Mail for Windows 7

Yes, there is an excellent mail program that works well in Windows 7.  It is called Windows Live Mail (WLM) and is part of a free download from Microsoft called Windows Live Essentials.

Programs like WLM work very differently from typical “Webmail” programs like Gmail, Outlook.com, or Yahoo mail. Instead of your logging on their web page(s), your WLM does it for you.  You get the privilege of not having to wade through their commercials.  WLM works very efficiently and gives you complete control over your mail, where it is stored (on your computer now) and your contact list.  Should you ever to decide to change or add email providers, nothing is lost.

Outlook Express had been around for more than a decade. A very large number of people were very comfortable with it and had depended on it for years. It was originally an after-thought by Microsoft to add a bit of sweetener to Windows 98. It was a sort of downgraded or de-featured copy of their premier product Outlook which is part of Microsoft Office. When Windows XP came about, it continued as part of that version of Windows. When Vista came out, a “new” mail client was introduced called Windows Mail. As it turned out, it was a some-what improved version of Outlook Express.

Then Microsoft put on a billion dollar press to create an online Microsoft presence. Sort of like AOL or Yahoo.  A big hire was made. A fortune was spent. A thing called “Windows Live” was created. Windows LIve is a whole world of applications.  Windows Live is now re-named Windows Essentials. It even includes a sort of online version of Word. MSN Mail, which had earlier become HotMail, became Live Mail, and more lately Outlook (not the Outlook you find at the store). Do you find this all a bit confusing? I do! Google the words windows live and mail and you will find a plethora of what may be related or not.

At this point, the whole Live thing is pretty much a flop. The big muckity muck they hired to build it has gone to some other place.

Then Windows 7 was introduced. This time with much fanfare it was announced that Windows 7 did NOT have a mail program.

One of the elements of Live is a thing called “Windows Live Mail.” Does this sound confusing? You bet! I have spent hours and hours trying to find out what it is. It sounded like it was yet another name for HotMail — now re-named Live Mail. Is this a mail system that stores your mail on Microsoft servers or on your own computer? This is a key issue to many. Personally I am not willing to trust the storage and portability of my mail and contacts information to any company’s servers.

After all this research, I finally discovered that Windows Live Mail is in fact an email program that is really an improved version of the original Outlook Express. It includes a calendar tool, very much like the one in Outlook, a spam filter, some real improvements in displays.  Windows Live Mail comes with its own spell checker and works on the fly just like in Word.

Windows Live Mail is a free download that you can get without all the other stuff that you probably will not want. You have to be careful when you start this download to select just the pieces you want. At least Microsoft does offer this choice unlike Apple’s iTunes download. Windows Live Mail works in Vista and 7.

Windows Live Mail is part of a set named Windows Live Essentials.  You really won’t want the rest of the pieces and you selectively install what you want.  Microsoft no longer supports any mail program other than webmail (in which you use your browser to access your email and get to see lots of ads).  However, you can (for now) still get it at:

http://web.archive.org/web/20170112124505/http://wl.dlservice.microsoft.com/download/C/1/B/C1BA42D6-6A50-4A4A-90E5-FA9347E9360C/en/wlsetup-all.exe