Where is your email?

Do you know where your email is?

1. If you get to your inbox by opening your browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Chrome), you are using browser-based email – AKA webmail.  You get to see ads while seeing your mail.  Examples are Yahoo, Microsoft’s new ONLINE Outlook, or Gmail.  These guys actually “read” your mail and profile you so that they can tailor the ads for you personally.

2. If you get to your inbox by starting a program on your computer, you are using what is called “client-based” email.  It is a program on your computer that stores your contacts and your email on YOUR computer, instead of on some server somewhere out there on the Internet.

If you find all those ads annoying, you may want to consider an email program, as described in the latter.  There are a number of them:   Thunderbird, emclient, Windows Live Mail (WLM), for example

There are other reasons to use web mail programs:

  1. You get to keep your own email and contacts on your computer instead of someone else’s
  2. If you change email providers, you get to keep your email and contacts
  3. You do not see ads
  4. You have to back up your email and contacts
  5. You can use multiple email providers using the same email program

WLM is far and away the most popular email program in use today.  It was installed on most new PCs up to a few years ago as part of a suite name Windows Live Essentials.  If your computer is few years old, it likely is already there.

Microsoft and most other email providers intensely dislike email programs.  They earn money from putting those ads in your face.  In fact Microsoft email accounts have a lot of difficulty working with email programs.

There is only one place I know to still get WLM:


Some interesting background:  Back in the 90’s when Windows XP came out, they included a mail program name Outlook Express (OE).  It was actually meant to be a taster to sell Microsoft’s Outlook which is part of some versions of Office.  It became far and away the most popular and just stuck.  OE is one of the reasons so many people still use Windows XP. When Windows Vista came out, they included another email program that was named Windows Mail (WM).  It actually was Outlook Express with some improvements.  When Windows 7 came out, MS announced there would be no mail program with Win7.

While at the same time, a different MS team was creating Windows Live Essentials. That team wanted a mail program and found OE/WM and made some further improvements.  Then MS started paying OEMs to include Windows Live Essentials on their new computers.  WLM is much improved over the previous versions and is actually quite a bit better than Microsoft’s Outlook (the Outlook that is part of Office).

By the way, MS has caused endless confusion over the many similar names it has used for its many different products.  Today, MS sells Office with a mail program that includes Outlook which is much admired and used by enterprises.  It also has a webmail offering named, wait for it…. Outlook.