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Send and Receive E-Mail on Your Surface

The Windows 8’s Mail app on the Surface tablet does a no-frills job of sending and receiving e-mail. It’s free, pre-installed, includes a spell checker, and, if you’ve added your social accounts, it’s already filled with the e-mail addresses of your friends.

In fact, you don’t even need to open the Mail app to see what’s new. The Mail app includes a live tile, meaning it constantly updates with the latest information. When you glance at the Start screen, your Mail tile behaves like a mini-billboard, displaying the first few lines of your unread e-mails and their senders’ names.

The Mail app sends and receives e-mail only from the accounts listed in the Accounts pane, which includes e-mail from Hotmail, Google’s Gmail, America Online,, and Yahoo!. If you want to read mail from other mail servers, you have two options:

  • Read it online: Launch the Internet Explorer app with a tap of its Start screen tile. Then visit your mail server’s website and read your e-mail online. It bypasses the Mail app, but it’s an easy solution.

  • Import it to Gmail or Outlook: In this rather convoluted process, you must set up a supported account to import the e-mail from your unsupported account.

    Visit the settings area on Outlook, or Gmail. Find the setting where you can import mail from another account. There, enter your e-mail account’s username and password. You may also need to enter more complicated information like the site’s POP3 and SMTP addresses, found from your mail company’s website or technical support staff.

  • After a supported account imports your other account’s e-mail, it routes that account’s mail to the Mail app, letting you read everything in one place.

Microsoft eventually plans to support more mail services in its Mail app, sparing you from jumping through these admittedly uncomfortable hoops.

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