10 reasons why I’m abandoning Windows Live Mail

Hotmail Logo EvolutionI’ve finally had enough of Windows Live Mail after having used it for over 10 years. The only reason I’ve stuck with it this far is because so many people had my Live Mail address and were contacts on MSN Live (why do they have to insert that annoying word into everything they brand?) Messenger that it would have been a pain to change. The final straw came the other day when whilst trying to compose a message, a huge advertising banner covered half the page until I could no longer remove it or see who I was addressing it to.

When Windows Live Mail started, it was known as Hotmail – a simple, free and effective mail system launched in 1996 by a couple of programmers. It was one of the first free webmail systems on the market and within a year had over 8 million subscribers. It was sold later that year to Microsoft for around $400 million and for a while, not much changed. But particularly over the past 5 years, I’ve noticed that Windows Live Mail as it became know has become increasingly painful to use.

1. The first and perhaps most fundamental flaw is that it’s simply too slow. Logging into Windows Live Mail is like waiting for a bus to Mars compared to mail systems such as Gmail. I believe the reason for this is that is absolutely chock-full of a) Javascript and b) Advertising. This bloatedness has crashed the mail system, and even my browser, more times than I care to mention.

2. Adding links to messages is an absolute nightmare. Instead of automatically hyperlinking links, you have to highlight the link, click the hyperlink button and paste the link into the box. And in my experience, this only works once per e-mail! Any further links that I’ve tried to hyperlink the Javascript box to make it live simply won’t appear when I click the hyperlink button. I still haven’t worked out if this is a problem at my end or theirs but it seems like an unbelievable flaw.

3. Why does it not take you directly to your inbox as soon as you log-in? Once you’ve waited for it to finally load, you have to click on your inbox to see your mail. People are not interested in any other MSN products when they want to check their mail – they want to go straight to the mail itself but Microsoft just don’t seem to understand this.

4. When they finally managed to implement the long overdue step of predictive e-mail address typing, I found that it often didn’t work, or even crashed my browser! Again, it seems that this is a piece of Javascript that predicts the address before you type it but sometimes when you click on the address you want, it simply will not place it in the address field.

5. It’s so disorganised. Compared to Gmail’s revolutionary collation system, I just find that my inbox fills up in about 2 minutes often with messages from the same contacts. The same conversations in Gmail appear in one easy to read subject line with the number of threads in brackets next to it.

6. The junk filter is not effective. In Gmail, I get a handful of junk e-mails every month. In MSN Live Mail I get the same number almost every day. Yes, the Junk folder does fill-up but much of it still gets through to the inbox usually trying to sell me everything from Viagra to Rolex watches.

7. Unblocking content is a pain. It supposedly protects you from malicious content in mails but on many occasions, I find it’s perfectly safe but you have to click “View content” and then “Allow sender” before you can click on any links within the mail. This is a total pain.

8. It inserts annoying advertisement at the foot of outgoing e-mails.

9. The advertisement banners are tolerable but are never localised to your location. I’m sick of being offered mortgages in America or beckoned to join the University of Phoenix.

10, They keep relaunching and re-releasing it with more fanfare than a landing on the moon. It’s gone from the universally known Hotmail to MSN Hotmail and now Windows Live Mail with several logo changes.

The only thing I can find in MSN Live Mail’s favour over Gmail is that it includes folders although in reality, I don’t really use them much anyway.

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