/ Technology

Stop using email clients like Outlook

Microsoft Outlook email inbox

Are you still using an email client program like Outlook? You can enjoy much more for less hassle with a web-based email account. It’s time to move on from a service that came with your Windows XP computer.

We get loads of emails about problems with email client programs, like Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Thunderbird, sent through to our Which? Computing Helpdesk.

They’re often awkward to set up due to their many settings, with some broadband providers requiring things like SSL (secure socket layer) to be enabled. ‘What the hell’s that?’ I hear you cry – well there you go, that’s what I mean! Email client programs are needlessly complicated and unreliable.

In fact, they can make your life a misery. These programs were created at a time when you were charged by the minute to be online, so it made sense to grab your emails as quickly as possible and get offline. But with broadband as it is now – this just isn’t relevant anymore.

Change your Outlook – move to webmail

The good news is that there is an alternative – web-based email accounts. You don’t have to know about all the weird stuff going on under the bonnet – webmail just works and that’s what we want, isn’t it?

Ceri Stanaway has already championed webmail services, like Hotmail and Gmail. But after over 1,500 votes, only a third of you said you used webmail as your main email account – worryingly over half admitted to using their internet service provider’s service (ISP).

Yet, the good thing about webmail is that you can access it from any computer anywhere in the world. They can even come with other features, like storage for your music, pics and documents. Plus, Gmail has a great spam filter, so you’re not going to be bombarded with useless messages.

Did you start using an ISP email account simply because they said it was free? Webmail’s free too! What’s the catch? Well you might have to put up with a few ads, but in reality they’re hardly noticeable, especially when Gmail’s ads only take up one line.

You don’t need emails on your computer

Messages to our helpline have also told me that they use email clients because they want a copy of their emails on their computer. To them I say that this is just putting them in harm’s way. If you download emails to your computer, you’re putting them at risk of fire, flood and theft like everything else in your home. It’s much better to leave your emails on the internet where you can access them wherever and whenever you want.

‘But I want to back them up.’ Why? Webmail providers back up your emails every day -they wouldn’t be in business for very long if they didn’t. If your computer has a meltdown then all those downloaded emails will be gone. But with webmail you can just get on another computer and off you go again – they’ll all be there waiting for you.

So why not throw off the shackles of email client programs like Outlook and get yourself a webmail account? Or are you happy with your out-dated attachment?

Comments
Profile photo of kisbe99
Member

I just cannot see any advantage to using Outlook Express compared to my isp provided email service BT Yahoo. There is not anything that I can’t do that outlook can do or better. Why do I want to download junk, spam or even viruses on to my PC?

Member
Geoff H says:
18 December 2010

I used Outlook a lot every day for about 12 years when I worked. Now I’m retired, I have a gmail account, which is excellent. However, probably because I’m so used to it, I still prefer Outlook to view and process my emails. Therefore, I simply view my gmail account through Outlook (the old 2003 version, I’m afraid – I kept my work laptop when I left), although I can, of course, still log on to gmail direct. This is very simple to set up as gmail supply the easy to understand instructions. The systems also sync automatically. This seems to me to be the best of both worlds.

Member
Colin Grant says:
19 December 2010

I use Outlook 2007 at work (no choice), and Outlook 2003 at home, and am happy with both, as they easily integrate mail with my calendar and task list (nobody else has mentioned using the latter). There was a brief issue when my ISP (Virgin) changed their webmail to a Gmail hosted system, as the conversion instructions only dealt with Outlook Express, but this was quickly sorted via their excellent Help Forum which is actually read (and acted on) by their technical support staff.
I also have a separate Gmail account which I use just to synchronise the two Outlook calendars, as I am no longer allowed to connect my smart phone to my work PC. As stated elsewhere, I can also access my mail account online via webmail, and can do that wherever I have web access.

Profile photo of mark
Member

There’s a lot of comments that seem to imply that Outlook is the only email client and Windows is the only operating systems. There’s a wealth of email clients available, many of them free, and they are nearly all better than Outlook.

Web mail is defintely not a replacement for a proper email client for me but I am old-fashioned, having used the internet from before the web existed. Web mail is good for a quick check on your emails when you are out and about but I wouldn’t be without the convenience of an email client. It’s Eudora for me.

Member
John F says:
30 December 2010

No one seems to have mentioned that that client based programmes effectively get the e mails to one much quicker. I set Outlook or Windows Mail to download my e mails every 5 minutes throughout the day and alert me when the mail arrives. With a web based programme such as Hotmail I would have to clock in to update the webpage about 90 times a day to receive the same service. This is unworkable.

I am not aware of any web-based service that automatically sends you e mails.

I also subcribe to a service that sends me an e mail when a share price reaches a given level. This would not work with web-based e mail.

Profile photo of richard
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Thunderbird and Agent both have auto access to download e-mails – Both are ‘free’ and better than IE. I used Agent since WWW was invented until recently when the new version Agent version wasn’t compatible with the old one. I changed to Thunderbird (as I also use Firefox ) which is better than the old Agent. The added advantage in the change is the auto spell-checking using the same dictionary for both Firefox and Thunderbird. I’ve used several others too – but Mozilla products are fast and versatile.

But unless one tries them to explore – the automatic response is to use the software supplied with the PC – which was why Microsoft did so. Remember Microsoft didn’t invent DOS just marketed it..

Member
Peter Ford says:
27 April 2011

Fastmail’s web-based interface does include a ‘polling’ feature (although not for their free service) so you don’t have to keep on manually refreshing in your web browser.

Profile photo of tony h
Member

I use both Outlook Express and Yahoo (webmail), but mainly use OE because it responds immediately and reliably. With Yahoo I sometimes have to wait for keystrokes to catch up, I’ve lost long draft e-mails and in the past I’ve found old mail stroed in the ‘sent’ folder simply blank! With OE, I can save to backup disk my address book and e-mails; organising my address book is also easier (tho’ not perfect) with OE. Both Yahoo and my isp provide more than adequate spam filters.

Member
Miss Andrea Borman says:
10 March 2011

I have tried Outlook Express and SeaMonkey Mail,Windows Live Mail and others,that are basically clones of Outlook Express as they are modeled on it. But I could not use any of these emails at all. It asked me for my incoming http. or POP server, I don’t know that and then it asked for my outgoing http. or POP server and I don’t know that either.And there was no way of finding out either. So I could not even set these email clients-if you could call them that,up. Outlook Express and it’s clones of it,Thunderbird etc are supposed to let you send email to all networks Google,yahoo Mail. But we can’t because we cannot use them. Due to the impossible questions they ask that we cannot answer,what is out incoming and outgoing http. or POP server. I and most other people just do not know this answer With normal email Hotmail for example at least you know how to use it and I use Instantbird which is a chat messenger like Pidgin and it only asks for my user name if for example I want to connect my Aim account and my password. And that is enough. I think they should re name Outlook Express and it’s clones,SeaMonkey mail etc-THE EMAIL THAT NOBODY CAN USE. Well it is is it not? Andrea Borman..

Profile photo of richard
Member

You simply need to ask your Internet supplier for the information (though the info is usually in the e-mail programme you are using – It was used when your computer was first set up for e-mail usually.

In fact all the info was in the letter my ISP (Internet Service Provider) sent me when I first set it up.

Member
Miss.Andrea Borman. says:
9 April 2011

But the email clients are just too complicated to use. Outlook Express and the other email clients asked what me for my incoming POP server-I don’t know that. Then it asked for my outgoing SMTP server and port numbers-I don’t know that. And none of my friends could find out either. And even when I went onto the Google and the website said it was-pop.gmail.com for both the incoming and outgoing servers,which I don’t even know what these are. It still would not work. So that is why I use Instantbird which is like Pidgin and Aim Messenger, because they just want your email address or user name and pasword,to connect each account. So you cannot go wrong with that.So that is what I use. Andrea Borman.

Member
Rustum says:
26 April 2011

I have helped a voluntary organisation in the past that needed to send both individual and mas emails to its members dealing with matters such as subscription renewal and newsletters. I find the arguments in favour of a web based email system persuasive but only for simple personal use. I have not yet found a way that you could send emails directly from a database via a web-based account but with Outlook (not Express) it is possible to use macros to generate an up to date mailing list in the database and transfer this to an Outlook message or generate individual Outlook messages according to criteria such as an expired payment renewal date. I can also have conditional text in the message to cater for varying forms of address and so on. As far as I am aware none of this is possible with webmail. Unless someone can tell me another way to do it, the answer seems to be to have Outlook as the client on Windows based PCs but linked to a the ISPs mail servers using the IMAP protocol so that all the mail is held on the server but synchronised with all the PCs, mobiles, netbooks, Ipads and whatever which may be used to access mail. Or am I missing something?

Member
Miss.Andrea Borman. says:
26 April 2011

Well,you just cannot use Outlook Express or any of those email clients. As my friend said about Outlook Express and clones,Thunderbird,SeaMonkey Mail,Spicebird,Zimbra Desktop and Windows Mail and others-“You can’t use it it won’t let you use it.” And “It doesn’t allow itself to be used.” Well it doesn’t doesn’t it,because of the system they have. Of asking for your pop server and SMTP server which I and other people do not know. And even when you give the answer they want,the email clients still do not work. So they really are-THE EMAIL THAT NOBODY CAN USE. And the only outcome will be that YOU won’t be able to use it either. Andrea Borman.

Profile photo of mikehuk
Member

I use Mozilla Thunderbird (and before that on Mozilla suite email on OS/2) attached to my Talktalk ISP account which also send mail to my HTC Desire. Thunderbird has spellcheck and spam filtering and excellent message (or content) search facility. I use Dragon speech recognition to dictate my emails.
Why would I want to use webmail!.

Profile photo of John Bogue
Member

Your HTC Desire runs on Google’s Android operating system which includes Gmail – why not open a Googlemail account? It has a great spam filter. You’ll find this opens up a lot of functionality on your smartphone and all blends seamlessly together with Google’s other services such as Google calendar and contacts.

Profile photo of omegafrankie
Member

It seems to me that this article is completely irrelevant. Every comment posted that I have read so far is saying that it is far better to use Outlook/ or Express than to put your emails on to ephemeral sites which are painful to access.I personally find hotmail and gmail to be a pain.

Member
MikeB says:
26 April 2011

Ask most Outlook users why they still use it and you’re unlikely to get an answer based on logic. A previous poster said that the article is completely irrelevant – I think it’s Outlook that’s irrelevant, not the article!

Member
John Underwood says:
26 April 2011

I use Microsoft Outlook for my main email account because I frequently end up dealing with emails offline (on a train or a long car journey… though only when somebody else is driving!). Am I missing something here? Is there any way of downloading emails from a gmail account to be dealt with offline?

Member
JohnN says:
26 April 2011

Agree. When I am abroad, I can take my laptop somewhere where I can have online access and upload/download emails and then take laptop to wherever I am staying. As far as I can ascertain, dongles for accessing internet from laptop can be very expensive in many countries.

Member
MikeB says:
26 April 2011

Using gmail offline .. Can’t comment how good this feature is though, as I’ve never used it!

Profile photo of John Bogue
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Thank you for this info and link MikeB

Member
Murram says:
26 April 2011

I used Outlook for my e-mail at work and Outlook Express at home, because it is similar and therefore I was familiar with how it operated. When I retired I lost both Outlook and my alternative e-mail address, so to avoid just having one address I obtained a Hotmail address.
I get less e-mails than I used to and tend to use Outlook Express as my main system, so I only log on to my Hotmail account occasionally. However it seems that each time I log on they have “improved” it, the layout has changed and I cannot find anything. Perhaps if I used it more I would be able to cope with the changes, but I cannot be bothered to do this so I stick with the old system. It works fine as far as I am concerned and I do not understand why there is a need to keep “improving”.
I gather that Outlook Express is not supplied with Windows 7 and this is a good reason for me to not want to upgrade to it. If it is not broke, don’t fix it!

Member
Vijay Raithatha says:
26 April 2011

I have used MS-Outlook for over 10 years and currently operate 3 accounts – a business email, personal email and my hotmail account through one Outlook profile (PLUS calendars, notes and tasks). I also have another Outlook profile for emails and calendar management for one of my clients (these use a separate range of sign-in protocol and folders).

I cannot possibly envisage a structured business or personal life without the benefit of Outlook’s Calendar function.

And I can access all of these accounts (email and calendar) using my Blackberry. Configuration is easy (especially on the blackberry but also on Outlook) – most email hosts’s helpdesks and FAQs detail the information required by Outlook for POP/IMAP etc.

On my travels these days, I only occasionally need to use webmail IF I can’t get access to wi-fi on my Blackberry in a hurry (can’t remember the last time that happened!).

And as stated by others, you can set up rules and actions so that your emails are continually archived or deleted. It is not rocket science to work out where and how PST files are stored and these can be stored in specific folders so that you can choose to back them up if you wish.

My business emails are stored on a folder that is backed-up to dropbox. I do have one cheeky method of file storage though (so that I don’t exceed my dropbox storage limit) – I transfer my personal emails (on my personal non-hotmail account) to my Hotmail account using Outlook for free storage, knowing I can access these emails whenever I wish from my webmail hotmail account …

Long live Outlook.

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My Googlemail account currently has 7.5 Gb of storage, no problem storing email, I never bother deleting a single one. By the way it’s Gmail in the US and Googlemail in the UK because of a court case wrangle concerning brand names – if you had a Gmail account before then you are allowed to keep it – lucky you! Googlemail backs up my emails everyday, if they didn’t they would have a lot of angry customers.

Profile photo of mao
Member

I’ve used Outlook for over a decade. I have gigabytes of mail which I suspect no webmail service would want to keep for me and which I want to keep. Outlook regularly fetches mail from all my accounts into one place for me – no need to visit different webmail sites manually. It’s simple to set up and use. If I’m away from my PC I simply use the webmail facility that my ISP provides to deal with anything I need to deal with. I run all my postal mailings from my Outlook contacts list, etc etc etc. Backing up is no issue – you have to do that anyway if you have a PC so just add your Outlook folder to the back-up – simples! If you use email seriously, forget fads (and Outlook Express) – use something professional.

Member
Terry P says:
26 April 2011

I use my Gmail account via Outlook 2010 because Outlook has sub-directories, which Gmail doesn’t have. Subjects can be broken down into several categories which enables filed messages easy to locate. The last time I contacted Gmail about sub-directories I ******** there were no immediate plans to provide these.

Member
Peter Ford says:
27 April 2011

In theory labels can do everything sub-directories can do, and more. For example if you wanted to simulate sub-directories you could have these 3 labels “work-internal”, “work-clients-Kellogs”, “work-clients-Heinz”. It’d just be a matter of how you used such a system. Another option to consider would be the “Nested Labels” feature from the Gmail ‘labs’.

In practice, some people need simple sub-directories and nothing more – in which case Gmail is probably not for them. (But do other webmail providers offer sub-directories? Yahoo doesn’t. Fastmail does. I’m not sure about any others.)

Profile photo of John Bogue
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In Gmail you can add more than one label to a conversation of course. It may be a matter of personal preference as to which system you prefer to use. Tracking a conversation over sub directories can be very awkward when you have specified sub-folder names for certain topics. If you need to keep a conversation or thread together then I believe using labels is a good choice; just as in a face to face conversation people do not always stick to the same topic. This is the same in emails where correspondents will often discuss several topics within the same sentence.

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Member

End of conversation?

Member
heebripse says:
20 May 2011

Hello. What better http://google.com or http://yahoo.com ?

Member
HughJarres says:
3 June 2011

John: re your comment of 27 April, I’m pretty sure anyone who started out with a Googlemail account was given the option of changing to Gmail once the legal case was settled (last year some time?) Also, was the May 2011 Computing Which report on webmail services compiled before Yahoo launched its latest version? I’ve tried it out and it seems at least as good (to me) as Gmail and Live Hotmail. It can certainly cope with other POP3 accounts (the item on page 54 of the May issue implies only Gmail and Hotmail can); I’m pretty sure whe you respond to such mail from Gmail, the latter stamps its SMTP address on the outgoing mail, thus confusing the recipient. I thought Yahoo’s interface more friendly that Gmail’s, too. Finally, John, you must be dismayed by the “voting” in response to your blog: we seem to cling to our email applications. To the person asking the Helpdesk for advice on a free email client this month, I wanted to shout “Thunderbird!”, but the Which response obsessively banged on about webmail.

Member

Hi John,

I use Thunderbird as an aggregator for my 23 email accounts. Now admittedly 23 email addresses is a lot. I actually surprised myself when I counted them, for the purposes of this post. I use Thunderbird because of it’s interoperability. Thunderbird offers a seamless solution for keeping on track my emails. Indeed so seamlessly that I didn’t realise that I had the number of email addresses I had.

Some of them are legacy accounts Lineone, Tiscali, but used for single function. i.e Ebay and Amazon. Some are old active University accounts (I studied in Sweden and attend classes at the 3 Universities in Stockholm and a distance course in Northern Sweden all of which had separate accounts). I also have 8 dedicated Gmail accounts for Banking, Online Membership, Friends, Professional, one for each of my business venture and one for disposable use. With the exception of 5 including 2x Hotmail are IMAP, so alway configure using IMAP when possible. Regardless of IMAP or POP status I can access them all when away from my Mac

The great thing about Gmail is that it doesn’t recognise dots (.) or anything after a plus (+). So you can write your email as email@gmail.com or e.mail@gmail.com or even e.m.a.i.l@gmail.com or email+anythingyoulikehere@gmail.com. This means you can tag your emails when signing up for services you are unsure of. When you use Thunderbird and the like, you can use the reply to function to maintain this naming protocol.

Finally slightly off topic, I was a early adopter of email, using Hotmail before it was part of Microsoft. Moreover, it’s interesting to note that I had a Vodafone email account from the early days of Vizzavi, which change to Vodafone.net and finally to 360.com, the last of which is now closing after less than a year 🙁

Member
Neville Cramer says:
7 February 2012

‘free online services’: “If it’s ‘free’, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”

How odd that an ISP should recommend using a “free” email service.
I use which.net since it does not, as far as I know, trawl my messages for keywords so as to send me unwanted advertising. However, as Which.net rather restrictive limits, and I do not trust the “cloud” or its owners, I also use Mozilla Thunderbird. This gives me all my emails on my machine, plus the last six months messages as webmail.
I feel that anyone who uses “free” webmail, is simply selling their data (and that of their friends) to google, msoft, or whoever.

Member
John Guinan says:
27 September 2012

I had outlook 2007 on my computer and was very happy with it. (seperate folders for goods purchased etc) Then my computer stopped playing for good. I now have another computer and the tech guy who set it up for me didn’t like outlook and installed Virgin media web mail. Now I have to supply a username and password every time I want to access my email account. Also when I tried to get information about my “clickfree” back up device on the web, I was informed that it could not supply the info, because it could no longer access outlook. I am now looking for a techie that is capable of installing my beloved outlook programme again.

Member
HughJarres says:
27 September 2012

John, please, please try Thunderbird! You’ll forget all about Outlook in no time.

Member
Neville says:
11 February 2013

A few years ago, on changing computer I moved from Thunderbird to Which webmail. First, I lost a few sent copies before finding that I had to request a copy for each message. After about a year, I discovered, to my horror, that all emails older than six months had been deleted. So I moved back to Thunderbird, while leaving messages on the webmail.
As to loss of the computer, of course I back up (even if not often enough).
As to Gmail and the like being wonderful and available for ever…when they suffer the equivalent of horsemeat in the burger, for the same reason – maximising profits above all else – I will still have my emails on my computer or backup.
Finally, while not a superuser, it seems to me that clients have more functionality. On a quick search this morning I cannot find how to use squirrelmail to forward specific emails (specified by sender or subject) to an external address.
Neville

Member
Trisha says:
14 August 2013

I come to the discussion rather late in the day, but a lot of what I’ve read makes sense, especially for the more IT minded people.

I have a Q about Apple MacBook users who are not technical wizards, as I have the Mail programme for Apple users (2008 version) and couldn’t see any Apple Mail users’ comments on this discussion page.

I currently have a combined webmail & client email account provided by our ISP (Waitrose). This allows me to access mail from any computer as well as direct to my computer at home. It means a bit more ‘housekeeping’ i.e. regular deletion of messages in the webmail inbox as well as in my Mail inbox, but it’s been great for the last 7 years or so.

Our household circumstances have changed recently and we want to have Internet and Phone (currently with BT) with one provider to get a better deal. The most important factors for us will be the quality of service provided by the technical support team – for general set up & in particular, ability to advise clearly on setting up non-Windows email accounts i.e. Apple-specific advice.

Can anyone comment on their experience with BT or John Lewis (which is what we will have to switch to if we stay with them as our ISP and transfer the phone across to them too)?
Trisha

Profile photo of wavechange
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Trisha

If you set Mail (the Apple email program) to leave mail on the server for a certain number of days, you will not need to delete messages from webmail because this will be done automatically after this time. You will still be able to view your messages from any computer, as long as they are not older than the time you have specified. You will still keep all messages on your MacBook.

If you send email via webmail, messages will not be automatically deleted and this will still have to be done periodically.

It should be very easy to set up your email with a new ISP. Essentially you have to change the sending and receiving addresses and put in the email address allocated by your ISP. When you are given the settings, I think you will find it very easy to set up your laptop.

Best of luck.

Member

Gmail and Yahoo continue to go down hill, I finally made the choice to switch to paid email provider and came across thexyz.com. These guys migrated me over and the support has been terrific. I thought it was quite basic at first but there is a lot more too the email and apps than meets the eye. I highly recommend testing out other paid email providers rather that using free email.

Member
shunmuganar muthalagu says:
16 October 2013

Mr. John Bogue

Good evening.

My name is capt shunmuganar from Malaysia and i have am running a shipping company and been using Out Look Express, Microsoft Outlook and out local government server mail and all of those are unreliable for me when there is a crash and virus attack and when recovering the lost mail are a trauma and out of 3 times i have lost all the mails and have to start all over again.

Since 2006 i gave up all this OE/MO/Local servers and opened Gmail account and had 7500mails in INBOX/OUTBOX/ files and other’s till my bad day came on 7th Oct 2013 where hackers have hacked my account and all my emails have been missing including files.

I have tried calling Google singapore who are totally not answering my call’s and email’s were send and no replies till this moment. on the 9thOct2013 i called to Google USA and Mr kenny gave me a link to complaint and was nothing happened.

However one of my friends company IT dept guy’s found out my settings was changed and mails were transferred to yahoo account by the hackers by using similar email address. and i dont know any info on the yahoo mail details.

Since i am not a IT man i am unable to trace the mails to recover back my mails. Since 8th Oct 2013 my company has stopped operations and unable to carry out my normal business.

Appreciate if any one can help me out to recover my mail’s back . I am totally helpless

Thanks in advance

Member
kulath says:
8 June 2014

Relying entirely on webmail is REALLY BAD ADVICE!

The problem is that you are totally vulnerable to all your emails disappearing one day, and there is absolutely noting you can do.

(1) Never forget Jack Schofield’s second laws of computing (data doesn’t really exist unless you have at least two copies of it). If you only have the data in your webmail account you only have one copy.

(2) Read Jack Schofield’s article about webmail Russian roulette http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2008/feb/14/email.yahoo. Sometimes the webmail provider may decide just to delete your account, either because of some obscure policy, or just because of some system failure on the part of the webmail provider. (You are not paying for the service, so you can’t expect any compensation, nor any great effort to retrieve you emails).

(3) Read this article: http://www.computerrepair.com/Tips-Tricks/Tips-Tricks/what-happens-when-your-webmail-gets-hacked.html about what happens if your account is hacked – you may never get it back! Especially read the last paragraph:

>Finally, how certain are you that you’re willing to trust your data to the online services in the cloud? I don’t leave any information online that doesn’t also exist on at least one local machine that gets backed up daily. Yes, it took a bit of effort to set up an automated backup routine, and it takes a bit of effort to swap out backup drives when they get filled up. But I can access my files and my mail even if I can’t access them online for any reason. Before you rely on Web-based services for data that you can’t manage without, keep in mind that the cloud doesn’t always have a silver lining.

Even if you think you have nothing valuable in your email, losing everything is very likely to be extremely inconvenient!

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Webmail is fine in emergencies. However, compared with LiveMail (my client of choice) it is cumbersome, slow & very limited on functionality. The immediate advantage that LiveMail has, of course, is the ability to sync multiple accounts at once. On WebMail it is necessary to LogOut of one, then LogIn to another, etc., and when, like myself you use a multitude of different accounts it’s just not a realistic option. The same goes for eMail alerts for Calendar dates. Also, if I have read eMails from WebMail it still shows up on my LiveMail. If I’ve read it on LiveMail, it’s like it never existed on WebMail.

Member
Ged McConville says:
26 November 2016

Some people do not want their information all over the internet and prefer to download their emails and work off line. Being FORCED to leave yourself wide open to hacking is an affront and those extolling the virtues of using webmail give me the impression that they are probably hackers and cannot be trusted.

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If only it was hackers who were looking at your emails Ged , I have a long list of “others ” who do. For those wanting privacy get end to end encryption that upsets the government using a neutral states servers that doesnt hand info over to UK/US sources and doesnt know the second stage of a two-stage security system . I keep one handy in case of emergency . At the moment my ISP/ my email service ( American based+server ) has full access to my emails –must bore the hell out of them. I do have other email services including Russian , as things stand due to HMG rhetoric just waiting to be called “subversive” . Any email service without a virus control built in is asking for trouble.

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Ged – I too prefer to download my emails, but they will also be on a server that could be hacked. Most email systems offer a webmail option so that you can access them from any computer.

Member
Brian Hudson says:
2 December 2016

It’s right that I started using email clients in the days of expensive dial-up. If starting afresh now, I would probably use webmail. But switching is not straight forward because, over the years, I have built up a lot of folders (within Windows Live Mail) containing critical stuff (including legal, contractual etc) on behalf of various charities that I help. To lose all that would be an absolute disaster. But Which? advises that there are no webmail services which allow me to import all these old WLM folders. So looks like I’m stuck with WLM for then forseeable future.

Member
Ray Coxon says:
4 October 2017

I still prefer Microsoft Outlook although my version, 2003, is now obsolete but it still works. Best thing about it is the spam filter , I can use Norton anti virus, unlike webmail – what spam filter do they use? As for my e-mail with my ISP – BT – the spam filter is a joke.

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I was using Outlook 2011 to access email on an Exchange server. Following an upgrade of the server software, Outlook has stopped working though I can still use it to access email using a POP account.