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November 06

Windows Live Mail v1 is released!

Woo-hoo, finally! After 2 betas and months spent focusing on all your feedback and reported bugs, figuring out thorny legal issues, going through triple checks with the Secure Windows Initiative (SWI) guys and basically burnishing and polishing the product; We’re excited and proud to announce the release of Windows Live Mail. The final bits can be downloaded here. Just click the download button and the rest is gravity.

Since we launched Beta 2 in September, we’ve focused on performance, stability and your most important bugs. We knew that first and foremost, you wanted a fast, great email program to connect to your hotmail, gmail and other personal accounts; not to mention that email server you’re running in your basement at home. We’re really proud of our core email and contacts experience and want to thank you for helping us make the tradeoffs that will make you love the application. Additionally, most of you already know all the OTHER juicy things we do, but for the uninitiated; we have also thrown in a huge improvements for sending and viewing photos via email, added RSS support, improved our newsgroup support for the port 119 jockeys, integration with Windows Live Messenger (view presence, start an IM from WLM, etc), Windows Live Writer (start a blog post from an email) and Windows Live Photo Gallery (view attached pictures in gallery). The list of features and improvements goes on for quite bit. You can find a description here. Our previous blog posts also go into some detail, subscribe to the feed and dig in to find out more.

About 2 years ago, as a company, we decided that we needed to rationalize the different investments we had in the email space. We had servers (hotmail, Exchange), we had multiple email clients (Windows Mail, MSN Explorer, Outlook, Hotmail etc) and a ton of stuff in between. Out of some of that thinking came the future of consumer client email per Microsoft: Windows Live Mail. I remember moving from the Windows team and moving into my Windows Live digs and wondering what the heck we were going to build. After a few months of kicking prototypes around we decided that we would codename the project – and came up with ‘Elroy’, the preteen character from the Jetsons – we were officially building email for the future. We haven’t called it that in a long time, but that has still been our focus and it’s been quite a journey with really incredible twists and turns. One of my favorite dumb ideas was when we decided to ship an orange email client – we were going to shock the world with our quirky boldness. Fortunately for us (and for you) we ultimately decided against it.

Ok, let’s quickly do some book keeping:

Language support: Windows Live Mail is available in 59 markets and 35 languages; the full complement. Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian (Bokmal), Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian – Latin, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian

Upgrading the beta: We recommend that you do an uninstall of beta 2 before you install the final version (no worries, your email and data will be preserved). We appreciate your willingness to rock the beta and while it’s been pretty solid, it’s still possible you may experience some strange behavior during upgrade – we optimize the best experience for final installs of our software. Of course upgrades are supported and our support reps are standing by to help on the off chance you run into any issues.

Feedback: Blog comments are great and you can also go to our feedback website here.

We want say a big “Thank You!!” for hanging in there with us. You cheered us on, gave us a hard time and more importantly, used the product. We could not have done this release without you – you complete us :). We hope you love the application and pass it on to your friends and family. And if you don’t, let us know why. We’re always listening and you know version 2 is coming. ‘Smatteroffact we’re already hard at work planning the next set of features. We really want to solve some of the next generation email needs and do more to achieve our vision of software + services; our goal is to make your online life smooth like butter. If you have some insight on what you’d like to see, drop us a line. Remember, there are no guarantees, except that we’re listening. Hard. Stay tuned as we ramp up on delivering the next version of Windows Live Mail.

The product team members who have been working tirelessly on the Product for the last 1+ year have thought hard about their favorite features in Windows Live Mail. Here are some of our own best-loved things about the product:

“Mmm, all my (eight!) email accounts in one convenient place, what’s not to like? Additionally the UI kicks ass! Huge improvement over the previous stuff we’ve done. Can’t wait to make it even better for the next release.” Oji, Program Manager

“We hope you love this product as much as we have loved building it!  Enjoy!” Andy, Developer

“I really enjoyed working on the Messenger integration. It's so cool to give our customers a one-stop-shopping experience for getting in touch with their friends!” Stephen, Developer

“I was impressed by how readily the product team embraced the value of usability testing. We had a lot of support for testing not only the working code, but a lot of exploratory concepts as well. The result is a really solid, tested, user experience. We could always do more usability testing, but I’m happy to say that we really did a lot, and I think it shows.” Michael, UX Researcher

“Autodiscovery of account settings is my favorite feature for people who haven’t tried Windows Live Mail yet.  For a lot of common email service providers, WLM knows what the account settings should be and just sets it up for you.  No more trying to copy port settings from a help page!” Stacey, Developer

“Photo E-mail is the feature I’m most excited about because it delivers an elegant solution to the all too common, ‘how am I going to e-mail all these huge photos to my friends’ dilemma.” Rocky, Tester

“I am really very excited in releasing the Windows Live Mail Client to the entire world. This is an excellent client for OE users and I hope everyone will enjoy using it.” Manish, Tester

“My favorite, not so useless feature, is switch language on the fly. If you have Windows configured with two or more languages, just hit ALT SHIFT after opening a new compose window to toggle to your second language. And that’s it, you’re ready to type in your other language, with spell check and all! OK. Photomail is cool too! And so is Word Wheel! And most importantly, it’s fast! :)" Christian, Dev Manager

“I am very proud of the product we are shipping, it’s easy to come to work every day when you know the impact you are going to have in people’s daily lives through software.” Carmen, Program Manager

“Windows Live Mail is making its debut from the very beginning as a truly global product.  It is very exciting to be shipping the very first release in 35 languages and 59 markets.  I can’t wait for the world to see and use our awesome product.” Adam, Developer

From the entire Windows Live Mail team, we hope you love what we’ve built.

Written by:

Oji Udezue, Program Manager

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Comments (123)
  • (no name)
    November 08 10:15 PM
    I'm glad to see attention being paid to lightweight e-mail clients at MS again, but this version has some issues:
    - Is there any way to hide the toolbar? IN OE6, I could hide it (I only use the keyboard.)
    - None of the toolbar buttons save "Show menu" (a tooltip, which makes no sense by the way) have keyboard shortcuts. If you're hiding the menus by default, how are users supposed to learn simple shortcuts, e.g. CTRL+R for reply?
    - Is there any fast way to move between the quick tabs with the keyboard? Please add shortcuts so I can do this (e.g., ALT+I or ALT+1 for Mail, ALT+C or ALT+2 for Contacts, etc.)
    - The title bar look is totally inconsistent when you resize and maximize on Windows XP.  It goes from a thick, rounded, vertical gradient with custom buttons to a standard Windows title bar (thin, horizontal gradient, normal minimize/maximize/close buttons.)
    - Screen redrawing is very slow when switching tasks. When I ALT+TAB to OE6, redrawing is instantaneous. In WLM, it takes the better part of a second--and this on a new computer. This is unacceptable, as I toggle between windows often while composing e-mails. The message list and message pane take longer to display than in OE6, and most conspicuously, the custom-drawn menu bar displays LAST of any UI element on the screen. Please consider returning to a standard menu bar--it'd be faster and more attractive. A standard title bar would likely also speed things up (plus let me determine when the window is active/inactive.)
    - The message header is HUGE. It's about four times the height of the header in OE6. This takes away space from the message list and body. That means a lot more scrolling. Please trim this back to the OE6 size.
    - Memory use is ridiculous. E.G., when viewing the same plain text message on the same account: 10,972KB (OE6) vs. 71,716KB (WLM.)
     
    For the same document, Word 2007--a far more complex application--redraws the screen noticeably faster and uses about half the memory.
  • View space
    Mark Spruce
    November 08 4:14 AM
    I have to agree.

    I had the installer now.

    I would love to see it back to the old way as well. I mean have an individual install for each live package.

    Mark
  • View space
    (без имени)
    November 08 3:26 AM
    Hello !
    I am user of Windows Live Mail desktop version 2008 build 12.0.1606.
    I have problem with logging to my live mail account by means of Live Mail Desktop.
    When I  log to my account that consist of Name.Family@hotmail.com and have character "."  
    between Name and Family, I receive error messgge "login or passwords is not valid".
    But when I log to my mail by means of Web UI "http://mail.live.com" by means of same  login and
    password, I don't receive this error message and it's ok.

    Could you help me to resolve this problem?
    This problem is error program ? This error is detected by you and it will be fixed in next  
    release ?
  • Art
    November 07 11:07 PM
    Why did we lose the ability to resize a photo attachment when emailing photos from the Live Photo Gallery?  Seems we're being subtly forced to use the photo-email feature that uploads a copy of the photo to a hosted server on the web and only emails a thumbnail.  I may not want my photos uploaded to a hosted server.  Why not continue to offer to resize the photo when attaching as is done with the original Photo Gallery and the Live Mail beta, and is still available when using another email client such as Outlook?  You would think that if I clear the checkbox to "Upload larger images to the Web when sending a photo e-mail" that I would at least be offered to resize the attachment as was previously offered.  It really is frustrating to see a simple, useful feature such as this removed from the product in the name of progress. 
  • View space
    (no name)
    November 07 6:59 PM
    Look at that, it still doesn't have an option to grab feeds from live.com nor is the bug of 1 new message fixed.
  • View space
    Adi Sutanto
    November 07 11:12 AM
    It would be better if the WL Mail could import RSS subscription from OPML files!
  • View space
    (no name)
    November 07 10:25 AM
    I like this program and kept using it almost since first beta. It works flowlessly with all my E-mail accounts. Thanks for the great work.  The only thing bothers me is like said by someone above: why change to live installer? I remember Adobe Acrobat Reader used to use live installer and now changed back to full installer.
  • View space
    (no name)
    November 07 9:58 AM
    Awesome.

    Great to see Windows Live Mail released properly; I've tried other clients, including Windows Mail, and none match the sheer niceness and usability of the interface here.

    The only thing that continues to bother me is the way it turns emoticons in your own emails such as ':)' into smiley face images. Is there any way to stop this, even if it's a hack? I really hate how those MSN emoticons look, yet quite frequently use emoticons in my emails to lighten the mood.

    If anyone has any ideas, even if it's a workaround, let me know.
  • View space
    Alessandro
    November 07 8:34 AM
    Congrats, but I still feel the lack of some important functions (at least to me)

    1) what about of an integration with Windows Calendar and maybe the possibility to create "to do" reminders, like the last version of Apple Mail?

    2) Stationery and the photo mail functions are good, but are still way behind Apple Mail, please develop further this aspect, because is still  unsatisfactory
  • View space
    Daryl
    November 07 4:58 AM
    Congrats on finally getting it out of beta. It's a lovely product, still with its quirks, but hey - what doesn't these days?

    One thing I would comment on, is the apparent lack of an English British dictionary. I mean, hello??!!

    Well done, anyway.
  • View space
    November 07 3:48 AM
    @Sebastian: Windows user accout password can be easily broken. Not that Office saves your passwords in a more secured way... so I've heard...
  • View space
    November 07 2:46 AM
    I've said this before and have posted it to the support staff.

    Make the programs available as invididual executables. The new installer is hopeless - it doesn't work with certain corporate proxy firewalls (mine at work doesn't work with it, and didn't work with the betas). This means you simply can't install it in such environments. The installer fails without a helpful message. Also, why on earth does the installation process need to create a (new) Windows service? This seems daft! How many other programs need services (over and above the standard ones in Windows) for their installation?

    This I suspect is why there is now appearing all over the web sets of .msi files for doing the installation off line...
    Please take note - I'm far from the only person clamouring for standalone ("old school") installers.

    Frustrated,
    Mike
  • View space
    November 07 2:22 AM
    I've been running Windows Live Mail Desktop Beta and loving it.  This morning I saw the chance to install Windows Live services, but what has happened to WLMDB?  It's been replaced by Outlook Express?  It's like I've been plonked back into 1996.  I didn't expect this and I am confused.
  • View space
    Sebastian
    November 07 2:13 AM
    @Yaron: what about passwording your Windows user account ;) identities belong to the past, they were useful with windows 98, but not anymore
  • View space
    November 06 8:44 PM
    I need your help...! I used OE 6.0 and when I change to windows live mail I loose all my old mails..!!! what can I do?? it is criticall for my job...I hope you can help me as soon as possible.
     
    Thanks
  • View space
    November 06 7:06 PM
    I'm glad that Windows Vista x64 is supported...finally. I also appreciate the low memory footprint of Windows Live Mail ~20MB is what I'm seeing.
  • View space
    November 06 5:36 PM
    Oh, and of course if I uninstall WLMail and then reinstall it, all the folders are still there showing all the emails... meaning all this information is saved somewhere on the computer... without passwords, anyone can decide to reinstall it and see everything... everything is so dangerous with microsoft...
  • View space
    November 06 5:30 PM
    Nice, but what the hell? First I used Outlook Express 6 where you could have an identity secured with a password where you could savely let it save the passwords of the accounts being checked in that identity, then I moved to Outlook 2003 (Office) and realized you have no identity that you can secure with a password, you can have an 'identity' but only secure each folder in it so if I am using both a local folder and one for hotmail I have to type two password, but still it was better the Express, now here you bring Windows Live Mail with all the integration with Hotmail with all the contacts and everything, but you can only have one identity per Windows identity and you cannot protect neither the 'not identity' nor the folders that show your mails... so if I don't have a password for my windows identity... well and even if I did, everyone knows that's not really secured...   so what about some more boxes to type passwords in?..
  • View space
    November 06 4:37 PM
    I've been waiting for this! It's great!
  • View space
    Royi Avital
    November 06 3:11 PM
    Hello...
    When will you add RTL writing support in the English GUI? Those Direction buttons.
    So we could write Hebrew properly (In the English version).

    Thanks.
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