Where are the e-mail identities?

Some of our readers e-mailed us asking if we know what happened with the e-mail identities in Windows Mail. In Outlook Express, if multiple people were sharing the same computer, they had the possibility to create different identities to keep their e-mail separate from others.

According to this post, found on the Windows Vista Help pages, the ability to create e‑mail identities has been removed in Windows Mail. Instead, Windows Mail enables you to create separate Windows user accounts for each person who wants to use e‑mail on a single computer.

Basically, if multiple people use the same computer they should have different user accounts. This way they can keep both their e-mail and their data private. If you need to learn how to manage and create user accounts, you should read this guide.

Also, if you want to learn more about Windows Mail you can read this tutorial.

Related articles:
Windows Mail
Windows Mail keyboard shortcuts
Migrate from Outlook Express to Windows Mail
Configure Windows Mail to connect to Yahoo Mail Plus
Windows Contacts
Manage User Accounts

21 thoughts on “Where are the e-mail identities?”

  1. windows mail switch identity
    Why!!! would they remove that???

    This is becoming just another reason Why I am hating Vista… I’ve wasted about 3 hrs trying either make this work like Outlook express or Download Outlook Express… no luck with either… I’ve installed Outlook 2003 and am seconds away from scrapping Vista and going back to XP…

      • Re-establish Identities in Windows Mail
        Microsoft is suspect when it removes identiteis from the Windows Mail account, and makes it not possible to load OE on Vista. The early realization is that it is an attempt to move clientele who have happily used Outlook Express identities towards the need to buy Outlook.


        By having Identities, I can stream mail from the server, where my email domain is hosted, into specific-purpose email in-boxes in the same log-on [or User Account] cleanly and conveniently.

        Wha it I am in, say LOG-ON A: {A user account for the Business activity, AHQ]?
        By establishing identities for a range of projects, I can quickly flip between the identities to receive, send and store email in the identity WITHOUT changing to a new User Account [or Log-on, as I call it].
        The effect of opening a User Account is to cause Vista to load up a range of items which are not necessary.

        If is has not been guilty of market manipulaton [ie, causing clientele to buy Outlook] MICROSOFT definlityely has ignored this small-scale architectural style of operation when forcing OE users into Windows Mail.

        DESIGNER REACTION is inevitable:
        I predict that a designer reaction is inevitable. You cannot, unless the nature of the market is chiefly fascist, remove something from people and tell them that they have something more.

        CONCLUSIVELY: The inability for a sole operator, in the small scale scope of a laptop computer especially, to filip from identity to identity has been a form of robbery by Microsoft. I wholly encourage users everywhere to press for a designer reaction, being the re-negotiatin of Outlook Express Identities in Vista, and/or for the implementing of identities in Windows Mail.

        I call upon Microsoft to get on with the solution themselves; or to explain away the accusation that, through the use of frustration, Microsoft policy leaders are attempting former OE users to buy Outlook.

        Bluey Quilty, MA
        Australian Heritage Quanta
        owner of 5 email addresses, 3 in logon A and 2 in logon B

  2. window mail is messy… why did MS make it so complicated?
    Now that there is no seperate identities for emails, I cannot have mails for my two different email addresses seperate. Windows mail can only allow me to auto receive mails from my two email addresses into one email file. This has made my inbox file very messy, mixing my personal email with my company emails.

    Not only that, I now have to determine each time which email address I would be using before I send an email which is creating more work for users and sometimes when you are in a hurry and forgets to make a selection, can you imagine the mess that this can create?

    Why can’t MS keep it simple as it was in the previous windows?

  3. Windows Mail
    I hate the new windows mail. The inability to have multiple identities is stupid. I am so frustrated. My husband and my email accounts are now one giant account unless we spend all day going back and forth between two accounts on the same computer. I just want to check my mail! Vistas new security will not even let me go to my servers email log in because it said its suspicious and possibly corrupt. Windows is who is corrupt. The world has been taken yet again. Aaargh!

    • Frustration with Vista Windows Mail
      I agree, we hate the lack of identities. Microsoft has assumed that home computers are used like office computers where every employee has a separate account & must log-on to activate their account settings. This is not true in our home, & it appears we are not alone! We all use the same programs & settings and keep files in separate folders, so we do not need to have separate accounts. My wife refuses to use the new Vista Windows Mail due to the lack of identities.

      You would think that Microsoft would at least provide the ability to use identities as an option. Instead they abandoned identities & have alienated many home users in the process. That’s just plain silly. I want our Outlook Express back! Not only that, I want the look of XP back, I hate the positioning of the buttons & the hidden menus. For goodness sake, what was wrong with the File menu, anyway?! My advice to MS is stop trying to be Apple, simply be the thing that 90% of the world’s users have come to know & like.

      IE tabs are alright, that’s about it.

  4. Inglorious b….
    Thanks a lot microsoft.

    “Instead, Windows Mail enables you to create separate Windows user accounts for each person who wants to use e‑mail on a single computer.”

    That should sound like this…

    “Instead, Windows Mail forces you to create separate Windows user accounts for 5 members of your family, including the 13 year old girl who has no interest in hacking into her dad’s email. Microsoft also forces you to have a migraine when you have a family who all listen to the same music library. With these multiple accounts, you now get to spend hours importing and sorting out music into iTunes for each seperate user library. Wanna download a song? No problem! Just gotta add it 5 times :)…Keepin’ it special, the Microsoft way.”

  5. Microsoft Bashers
    Microsoft helps me feed my kids, I am an IT admin and use MS products everyday to help my company run and be successful. While I could not agree with people more on how frustrating they(MS) can be when they change stuff, take away or add annoying features its always been that way and always will be. Mr. Gates does not care how much you bash his company if you do not use his software then your neighbor will. So instead of harping on the bad in Vista or any other windows product you will find there is always a simple sometimes better workaround. Use Mozilla “THUNDERBIRD” I find this mail client to be lighter, cleaner & faster than Windows Mail. An most important you can use as many identities as you like and I find it works better than OE6 in regards to identities. Its free, also if you like XP than go back always use your OS that you are most comfortable with. I think the Vista interface is pretty cool yeah I would have some things different but what can you do. You can also use Linux which is a great OS as well although not for the novice user.

    • Reverting back to XP is not available
      The suggestion to revert back to XP is not an option when the new computer is equipped with Vista. Miscrosoft has worked with computer makers such as HP to ensure that the OS discs that came with the old HP computer cannot be used to install XP on the new HP computer. Besides, XP may or may not have all the drivers required to make the new compter run properly.

      I already own a legitimate copy of XP, I should be permitted to install it on my new computer, but I can’t without breaking the law & risking all manner of trouble involved in hacking the disc security.

    • thundercrap
      I have been trying to figure out how to set difrent email identities for hours in this pile of junk. Thunderbird sucks.

      I am not sure you actually understand what we mean by diferent Identities. We want to be able to switch to another identity for each email address we have, so that the only email we have in the inbox is for the Identity we are logged into. Outlook Express was awsome for what we wanted. It would close down completly and reopen to the identity we switched to.

  6. I hate this windows mail
    I hate vista; (i got as package deal with purchase of my new laptop), but I had no idea that with vista MS is trying to further complicate the things. It doesnot allow you to manage multiple email accounts with same windows user id….its pathetic. How many times; one would change/ log off to check the other mails etc….ridiculous…..

    Is there a better solution available in market, coz if not, I am thinking of moving back to XP….


  7. Multiple Personality Disorder
    You are supposed to create different user accounts for different users of the computers anyway(so no husband and I business), because of that, why sould the mail client have different identities, when you are supposed to have only one user per account in the first place? Unless of course if you have alot of email accounts that u wanna keep seperate… try using filters and redirect ur mails to diferent folders instead. If that doesnt work, use another client. Opera has a simple yet sufficient built in email client.

    • Your comments WINDOWS MAIL IDENTITIES !
      I’m sorry what utter rubbish you have written.

      You clearly have no idea about identities as used in Outlook editions – who is linking the word users with email identities. The word in my mind never realted to an individual but to a seperate email account that has no relation to the first. It could be as simple as Personal and Business. I mean how dissimilar can you get for that. Do I need a different edition of Vista or maybe 2 PC’s each with a new Vista on then for reading 2 email accounts – please NO. The manage identities in Outlook was fully functional and worked great.

      Where do we look in windows mail or Outlook for our new emails – In the Inbox maybe – does it take a genius to work that out – so now your saying the inbox for one account won’t be the inbox for the other so then your looking to create filters for everything your doing and the chance of missing stuff even loosing it – NOT GOOD ENOUGH MR ANOYIEMOUSE PERSON

  8. Get serious
    Hey guys… Don’t blame Microsoft for your ignorance. Don’t get me wrong, I am a linux addict and I have Linux permanently installed on my desktop computer as long as I can remember (and I have a good memory :). Windows Mail has the same functionality as Outlook Expres had for over 4 years now. With a simple rule, you can separate your email accounts into separate folders and subfolders with ease. If you want Microsoft to know what mail YOU consider important, I think you’re asking the wrong thing here. Microsoft has many problems and, in general, the Microsoft software is big, full of bugs and pretty much everything someone can hate in IT business. And, to blame Vista… is too much… It’s an upgraded operating system, full of bugs and security issues. The vast majority of the professional applications are not working as they should… And the ordinary applications are working with half of the speed they should have. What can I say… It’s the biggest mistake Microsoft has done in decades (and I mean it as 20 years, from the Windows 1.0). But…be serious… if an application like Windows Mail is getting you into problems… maybe you need a pencil and a piece of paper.

  9. Spoken like a true Linux
    Spoken like a true Linux Fanboy.

    I use multiple email accounts for legitimate reasons.
    One for Normal everyday things, one for a historical hobby I partake in, and one used exclusivly for signing up for something where I expect to get spam at some point.

    I don’t want all 3 contact lists mixed together. That will make my contact list way too long. I also don’t want to accidentially send to a mailing list with the wrong email (sender identity). A lot of lists will reject you mails, if it’s not the one you subscribed with.

    It’s not JUST a matter of setting filters! It is a royal pain! I will be checking out Thunderbird at this point. Windows Mail does not support MY needs.

    Next time try a product before you spew forth your vast Linux biased knowledge assuming the everyone has the same needs.

  10. No more email multi-tasking allowed???
    This is garbage!

    I have multiple businesses and have dozens of windows open at one time. So I’m supposed to log off, go to another account, open windows there and remember everything I’m doing?

    Stupid stupid people made this. Listen buddy boy Bill. You really fouled this up.

  11. incredimail
    I downloade incredimail. It is a copy of outlook express, but has an ugly skin to try and make you upgrade to the paid version. It actually works in vista and lets you make identities exacly the same way outlook did. Becouse it is almost exacly like outlook. Someone should be able to make something like it, without all the hype and junk of Incredimail.

  12. first off OUTLOOK and
    first off OUTLOOK and OUTLOOK express are NOT the same client .. OUTLOOK is part of Microsoft office .. Windows Mail included in vist has the same functionality as outlook EXPRESS .. if you want OUTLOOK then go buy MS office

  13. This is an Upgrade??
    I have to add to the chorus of new Vista users who are very disappointed with MS.
    I like many others need to have separate email accounts to keep tabs on different things.
    Why take things away? Why does every upgrade mean that things get more complicated, more difficult and more limited? At the very least MS don’t pee off those users you want to ween off your older software platforms.

  14. Windows Mail
    Add me to the chorus, I used oulook express for the families three seperate e-mail accounts, we loved the ease of use with identities, I do not want to spend hours setting up three seperate identities on my new computer, I started and it turned out to be much more complicated than I thought, not to set it up but to have set up and work the way I want. Also as stated faster to switch identity than to log on log off user—what a piece of stuff, hope they fix it, I have not really had any issues with Vista other than this, don’t know why they did away with file options.

    How much time does everyone have to wast because software designers seem to think they have to come up with better ways for things to work with each new edition–when the old did everything we want and worked fine.

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