| By Woody Leonhard |
If you use Outlook Express in Windows XP or Windows Mail in Vista, you need to wake up and smell the cyanide; Microsoft gave up on both e-mail programs years ago, and it’s time you followed suit.
Now that the company has dropped OE and Windows Mail — and yanked e-mail from Windows 7 altogether — think about moving your mail and contacts to an alternative e-mail app.
Windows Live Mail isn’t your only e-mail option
Nothing shows the callous nature of the software business like a vendor’s decision to discontinue a program that millions of people have used for years. That’s what happened when Microsoft abandoned Outlook Express (OE) and Windows Mail. Bugs in both programs have lingered for a decade. And tech support? You gotta be kidding.
Microsoft’s abandonment becomes complete with the release of Windows 7, which doesn’t have any e-mail client built in. While it’s theoretically possible to steal a copy of Windows Mail from a Vista computer and get it to run under Windows 7, you’d have fewer stability problems running the QE II on a fleet of North Korean bicycles.
Microsoft makes no bones about the fact that it wants you to switch from OE or Windows Mail to a new program called, disingenuously, Windows Live Mail — part of the Windows Live Essentials that I discussed in my Feb. 19 column. Microsoft has gone so far as to announce on the Windows Live help page that effective September 1, you won’t be able to access your Hotmail account using Outlook Express. You either have to reconfigure OE or convert to Windows Live Mail.
Alternatives for OE and Windows Mail users
Since you need to change e-mail programs anyway, this is a good time to look at your alternatives. Microsoft ain’t the only game in town.
If you run OE or Windows Mail and you plan on moving to Windows 7, you can avoid some of the conversion hassles by transitioning to your new mail program before you upgrade to Win7. This gives you time to get the kinks worked out before the new OS arrives in October.