Time to bid farewell to the Windows Mail app?

By | June 19, 2023

Today, I wanted to share a bit of news from Microsoft – they’re making some changes to how you check your emails.

So, if you have a Windows PC, you probably know that you can use the “Mail” app to check your emails and the “Calendar” app to keep track of events and appointments and whatnot. If you do, you might have noticed a switch appear in the top right corner over the last few days that says, “Try the New Outlook”.

Now, you don’t need to do anything about this right now if you don’t want to, but I wanted to explain what’s going on.

Ever since the Mail app first appeared with Windows 8, it’s had a bit of a shaky reputation. There were lots of things that didn’t work as well as they should have, and it was just a bit… meh…

Over the years, Microsoft have improved it… a lot… but it has never been as popular as the email programs from earlier versions of Windows. So Microsoft have decided to replace it altogether, along with the old Calendar app. You’ll be able to access both your emails and your calendar through the new “Outlook for Windows”.

According to Microsoft, Outlook for Windows will bring the “latest features with a modern and simplified design to your Windows 11 PC”. Well, that’s nice. Hopefully, it’ll have a lot of the same features as the Outlook.com website, which is what I’ve been using for years with my Microsoft email address.

It’s all still in the “preview” phase at the moment, so you don’t need to worry about it yet. But you can try it out if you like.

The preview is currently only working for Microsoft email addresses (e.g. @outlook.com, @live.com or @hotmail.com) and Gmail email addresses (ones ending @gmail.com). If you have a different type of email address, you can’t try it out just yet.

If you want to give it a go, though, just open the Mail app as usual and click on the switch in the top corner that says “Try the New Outlook”. It’ll take a few seconds to start up, and then you’ll get some privacy gubbins, terms and conditions, all the usual stuff. Then it should automatically sign you in with the same email address you had set up in the Mail app. Like I said, though, it only works for Microsoft or Gmail email addresses at the moment.

Trying out the new app doesn’t get rid of your old Mail app or Calendar app, so you can try it out completely safely. If you decide you don’t like it, all you need to do is click on the switch in the top corner that now says, “New Outlook” to turn it off. If you do that, you’ll get a little feedback form to send to Microsoft to tell them why you’re switching back – you don’t have to fill it in if you don’t want to, but it lets you tell Microsoft what was wrong. It’s worth remembering that this is only a preview at the moment though, so try not to get put off if it’s a bit flaky.

At some point next year, new Windows 11 devices will come with the new Outlook for Windows already installed. You’ll still be able to use the old Mail and Calendar apps if you want to, and they’ll be available to download from the Microsoft Store until the end of next year.

It all sounds quite promising, though. Personally, I’ve never liked the Mail app.

Well, that’s it from me for this week.

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