|A component of Microsoft Windows|
Mail running on Windows 10 in light mode
|Included with||Windows Vista, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Holographic|
|Also available for||Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1|
|Replaces||Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail|
Mail is an email and newsgroup client developed by Microsoft and included in the Windows Vista, 8, and 10 operating systems. The main feature of Mail is sending and receiving email. 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. The different versions do not share a common code base, but they share similar functionality. Like in Outlook and Outlook Express, Mail uses Control + E, not Control + F, to search.
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. It is, however, integrated with Windows Calendar.
Windows Live Mail was introduced in 2007 as an alternative to Windows Mail. Windows Live Mail also serves as the successor to Outlook Express on Windows XP. Unlike Windows Mail, Live Mail was packaged as part of the Windows Essentials suite and was not pre-installed in any version of Windows. Live Mail was intended for Windows 7, which does not have a built-in mail client, and it is also compatible with systems running Windows XP or later.
After Outlook.com stopped supporting Windows Live Mail in June 2016, Microsoft positioned Mail as an alternative. Unlike Live Mail, the Windows 8 and 10 versions of Mail supports Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol.
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 and relied on WinFS for the management and storage of contacts and other data.
While retaining support for POP and IMAP based e-mail servers, Outlook Express 7 dropped support for HTTP, which is a change that would remain in the version of Windows Mail that shipped with Windows Vista.
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 is bundled with Windows, not Internet Explorer.
Differences from Outlook Express
- Windows Mail uses IPv6 if the domain name for the servers resolves to IPv6.
- 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. 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.
- 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, but it does integrate with the People app, which integrates with Skype in Windows 10 versions 1607 or later.
- 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.
- The ability to use the spell checking dictionaries of MS Office (when installed) has been removed.
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 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.
- Windows Mail has a documented COM-based API. Previously, the Outlook Express object model was undocumented, except for Simple MAPI messaging functionality.
- Windows Vista Mail only supports American English, French, German and Spanish (International Sort).
A new version of Mail with a text-heavy was added to Windows 8 as one of many apps written to run full-screen or snapped as part of Microsoft's Metro design language philosophy. It is one of three apps on Windows that originate from Microsoft Outlook, from which the Calendar and People apps also originate. Structurally, the three apps are one, but each has its own user interface. Mail in Windows 8 comes with preset server configurations for popular email services Outlook.com, Exchange, Gmail, AOL, and Yahoo. Other IMAP accounts can be configured, but it does not directly support POP (Post Office Protocol). Even though this app does not run on the Windows desktop, it has multi-window support. Like many Microsoft apps introduced for Windows 8, many of the features are hidden in the Charms Bar or a menu at the bottom of the screen that is triggered by right clicking. When a user with a Microsoft account adds an email account on one computer with Windows 8 Mail, the account will be automatically added to all other Windows 8 computers the user is logged into.
Mail has preset server configurations for Outlook.com, Exchange, Gmail, iCloud, and Yahoo. AOL and custom IMAP accounts can still be added, and POP support is added back in Windows 10 Mail. Mail is integrated with and provides links to Calendar and People. Calendar is structurally the same app as Mail, but the two have different, complementary user interfaces; People is a standalone app that integrates with various Windows 10 apps, such as Mail and Calendar, Xbox, and Skype. It shares a similar design with Outlook.com's People manager but can be configured more.
Users can set Windows 10 Mail to use the system theme or choose a custom accent color, background image, and light/dark preference. It has multi-window support and can open .eml files in a new window;. eml files are listed in Mail's jumplist. Mail uses a settings panel, email sorting tools in the second pane, and a mini Ribbon interface in the viewing pane. Like the Vista version of Mail, this version's important controls are readily visible. Accounts can be grouped and relabeled, and folders can be created from within the app. Most existing folders can be edited or deleted in Mail, but default folders cannot be. It is possible to use Outlook.com aliases and @mentions with Mail.
Mail is missing an RSS reader and the ability to customize the default type and font. Microsoft has not announced plans to add these features. As of November 2016, many of the top-voted feedback items in the Windows Feedback Hub are related to Mail, but many of the requested features and changes have been added to Mail.
- Features new to Windows Vista
- Features new to Windows 8
- Features new to Windows 10
- Comparison of email clients
- Comparison of Usenet newsreaders
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