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Can I use both Outlook Express and Windows Live Mail?

Can I use both Outlook Express and Windows Live Mail?

I have a computer running Windows XP. Can I use Outlook Express as well as Windows Live Mail? Or will having the two programs together create problems?
Brian Dunn

For those who don’t know, both Outlook Express and Windows Live Mail are free email clients from Microsoft. In fact, there is one more, Windows Mail which comes pre-installed with the Vista operating system.

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Using both Outlook Express and Windows Live Mail email programs

FYI, the development and support for Outlook Express has been discontinued. This email program came pre-installed on the Windows operating system (till XP) and was also distributed as a bundled package with Internet Explorer web browser (till version 6). However, Outlook Express was absent on Vista and replaced with Windows Mail. This too is now outdated with the release of Windows Live Mail. And as for Windows 7, there is no native email client though Microsoft recommends using the free Windows Live Mail.

Confused? Check the figure below.

Compatibility of Microsoft free email clients with the Windows operating system

Windows Mail, the default email program on Vista, which I refer to as Outlook Express version 7 (in jest), is quite like its predecessor in the way it looks and functions. Though the interface is similar, there are two important additions – a Junk e-mail folder and a super quick email search functionality located conveniently close to the top.

Windows Live Mail, however, takes a little getting used to especially because of the way accounts and messages are organized. For instance, each email account configured in the program gets in own set of 5 folders. Some standard functions such as Send/Receive email are now called “Sync” which can add to the confusion and make the transition a little more difficult.

So can you use both Outlook Express and Windows Live Mail email programs?

Yes. You can use both Outlook Express and Windows Live Mail. However, here are a few points you should take note of:

  • When using both programs on your computer only one email client can be made the default.
  • I strongly suggest not adding the same email account on both programs on the same computer; at least, don’t use POP3 when setting up the accounts. But if you have to, make sure that the “Leave a copy of the email message on the server” option is checked either on Outlook Express or Windows Live Mail (or both). This ensures that both the programs will download the email messages.
  • If you are thinking of employing the two email programs for segregating the accounts, it’s always better to use Outlook Express Identities.

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Your comments
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  • Madryn Abnett on January 6th, 2011 2:28 pm

    This is what I need to do but there are no instructions: “Leave a copy of the email message on the server”.
    This can be done by changing the settings for the account once you’ve set it up. This ensures that both the programs will download the email messages. I want to use Tiscali email on a Windows 7 laptop and a PC with XP.

  • Manish on January 8th, 2011 9:31 am

    @Madryn
    Yes, you can change the account settings after setting it up so that a copy of the messages are retained on the server. You would then be able to to download email to two or more computers. However, the account may still not be fully synched. For that, I suggest using IMAP instead of POP3. Check the difference between POP3 and IMAP.

  • James Dunlap on March 29th, 2011 7:19 pm

    I am using Hotmail and Windows, but confused on what I should do. I like the looks of Outlook but don’t have pop3 installed and don’t know how.

  • Manish on March 30th, 2011 9:35 am

    @James Dunlap
    You’ll most probably have POP3 access on your Hotmail account. If not, please upgrade the account to ‘Plus’ which costs about $20 for a year. You would then be able to download the Hotmail email through Outlook.

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