Windows Mail is dead. Outlook Express is a distant memory. Microsoft’s free Windows 7 email client of choice is now Windows Live Mail, and if you take a closer look at the program that’s probably a very good move.
Live Mail has strong support for working with web mail accounts, for instance; a better contacts system in Windows Live Contacts; a useful RSS reader, quality calendar tool, inline spell checking, and more.
Some interface quirks and other odd design decisions means that getting all this working smoothly can take a while – but it doesn’t have to be that way.
We’ve spent some time discovering setup tricks and shortcuts, Live Mail secrets and some of the best add-on apps around, and with our help you’ll soon have total mastery over every Windows Live Mail feature.
When getting started with Windows Live Mail you’ll probably want to import your account settings from another email client, and naturally you’ll look first at the File > Import option. But that only allows the import of messages.
Don’t give up, though. What you need to do instead is export your old account data to IAF files (Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail all allow this). Then launch Windows Live Mail on the new system, click Tools > Accounts > Import, point the program at the *.IAF files and it will duplicate the accounts for you.
Working with Gmail
Creating new accounts in Windows Live Mail is easy, too (Tools > Accounts > Add > E-mail Account) – but the program isn’t restricted to regular POP3 accounts. And so if you want the program to access your Gmail account, for instance, that’s no problem at all, once you’ve learned a few key details.
Click the ‘Add e-mail account’ link, or Tools > Accounts > Add > E-mail Account.
Enter your Gmail email address and password in their respective boxes.
Enter your Display Name, your name as you’d like it to appear in the ‘From’ field of your Gmail emails. Then check the ‘Manually configure server settings for e-mail account’ box, and click Next.
Choose the ‘IMAP’ option for your incoming mail server, enter imap.gmail.com as the incoming server name, and set the Port to 993.
Check the ‘This server requires a secure connection (SSL)’ boxes for both the incoming and outgoing servers.
Set your outgoing server name to smtp.gmail.com, and the Port to 465.
Check ‘My outgoing server requires authentication’, and click Next > Finish to complete the job. Your Gmail folders will now appear. Select any you don’t want to synchronise with Windows Live Mail, click Hide, and messages within those folders won’t be downloaded. Otherwise, that’s it – you’ll be able to use Windows Live Mail to send and receive emails via your Gmail account.
Discover mail passwords
If you’re creating new Live Mail accounts from scratch then you’ll need to enter their passwords. And if you’re at all like us, you’ve probably forgotten most of them. (Unless you use the same password for everything, of course, which you really shouldn’t as it’s a security nightmare.)
Fortunately there’s an easy solution. Run a copy of Mail PassView on the PC containing an email client with all the details of your accounts, and the program will immediately display all their details: account name, server names and types, user names, and of course the passwords. The program works with Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Live Mail, Thunderbird and many other apps, so there’s a very good chance it’ll work for you.
Set the default email client
If you didn’t make Windows Live Mail your default email client during installation, then you can do so at any time by clicking Tools > Options > General, and selecting ‘Make Default’ for ‘This application is NOT the default Mail handler’.
Or, if you’d like to have the program to check whether it’s the default mail program when it loads, but it doesn’t do that any more, then you can restore this default behaviour with a quick Registry tweak. Simply launch REGEDIT, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail\mail, double-click No Check Default in the right-hand pane and set it to 1. (Create this if it doesn’t exist; it’s a DWORD32 value.)
Find important messages
Every good email client has to make it easy to locate the messages you need. And Windows Live Mail does this via its ‘Quick views’, revealing in a click your unread email, or unread messages from your contacts. You’re not restricted to the default views, though, and others can be added in just a few seconds.
You’ll occasionally receive some emails that are particularly important, for example: maybe they contain some information you’ll need to act on later, or perhaps it’s vital that they get a reply. You can highlight these messages by clicking the flag icon within a folder, but you’ll still need to go browsing through those folders to stand a chance of spotting them.
The answer? Click ‘Quick views’, then the spanner icon to the right, check ‘Flagged items’, click OK, and a new ‘Flagged items’ view will appear. Click this whenever you like and you’ll see only the important emails that you’ve highlighted, a quick and easy reminder of any messages that you still need to deal with.