Microsoft just released a preview version of its new cloud-based Outlook.com email service, and it's a winner, much better than Windows 8's underpowered Mail app. Here are five reasons it beats Windows 8 mail.
You can create mail rules
Anyone beset by email overload -- which means everyone who uses email -- needs tools to help manage their mail. Chief among them is the ability to create mail rules that will automate the handling of messages, for example, automatically sending mail from your boss to a Boss folder, from your family to a Family folder, and so on. Outlook.com does it. Windows 8 Mail doesn't.
You can create mail folders
It may well be that I'm missing something (and please tell me if I am), but I can't seem to find a way to do one of the most basic things possible in the Windows 8 Mail app in Hotmail -- creating new folders. It's a breeze to do on Outlook.com.
It uses threaded messaging
Following a lengthy conversation in Windows 8 Mail can be a very confusing experience, because it doesn't use threaded messaging. (Or at least I haven't found out how to do it.) That means you'll have to hunt through old email to find all previous messages in the conversation. Outlook.com, just like the client version of Outlook, includes threaded messaging.
More and better options for responding to mail
On Outlook.com, there's an Actions link on each of your incoming emails. Click it and you get a slew of options for taking action on the mail, including replying, forwarding, deleting, marking it as junk, marketing it as unread, deleting all messages from the sender, printing it, viewing the message source, and more. You don't get nearly that many options in the Windows 8 Mail client.
It's far more customizable
Outlook.com is more like a mail client than a cloud-based mail service in many ones, one of which is the many options you get for customizing the way it looks and works, including configuring fonts, your signature, changing privacy settings, and much more. Windows 8 doesn't offer nearly as many options.
Preston Gralla is a contributing editor for Computerworld, and the author of more than 40 books, including "How the Internet Works," "Windows XP Hacks," and "Windows Vista in a Nutshell" and "NOOK Tablet: The Missing Manual." You can follow him on Twitter or Google+.
This story, "Microsoft Outlook.com: 5 Reasons it Beats Windows 8 Mail" was originally published by Computerworld.