If you’re a Windows Mail user, then I not only offer my sincerest condolences, but bring good news. Windows Mail is being replaced with Outlook. No, not the desktop version of Outlook, or Outlook.com, but new Outlook. Sort of. In the coming months, the new Outlook will be default on Windows 11, but some Windows Mail users are being offered the chance to upgrade today. If you’ve spotted this and are pondering whether you should try new Outlook, then read on.
What is the new Outlook?
Technically, it is classified by Microsoft as a Progressive Web App (PWA). PWAs run on a Windows computer, but using technologies from the web. Therefore, new Outlook looks, works and feels like Outlook.com but packaged into an app which can run on a PC. Windows Mail, which has been around since Windows 8, has always been a problematic product for Microsoft and having supported countless users over the years, I don’t think I’m going too far in saying that its demise cannot come soon enough. So, raise a glass for Windows Mail, multiple winner of the coveted Best Software award by Unfinished Apps magazine, and hope to hell it never comes back.
Why is it better than Windows Mail?
As it is a PWA, it entwines neatly into the Outlook.com and introduces features which have never appeared in Windows Mail. Some of the most useful features are Sweep, which will move and delete emails in bulk, and the improved search functions which combine beautifully with highly customisable options for tagging, flagging and snoozing messages. The new software also integrates calendar and contacts, which naturally are in sync with Outlook.com. Other advantages it has over Windows Mail are the junk mail filters, focussed inboxes and message rules.
Does new Outlook work with Gmail?
Yes, and that’s a smart development. Gmail integration into email clients can be unpredictable, and Microsoft has worked hard to bring Outlook management to Gmail accounts. It also works with Yahoo. Currently, IMAP and POP accounts are unsupported, which also means that if your Windows Mail setup is connected to an IMAP email account, they will not offer you the opportunity to try new Outlook. Hopefully, this should be remedied for the official 2024 release. Of course, if you try it and you don’t like it, then it is possible to revert back to Windows Mail.
As Microsoft has built New Outlook as a PWA, it shares the same codebase as Outlook.com. Hopefully, this will simplify the implementation of new features from Microsoft’s online platform.
Finally, and this is a plea from me, directly to Microsoft. Please, give new it a differentiating name. Can I suggest Outlook Express? That always used to be very popular.