I asked my friends over on the Windows Twitter account what some of the questions are that they receive on a regular basis. One of the most common ones they are seeing fired at them lately from newcomers to the operating system is “How do I get my email on Windows 7?”
One of the key differences between Windows 7 and Windows XP and Vista is the lack of an email client. While past versions of Windows included Outlook Express or Windows Mail, depending on which operating system you upgraded from, Windows 7 lacks an email client as part of the install. You can, of course, use an online version of your mail client or even sign up for a free Gmail account. However, many of us still rely on our trusty desktop clients. What are you supposed to do in Windows 7 then?
If you want that desktop experience and liked Outlook Express in older versions of Windows, then you’ll likely enjoy Windows Live Mail. It’s a free download, but you will need to sign up for an account. When you complete your registration, you’ll have access to several different features and functions if you choose to use them:
Get 25 GB of free online storage on SkyDrive. Use it to save your files or share photos and videos.
Windows Live Photo Gallery can help you remove red eye, create amazing panoramas, and more.
Now you can stop emailing files to yourself. Keep docs, photos, and other files in sync across your PCs.
Hotmail to access your email anywhere you may be.
Windows Live Messenger helps you stay connected to friends.
Windows Live Mail helps you organize your life into one place on your computer. Add multiple accounts such as Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! and more. You can browse your email, calendars and contacts when your Internet connection isn’t on.
I remember using Internet Mail and News – MSIMN. That’s how many years I’ve been around online. That’s the first graphical email client released by Microsoft and it may still be something you can launch from your machine.
I’m a big email user and admit that I prefer OS X. However, I will admit that Windows Live Mail is beautiful. The layout is clean and awesome. It’s slick… it’s good. I definitely recommend it.
Sean Carver is a rock star. No, seriously – he’s one of the guys at Microsoft who has always listened to my feedback. Not sure he’s always able to push my suggestions through the pipeline, but he really does listen (and I wish I could say that about more people I kenw). Microsoft just launched v8 of their Messenger product. It’s good, and I’d recommend it over previous versions of Microsoft’s IM client, but there are a few things that are holding it back from being great:
Yay: Cleaner, more efficient UI. I’m still not going to switch from Trillian 2.0, but I’m not immediately turned off by Windows Live Messenger’s interface. It’s still a bit laden with oversights, but not so many that it’s painful to use.
Boo: Advertisement overkill. Seriously, can’t I just pay to remove all ads from all Windows Live / MSN services? That, to me, would be worth $100 a year. Enough with the upsells, man – some of us just want to connect with friends and co-workers.
Yay: Yahoo! IM interoperability is coming. While this is a huge step in the right direction, I think more people would opt for the Yahoo! IM experience – which is far less annoying and contains fewer (if any) ads.
Boo: I don’t use MSN Spaces, I don’t use Windows Media Player, I don’t use Windows Live Mail, I don’t use Windows Live Search – but that’s all I can get to through Windows Live Messenger (go figure).
Yay: You can easily change the color of the window. Sounds like a minor feature, but try a few different colors on for size. It’s kinda nice!
Yay: You can import favorites from your del.icio.us account. Of course, I don’t use del.icio.us because they’re still blocking Gada.be – but it shows that Microsoft is willing to think outside their own universe (if only for importing).
Boo: You can’t control conversation fonts. I hate when people use 84pt Courier New to send messages to me. They think it’s wonderful – I don’t. And now, apparently, there’s no way of turning that off? Gah. Big mistake.
There, at least my impressions weren’t completely negative – but as I mentioned before, I’ll be sticking with Trillian 2.0 for the time being (going on record as stating that Trillian 3.0 is a performance dog). Windows Live Messenger 8.0 is certainly an improvement over 7.5. No instant messaging client is perfect, but if I were Microsoft, I’d start paying attention to Google. They hired the GAIM guy for Google Talk, ya know? No matter, I’m glad that Sean Carver’s team got this one out the door – but I want them to invite me into their office to make 8.5 a little more power-user friendly.