Mail (Windows)

This article is about the built-in app and Outlook Express replacement. For the free downloadable Microsoft mail client, see Windows Live Mail. For the pre-Exchange Microsoft email product, see Windows for Workgroups Mail.
A component of Microsoft Windows

Mail running on Windows 10 in light mode
Type Email client
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
Related components

Mail is an email and newsgroup client developed by Microsoft and included in the Windows Vista, 8, and 10 operating systems.[1][2] The main feature of Mail is sending and receiving email.[3] 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.[4] 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.

Windows Mail was announced by Microsoft as the successor to Outlook Express on October 10, 2005 via its community website Channel 9.[5]

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.[4] It is, however, integrated with Windows Calendar.

Windows Live Mail was introduced in 2007 as an alternative to Windows Mail.[6][7] 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.[8]

After 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.[9]


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[10] and relied on WinFS for the management and storage of contacts and other data.[11]

While retaining support for POP and IMAP based e-mail servers, Outlook Express 7 dropped support for HTTP,[12] which is a change that would remain in the version of Windows Mail that shipped with Windows Vista.[13]


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 Vista

A screenshot of Windows Mail displaying a user's Inbox folder

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.

Windows 8

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, Exchange, Gmail, AOL, and Yahoo. Other IMAP accounts can be configured,[18] 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.

Windows 10

Mail has preset server configurations for, Exchange, Gmail, iCloud, and Yahoo.[19][20][21] AOL and custom IMAP accounts can still be added, and POP support is added back in Windows 10 Mail.[19][21][22] 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'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;.[23] 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.[24] It is possible to use aliases and @mentions with Mail.

Unlike Outlook for Windows PCs and Macs, Mail allows users to set up Quick Actions, such as Delete, Set Flag, and Archive, to respond to messages from system notifications and swipe gestures.[25]

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.

See also


  1. Branscombe, Mary (3 July 2013). "Mail in Windows 8.1: how Microsoft is finally giving it some power". TechRadar. Future US. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  2. Warren, Thomas "Tom" (22 April 2015). "Windows 10 preview now includes new Outlook mail app and theme tweaks". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  3. "Set up Mail and add contacts". Windows Help. Microsoft. Retrieved 2015-08-28.
  4. 1 2 Piltzecker, Tony (April 11, 2007). "Vista Mail vs. Outlook Express". Datamation. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  5. scobleizer (2005-09-16). "The new Outlook Express: Windows Mail demoed". Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  6. Gregg Keizer (2007-06-01). "Microsoft gives Vista's Windows Mail the heave-ho". Computerworld. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  7. Gralla, Preston (2010-11-04). "Windows Live Mail". PCWorld. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  8. "Download Windows Live Mail For Windows 10". Into Windows. Archived from the original on Jan 5, 2016.
  9. Team, Outlook (5 May 2016). "Using Windows Live Mail 2012 with Time to update your email application!".
  10. Thurrott, Paul. "Windows Longhorn Build 4051 Gallery 3". Supersite for Windows. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  11. Jennings, Roger (February 1, 2004). "Get a Grip on Longhorn". MVP Magazine. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  12. Wei-Meng Lee (May 18, 2004). "A First Look at Longhorn". O'Reilly Media. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  13. Microsoft. "Windows Mail: Setting up an account from start to finish". Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  14. "UNINETT: IPv6hostswindows".
  15. "E-mail identities in Windows Mail". Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  16. "Windows Mail Programmability". 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  17. "Developer Support Limitations with Outlook Express". 2005-06-25. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  18. "Set up iCloud mail account on the Windows 8 mail app". 19 June 2013.
  19. 1 2 "Set up email in Mail for Windows 10". Microsoft. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  20. Casey, Henry T. (10 February 2016). "How to Set Up iCloud Email and Calendars on Windows 10". LAPTOP.
  21. 1 2 "A closer look at the new Mail app on Windows 10". MSPoweruser. 7 April 2015.
  22. Stobing, Chris (14 August 2015). "How to Configure a POP3 Email Account in Windows 10". How-To Geek.
  23. "Newest Windows 10 'Redstone 2' test build adds new Outlook Mail features".
  25. "What's new in Mail and Calendar for Windows 10".

External links

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