Whatever Happened to Microsoft Outlook Express?

When users upgraded from Windows XP (XP) or Windows Vista to Windows 7, expectations were probably high. The widely publicized enhancements of its new desktop and the additional features of the operating system were highly anticipated by millions of Windows followers worldwide. Indeed, Windows 7 did not disappoint us in that sense. It was faster and full of new features.

What caught some users by surprise, however, was that Outlook Express (OE), or at least a suitable replacement, was missing. OE, the ever so simple but ever so reliable e-mail client that we have come to depend on all these years was gone. It was simple, yes; but it did the job without making it complicated. It could even connect to Gmail, Yahoo! and Hotmail. Whatever happened to that boring old e-mail client?

If you were wondering, Microsoft decided to scrap Outlook Express in XP and Windows Mail in Vista in favor of Windows Live Mail (WLM) for Windows 7. So what is Windows Live Mail really? It is an e-mail client that forms part of the Windows Live Essentials package. Just like its predecessors, it also has a calendar, an RSS reader and a newsgroup reader.

What sets it apart from its older brothers is the design of its interface. The new layout has many similarities to the applications included in Microsoft Office 2007. It is also easier to use and loaded with more features. The best part of it all is that it is free. It may not come already included with your Windows 7 installation, so you will have to download it off the Internet if that is the case. Now let us take a closer look at it.



The layout features a clean design with all the folders placed on the left side. The menu system, located at the top, is similar to Microsoft Word 2007 which uses the ribbon to separate the menu items. This makes it easier to navigate to the various options in the menu. It also has a Quick Access toolbar, which provides easy access to the most common commands used in the program. Importing items such as messages, accounts and address book entries is also a breeze with this e-mail client.

However, if you are importing messages from Microsoft Outlook, you will find that there is no provision to import pst files. You will have to transfer your messages to OE first before you can copy them to WLM. The e-mail function is straightforward and easy to understand. Reading, composing and sending messages is just as simple as in Outlook Express.

Using e-mail does not have to be a complicated process; and it is very evident that the creators of this program kept that into consideration when they designed WLM. Using it does take a little getting used to because it is somewhat different from Outlook Express; but once you are acquainted with it, it is very easy to use. It is unfortunate though that it does not have a provision to import pst files considering that it is a Microsoft product. You could download a pst file viewer if you must continue to have access to emails in Outlook pst files.

Overall, Windows Live Mail is a welcome replacement to the older e-mail clients. You should try it before moving on to another e-mail program. You can download it from explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials.