Windows Mail

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Not to be confused with Mail (Windows).
This article is about the Outlook Express replacement. For the newer Microsoft mail client, see Windows Live Mail. For the pre-Exchange Microsoft email product, see Windows for Workgroups Mail.
Windows Mail
A component of Microsoft Windows
Windows Mail logo.png
Windows Mail Vista.png
A screenshot of Windows Mail displaying a user's Inbox folder.
Type Email client, News client
Included with Windows Vista
Replaces Outlook Express
Replaced by Windows Live Mail

Windows Mail is an email and newsgroup client developed by Microsoft and included in the Windows Vista operating system. Windows Mail included fairly minimal changes to the application's user interface, but introduced major architectural changes when compared with its predecessor, Outlook Express, and is a fundamentally different application.[1]

Windows Mail was announced by Microsoft as the successor to Outlook Express on October 10, 2005 via its community website Channel 9.[2]

Unlike Outlook Express, which was available for versions of Windows in the 9x series and Windows NT, Windows Mail is not available for operating systems prior to Windows Vista, and is also not as tightly integrated with the Internet Explorer web browser.[1]

Windows Mail was superseded by Windows Live Mail in 2007.[3][4] Windows Live Mail also serves as the successor to Outlook Express on Windows XP.


Outlook Express 7[edit]

The origins of Windows Mail can be traced back to a pre-release version of Outlook Express 7 included in early builds of Windows Vista, then known by its codename, "Longhorn." This version of Outlook Express introduced various changes to the application's interface[5] and relied on WinFS for the management and storage of contacts and other data.[6]

While retaining support for POP and IMAP based e-mail servers, Outlook Express 7 dropped support for HTTP,[7] which is a change that would remain in the version of Windows Mail that shipped with Windows Vista.[8]

Differences from Outlook Express[edit]

New features[edit]

Although the Windows Mail interface has only minor differences from Outlook Express, such as the toolbar icons being replaced to reflect the interface in Windows Vista and some interface features incorporated from Outlook 2003 including the right-hand "reading pane", larger changes have been made hidden from the user.

Microsoft bundled Outlook Express with all versions of Internet Explorer up to Internet Explorer 6, but Outlook Express was not bundled with Internet Explorer 7 and later versions. Windows Mail was not bundled with Internet Explorer.

  • Windows Mail uses IPv6 if the domain name for the servers resolves to IPv6.[9]
  • Mail messages are now stored in individual files instead of in a single database file. A transactional index database based on the Extensible Storage Engine enables real-time searching and improves the stability and the reliability of the stored data.[citation needed] In case of corruption, the indices can be rebuilt from the mail files.
  • Account setup information is no longer stored in the registry. It is instead stored alongside the mail itself, making it possible to copy an entire Windows Mail configuration and mail store to another machine in a single step.
  • Features like Bayesian junk-mail filtering and top-level domain and encoding blocking have been added.
  • A phishing filter has been incorporated as well, protecting users from web sites that have been identified as being malicious.
  • Additionally, Microsoft Help Groups has been added, which is a preconfigured link to Microsoft's newsgroups. Some additional functionality has been layered on top of the standard newsgroup functionality to have individual threads be marked as a "question" or an "answered question". Postings may be rated as well.
  • With the release of Windows Vista, Windows Mail has a documented COM-based API.[10] Previously, the Outlook Express object model was undocumented, except for Simple MAPI messaging functionality.[11]

Removed features[edit]

Unlike its predecessor Outlook Express, Windows Mail does not have WebDAV, making it incapable of accessing web-based email services through WebDAV. Although Outlook Express integrates with Windows Messenger, Windows Mail has no such integration as Windows Messenger is no longer included. A more full-featured free downloadable application, Windows Live Mail integrates with Windows Live Contacts.

Unlike Outlook Express, Windows Mail does not allow users to switch Identities or manage multiple identities within one running instance of the program. Instead, identities are now tied to the Windows user account and to create additional users or identities, a new Windows user account has to be created.[12]

The ability to use the spell checking dictionaries of MS Office (when installed) has been removed. Windows Mail only supports American English, French, German and Spanish (International Sort).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Piltzecker, Tony (April 11, 2007). "Vista Mail vs. Outlook Express". Datamation. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  2. ^ scobleizer (2005-09-16). "The new Outlook Express: Windows Mail demoed". Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  3. ^ Gregg Keizer (2007-06-01). "Microsoft gives Vista's Windows Mail the heave-ho". Computerworld. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  4. ^ Gralla, Preston (2010-11-04). "Windows Live Mail". PCWorld. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  5. ^ Thurrott, Paul. "Windows Longhorn Build 4051 Gallery 3". Supersite for Windows. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  6. ^ Jennings, Roger (February 1, 2004). "Get a Grip on Longhorn". MVP Magazine. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  7. ^ Wei-Meng Lee (May 18, 2004). "A First Look at Longhorn". O'Reilly Media. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  8. ^ Microsoft. "Windows Mail: Setting up an account from start to finish". Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  9. ^ "UNINETT: IPv6hostswindows". 
  10. ^ "Windows Mail Programmability". 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  11. ^ "Developer Support Limitations with Outlook Express". 2005-06-25. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  12. ^ "E-mail identities in Windows Mail". Retrieved 2013-07-29.