Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Alternatives to Outlook Express – move on!

It is 2010 and I still notice a lot of people on Windows XP using Outlook Express to check their mail. No, This isn’t another post about moving on to a newer version of Windows. I am writing this to point out that Outlook Express is obsolete and should not be used under any circumstance.

Here's your legacy - Outlook Express

Outlook Express – The mail client that was bundled with Windows (till XP) is no longer supported. It is also highly vulnerable to present-day threats that can prove to be very expensive later. Using Outlook cannot be an excuse today since there are many workarounds and alternatives for Windows XP users.


Migration is one factor that is holding up many users from upgrading to a better, more secure email client. This article at Vista4beginners explains you how to successfully migrate your email account from Outlook to Windows Mail on Vista. It should be applicable for other mail clients too.


There’s a HUGE myth among many users that their work mail wouldn’t function in a newer email client and that’s totally false. Any mail client in the market today will work with a POP3/IMAP mail system; In fact, they will work better than your ‘legacy’ software.

What do I upgrade to?

If you’ve got Office 2007/2010 installed you might want to try using Microsoft Outlook. It provides improved functionality and is a lot better than Outlook Express. Personally, I am not a big fan of Microsoft Outlook and I’d always suggest the free alternatives.

Below is a list of Free Alternatives to Outlook Express.

Mozilla Thunderbird:

This is probably the best email client you can find. It is not bloated like Microsoft Outlook and sports a clean interface. There are many interesting Extensions for Thunderbird to improve your email experience. [Download Thunderbird]

Windows Live Mail:

Windows Live Mail is a part of the amazing ‘Windows Live Essentials’ collection. The latest version of Windows Live Mail i.e. 2011 needs at least Windows Vista to work. But, XP users can still use the previous version. If you use Hotmail for your primary email address, you should definitely consider this program. The Live Essentials suite also contains useful software in addition to Live Mail like Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and Windows Live Mesh – A Dropbox Alternative. [Download Windows Live Essentials for XP | for the rest of us]

Opera Mail:

Opera Mail is built right into Opera Browser. So If you use Opera on your system, you already have Opera Mail installed. Opera Mail is known for its speed and ease of use. It also has a low bandwidth mode which makes syncing your emails faster. [Download Opera]


Seriously. Have you used Gmail’s Web Interface? It’s an email client ‘Killer’ If I should say so. Gmail can collect your external work mail via POP3/IMAP. You can also reply to those mails from Gmail using your work mail address. This article from About.com gives you a detailed explanation about setting up Gmail to collect email from other accounts.

If you are using Outlook Express, it would probably be for your work-email or your own domain. Consider suggesting your IT department to move on to Google Apps. Doing so, will get you the Gmail interface instead of the dumb ones many companies still use. This also eliminates the need for an external email client since Gmail is robust. There’s also an option to use Gmail (or Google Apps mail) when you are Offline which means you will be totally set for life without a buggy email client in your desktop.

So, are you ready to move on?