How to Run Windows (Formerly Live) Mail
Most people know Windows (formerly Live) Mail in Windows 8.1 as the progeny of the venerable, if quirky Outlook Express. The fact that Microsoft has three — yes, three — completely different e-mail programs called “Windows Mail” may trip you up.
If you’ve installed Windows (formerly Live) Mail and want to run it for the first time, take these steps — and precautions:
Start Windows Mail by tapping or clicking the Metro All Apps tile or, if you followed my advice, by clicking the Windows Live Mail icon (yes, it’s called Windows Live Mail) on the desktop taskbar.
WLM whizzes and gurgles for a bit and then shows you the Add Your E-mail Accounts dialog box.
If you have a Hotmail/Outlook.com account (or Xbox account, or any other duly registered Microsoft account) and you want to use Windows Live Mail to access that account, click or tap the line that says Sign in to Windows Live. Fill in the information from your Hotmail account. Click Sign In.
Note that you have to fill in your account information, even if you’ve logged on to Windows with a Microsoft account. Windows isn’t smart enough to fill it in for you.
Starting with a Hotmail/Outlook.com account is a quick and easy way to get going with Windows Live Mail: WLM understands Hotmail/Outlook.com, and you don’t have to futz with any settings.
On the other hand, you may want to use a conventional e-mail account, in which case you need to fill out the details. Your Internet service provider (ISP) should’ve given you all that information.
If you set up a @hotmail.com or @live.com or @outlook.com account, WLM downloads your messages and shows them to you.
You’re ready to read, write, send, and receive, so you may as well.
Adding e-mail accounts to Windows Mail
The process of setting up mail accounts — and you can set up dozens, if you choose — is a simple one. Get your accounts in order, and you’re free to create, send, and receive e-mail messages at will. Or to Will.
If more than one person is using Windows Live Mail, set up a separate Windows account for each person. It doesn’t matter if you use Microsoft accounts or Local accounts, just get one account for each person. That way, even if you don’t put passwords on the Windows accounts, you can keep the mail sorted out automatically.
To add other e-mail accounts or modify your existing one, follow these steps:
Start Windows Live Mail (probably by clicking the icon on the desktop taskbar, or the tile on the Metro Start screen or All Apps list). When you get there, click the Accounts tab.
You see the Accounts Ribbon.
On the left, click the Email icon.
Windows Live Mail shows you the Add Your Email Accounts dialog box.
Fill in the dialog box fields and click Next.
Microsoft has a big database of domain names (that’s the part of your e-mail address to the right of the @ sign) and if your domain is in that big database, Windows Live Mail can guess at all the settings necessary to set up e-mail service.
If Microsoft can’t find the settings for your domain, you see a dialog box that says Configure Server Settings. Using information from your e-mail service provider, fill it out and click Next.
Unfortunately, the only place you can find that info is from the people you pay to handle your e-mail.
If you got all the settings right, WLM tells you that it has added your new e-mail account. Click Finish.
The mail from your new account appears in a second group of folders on the left.
In case you’re wondering, Windows Live Mail doesn’t remove any messages from where they’re stored “in the cloud.” So, for example, if you put your Gmail address in Windows Live Mail and use WLM to look at your Gmail, you can still log on to Gmail, and all your mail will be there.
Someday it’ll be easy to set up e-mail accounts. That day hasn’t arrived yet.
Creating a message in Windows Mail
When you’re ready to create a message, follow these steps:
Start Windows Live Mail and click the Home tab. On the left edge of the Home Ribbon, click E-mail Message.
A message window appears, so that you can type your message.
Choose the recipient for the message.
You can enter the person’s e-mail address in two different ways:
Type the e-mail address on the To line.
Click the To text and select the recipient you want from the Address Book. (To select a recipient, select the contact from the list on the left, click the To button, and then click OK.)
Note that this is your Hotmail address book, which may or may not be connected to your Windows 8.1 tiled People app.
Enter a subject for your message. For best results, keep it fairly short and make it descriptive. Then type the body of your message.
You have a wide-open space to do just that. You can enter the words the way you want them without any fancy formatting or you can change the look of the text by choosing a different font and size, changing colors, indenting information, and more.
If you have more than one e-mail account, make sure, on the right, that you have selected the correct account to send the message. Then click Send.
You can wait for Windows Live Mail to automatically send the message, a minute or two down the line, or you can click the Send/Receive icon on the Home Ribbon, and it is sent immediately.