. But windows live seemed to be an alternative for outlook express etc. How to configure the interface of the windows live products so that’s usefull to me? Now, I can’t find my mails etc. because my screenreader don’t find his way. Help, please.

  10. sending pictures by e mail
    I am haveing trouble with the size of pictures that I send over my e mail. I access attachments and when I say photos I do not have any control of what size of photo that is sent. Is their any way to redcuce the size of the photo so that it does not overload the e mail?

  11. Composing or fowarding an email is too slow in Windows mail
    It takes as high as 30 seconds to 60 seconds to open the compose mail box or forward mail box with windows vista. By the time, I forget for what purpose I opened the compose mail box. It is rather irritating to sit infront of the processing icon. It drags down my productivity.

    Can someone just help me how to make the compose option work faster on Windows mail.

    Anyone who give a suitable solution, Thanks for your assistance.

  12. managing identities
    The only feature which is useful for freelancer associated with the different groups was to save different mail ids in one account , which unfortunately is not in this mail live.


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