At a Glance
- Ribbon puts all features in easy reach; Conversation view makes it easier to follow long conversations; It’s easy to send photo albums
- Doesn’t include powerful features, such as creating tasks
Manage your e-mail with this successor to Outlook Express and Windows Mail.
If you’re looking for an excellent, free mail client, you’ll do
well to install Windows Live Mail 2011. This newest version of
Microsoft’s free e-mail client has been significantly upgraded over
the previous version, and now includes a host of new features,
including a calendar pane and Microsoft Office‘s
Ribbon interface. It doesn’t include all the bells and whistles of
Microsoft Outlook, such as tasks and a full-blown calendar, but
given that it’s free, Windows Live Mail is well worth the
The new Ribbon puts all of the software’s capabilities within
easy reach. Ribbon-haters will not be pleased; everyone else will
be grateful for it. Another big addition is Conversation View,
which was first introduced in Outlook 2010, and has now been ported
over to Windows Live Mail. With it, you can more easily follow
threaded conversations in which multiple people participate.
Whenever there an e-mail has follow-ups, a small triangle appears
next to it. Click the triangle, and you’ll see a chronological list
of every message in the conversation. You can then click any
message to jump to it.
Windows Live Mail doesn’t just take features from Microsoft
Office and Outlook; it gets some from Hotmail as well, including
the ability to share photos with other over e-mail by creating a
photo album. It’s easy to do: Create an e-mail, click the photo
album icon, and then select your photos. Windows Live Mail puts
thumbnails of them all into a nice-looking photo album in your
e-mail. But it doesn’t actually send original pictures. Instead, it
stores them on Windows Live Skydrive, Microsoft’s free, cloud-based
storage service that offers 25GB of free space. Recipients of the
mail click thumbnails, and are then sent to get the original images
on SkyDrive. In that way, you don’t clog up people’s mailboxes with
Also useful are Windows Live Mail’s Quick Views, which will be
welcomed by people who use multiple e-mail accounts. You can, for
example, see all of your unread mail from all of your e-mail
accounts, in one location.
All in all, Windows Live Mail 2011 is an excellent upgrade to
the previous version of Windows Live Mail.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site,
where you can download the latest version of the software. During
the installation procedure, you’ll be asked if you want to install
the entire free Windows Live
Essentials package, or just Windows Live Mail. Windows Live
Essentials includes many other pieces of software, so you should
only install those components you plan to use.