The Bottom Line
- Windows Live Mail comes with reasonably effective spam filtering and fast message search
- You can access Windows Live Hotmail accounts seamlessly with Windows Live Mail
- Windows Live Mail integrates a calendar, instant messaging and RSS news feeds
- Windows Live Mail does not offer custom smart folders
- You cannot organize your mail using labels or reply with templates
- Windows Live Mail offers little integration between email and calendar
- Windows Live Mail lets you manage POP, IMAP and Windows Live Hotmail accounts as well as RSS news feeds.
- Search folders aggregate certain messages from different accounts and sources in one place.
- Fast search makes it a snap to find emails (within accounts) in Windows Live Mail.
- Spam and phishing filters send or block unwanted or dangerous content.
- Windows Live Mail uses your Windows Live Hotmail and Messenger address book.
- You can send rich photo emails to share images; Windows Live Mail uses SkyDrive for storage automatically.
- Windows Live Mail blocks remote content by default, and you can choose to read all mail as plain text.
- Simple rules can sort incoming mail or forward it, for example. You can flag messages for later.
- Integration with Windows Live Calendar lets you turn emails into appointments easily.
- Windows Live Mail supports Windows Vista/7.
Guide Review - Windows Live Mail 2011 15.4 - Free Email Program
You can access your Windows Live Calendar in Windows Live Mail comfortably, but interaction is spotty; dates in emails are not detected, for example, to mark them quickly on the calendar. Using fast search, you can find emails fast, but Windows Live Mail does not relate messages to each other and contacts easily; the helpful conversation view does thread messages, though.
Search folders can aggregate all unread mail, for example, but you cannot define your own terms. You can post to a Windows Live Spaces blog, but not really from within Windows Live Mail.
All right: enough of the names. As an email application, Windows Live Mail is pretty good. Its IMAP support could be snappier, but basically all of POP, IMAP and Windows Live Hotmail accounts are supported well.
Solid spam and phishing filtering is applied to all, and the existing search folders are useful. When sending email, you can create snazzy photo messages, picking from a number of borders. The original, high-resolution images are posted to SkyDrive to keep the emails small. Email stationery from Windows Mail, alas, is not supported.
Integration with Windows Live Messenger lets you send instant messages, well, instantly. The address book used by Windows Messenger is also your Windows Live Messenger or Windows Live Hotmail address book and stays in sync automatically.