Windows Live Mail Desktop: First Impressions

This new mail client, based on Outlook Express, delivers more simplicity than its descriptive but uninspiring name (will the next Excel be called “Windows Live Spreadsheet Desktop”?)

At first sight, the program seems completely new, with a UI inspired by Vista and those soft, rounded edges… In reality, the foundation is clearly Outlook Express, as any visit to the options or the menus will show. Support for IMAP is improved (goodbye, “Purge”), although still wobbly (slow interaction with subfolders). Spellcheck is inline, and ads are back, something that Outlook Express lost long ago.

The UI is promising, but there’s a lack of visual contrast between the four vertical panes (shortcuts, list of messages, preview and ads), and between the different accounts in the shortcuts.

Hotmail/Livemail support is similar to Outlook Express – solid, but without support for the newer features in Hotmail, such as junk management.

Gmail support is claimed, but this relies on Gmail’s POP support. Nothing impressive there (the program started downloading two years worth of Gmail messages, which was not my intention.)

It appears that this client can import messages from PST, but not access a PST folder in the way that Outlook can

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