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Windows Software

Is Microsoft Trying To Make Windows 10 Mail Worse? (venturebeat.com) 232

Emil Protalinski via VentureBeat argues that "Windows Mail is unusable, and instead of improving it, Microsoft is looking to drive users away": Microsoft started forcing Mail to use Edge for email links in Windows 10 build 17623 last month. This week, the company started including Office 365 ads right at the bottom of the app. But even these poor decisions are just extra nails in the coffin. Windows Mail has difficulty sending and receiving email. No, I'm not exaggerating for effect. If you have an email open and Windows Mail detects that a new email has hit your inbox, you'll get a notification. Standard stuff. If, however, you then click on said notification, Windows Mail will take you to the open email message, rather than the one that you just clicked on. That's half of the time. The other half of the time this happens, Windows Mail will crash altogether. Apparently having one email open and trying to open another one that just came in is overwhelming for Windows Mail. But that's not the end of it.

Windows Mail is also notorious for not sending emails. Multiple times a week, I open an email, hit reply, type out a quick message, hit send, and alt-tab back to Chrome or Word. Any normal email client will send the message despite the app not being the active window. With Windows Mail, countless times I have wondered why I never got heard back to a specific reply, only to discover hours later, and completely by accident, that the message is still a draft. It's not even sitting in my outbox -- it's just a fucking draft. I end up debating whether to send the email hours late, or if it doesn't make sense to send it anymore. That's not a decision I should have to make. There are of course small features I would like to see added to Windows Mail, like being able to set formatted signatures (as opposed to just plain text), but that's hardly a priority. Windows Mail is unusable, which means Windows 10 doesn't come with an email client. That's incredibly sad.

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Is Microsoft Trying To Make Windows 10 Mail Worse?

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  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @03:27PM (#56402757) Homepage

    "Windows Mail is also notorious for not sending emails."

    I kinda like that. Maybe I will get my coworkers to move off Exchange.

    • Yeah, less spam!
    • Re:Feature or bug? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @04:40PM (#56403055)

      Exchange Server has nothing to do with Windows Mail.

      Now, Windows Mail is like Notepad. Basic application, doing basic stuff. Sort of "better than nothing".
      There are zounds of free e-mail clients out there, why are you stuck with using Windows Mail is beyond me.

      • Re:Feature or bug? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Sunday April 08, 2018 @05:12PM (#56403161) Homepage

        There are zounds of free e-mail clients out there, why are you stuck with using Windows Mail is beyond me.

        You & I are not typical computer users; we know that other MUAs exist; know how to find them; know how to install them. Many people would not install a different MUA; if you were to tell them to do it they would not for fear of it breaking their PC. Sad but true.

      • by chrish ( 4714 )

        Part of the problem is that desktop email clients have been largely abandoned. I guess Apple is the only big company still putting any official effort into their Mail.app, but then that's not an awesome app.

        I've been using Thunderbird for ages, and Mozilla ignoring it for so long makes me sad. I'm hoping it gets an upgrade to the Firefox Quantum base (and a 64-bit build), but I'm one of those folks who wasn't depending on extensions that stopped working...

        Every year or so, I try to find something, anything,

    • If your coworkers *can* move off of Exchange someone is doing it wrong.

      And when you start in with 'whaaaa?', you don't understand Exchange. At all. Think first.

  • Another client? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Paolo Redaelli ( 3749507 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @03:33PM (#56402783)
    Why don't you use another client, such as ThunderBird?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      At home, or if YOU are the boss, no problem. For the most part, its the management upstairs who were wined and dined by Redmond "reps" (agents) who dictate the use of sub-standard software in the workplace. Software, what's that? .. I'm a marketing guy myself; but man is this steak good (ref: Matrix). And if entire cities should "rebel" (posterchild: Munich), MS will turn all things around them into hell until they return to the mormon fold. Anything with "American Corporation" associated with its descr

      • A wine and dined office would be using Outlook not Windows Mail. Which is still terrible but possibly slightly better

      • no organisation wined and dined by Microsoft will be using windows mail, Windows mail is for home users that know no better. In the MS world they use outlook.
    • I typed in Thunderbird into the Windows store. I got 2 games and an older cartoon. Are you speaking in some kind of code? Are "thunderbirds" what the kids are doing these days?

  • Of course its crap (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Their UWP platform is FAIL all round, its just HTA/ActiveX just in a different wrapper, there are zero UWP apps that are a "must have" and developers know this, no users, developers or managers want or asked for a "store" (and associated antitrust privacy/SPOF Windows Live account) in Windows and now WinPhone is dead it doesnt make sense, junk the whole thing, fix the bugs and leave the fucking thing alone.

    • This. Create a development platform to please those who can only program web pages (and who also have no idea how to design desktop applications), do a half-job defining the APIs and then hand it over to the new team of (very cheap) keyboard-smashing trained monkeys. What can go wrong?
  • by joh ( 27088 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @03:43PM (#56402819)

    Email is de-centralized, it's an open standard and with some effort you can use it for basically everything. So they hate it. They all want you to use centralized, closed platforms with every bit of data going through their servers. They = MS, Google, FaceBook, all of them.

    The fact that you need to jump through hoops meanwhile to get a sane email environment isn't at all an accident. They don't want you to use email. So fucking use it.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Sunday April 08, 2018 @04:43PM (#56403069) Homepage Journal

      That might make sense if they had a competitor to email, but they don't. In fact Microsoft profits heavily from email, through Exchange servers, Exchange cloud services, Outlook and so on. It is deeply integrated into their platform, hooked in to calendaring, meeting organization and collaboration tools.

      Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence. Just look at Windows 8 and how long it took them to get that UI semi-usable, and even now it's a poor rip-off of much better ones. It's actually a miracle that Windows Mail was ever usable at all, and it was only a matter of time before some UX and .NET experts screwed it up.

      • by asylumx ( 881307 )
        Nobody on exchange uses the Windows Mail app. They use Outlook. The Windows Mail app is a (horrible) consumer-grade email program, and very few at the consumer level use exchange. They tend to use hotmail, yahoo, gmail as providers.
      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        hooked in to calendaring, meeting organization and collaboration tools

        This more than anything is why Outlook and Exchange dominate the corporate world.

        Nobody else has done this as well as Microsoft.

        (Yes, Notes does it. But fuck me, it's shit)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2018 @03:50PM (#56402859)
    ...I've been happily using 'mutt' for the past two decades without any of the problems you described.
    I never ran into the artificial 2 GB PST crash/eat-all-your-email limits. There are no limits in maildir.
    I didn't have to wait for days while incompetent Exchange admins ran eseutil in a futile attempt to recover a massive binary blob mailstore. ZFS ensures data integrity, provides online backups, and the ability to roll back to snapshots instantly.
    I never ran into a company-wide multi-day email outage because of "Me too!" replies (https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/exchange/2004/04/08/me-too/). Most open source mail servers are pretty damn robust and don't charge $2,000+ per server you spin up.
    I never had to wait for my IT team to buy licenses to allow me to connect to my mail server. Only in Microsoft-land do they charge you to buy a mail server (Exchange), while also charging you to buy the client (Outlook) that was specifically designed to talk to that mail server....and then they have the balls to say you need special permission to 'allow' them to talk (CALs).
    I get better compression on my mail when ZFS uses lz4 as opposed to whatever the hell Exchange uses in its binary blob.
    Tracking down messages is ridiculously easy--no multi-step wizard with outputs that are difficult to parse. Just the same old commands every admin should be familiar with: find, awk, sed, grep, and maybe cut.

    I remember one client that would call me almost weekly with an "OMG WE WERE DISCUSSING FIRING A USER AND WE ACCIDENTALLY FUCKING SENT A COPY OF THE EMAIL TO THE ALL-USERS MAILING LIST". We would literally have to immediately shutdown Exchange, then take the server off the network, then attach it to a test network, then bring up a test workstation with a copy of Outlook and convince Exchange we had permission to the sender's email box (even though it's off the domain), then find the offending message and Message ID, then go through 150 boxes by hand to find and remove the message and remember to purge it out of the Deleted Items box...then bring everything back online. It took *hours*.

    But in Linux-land we were able to stop the mail services, cd into the 'sent items' box, find the message ID and run something simple like: grep -l 'message-id' | xargs rm

    We'd run through about 800 linux mailboxes (~1.3 TB) in about 8 minutes and then be back online.

    Fuck Exchange.
    If your company picked Exchange, chances are they've made a *lot* of wrong decisions. Especially like hiring an incompetent IT staff.
    • Only in Microsoft-land do they charge you to buy a mail server (Exchange), while also charging you to buy the client (Outlook) that was specifically designed to talk to that mail server....and then they have the balls to say you need special permission to 'allow' them to talk (CALs).

      You forgot to add in them charging you for the underlying OS as well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You guys were the incompetent IT staff. Exchange lets you unsend mail. If the receiver has yet to open the email it is erased from their system. If they have opened it they get an email saying to ignore it.

      It sounds like due to your unjust hatred of it you never bothered to learn how it actually works so you always looked for the most complex ways to do something rather than the ways the software was designed to function. There are certainly reasons to hate Exchange, but bad IT staff can occur with any

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      But what did you do for shared calendaring etc? Because email is one thing, but Exchange does a lot more than that and presumably you provided equivalent services.

      • Don't feed the trolls.

        While Exchange does have issues (like ALL software), what he's describing is circa 1998 Exchange 5.5. Obviously has not touched Exchange since then.

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      Some total fuckwit posts anonymously that they shut down an entire corporate email system just to 'unsend' an email, then accuses other people of being incompetent?

      Thanks, I needed the laugh.

      • Some total fuckwit posts anonymously that they shut down an entire corporate email system just to 'unsend' an email, then accuses other people of being incompetent?

        Thanks, I needed the laugh.

        On the other hand, if an Exec sent a poorly worded email or email to the wrong group, there could be situations where the result would be horribly bad for the company. In those specific instances it just might be better to shut down access to the email system, preventing people from accessing the email, vs the alternative.

        I'm not saying that the correct procedure was followed. Just that there are situations where more drastic measures might be called for.

    • What kind of shit were you running that all the users didn't receive that email by the time the fuckup had even dialed your number? If this happens weekly, why didn't you implement something to prevent this? Fucking whiner.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2018 @03:53PM (#56402873)

    I'm sure they're all on a server in HRC's basement.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @03:54PM (#56402877) Homepage

    What's the business case for making Windows Mail better? It's not going to sell Windows 10. It doesn't make any money on its own. It's the email analogy to Solitaire and MS Paint. It's probably just there to make sure it doesn't become an anti-trust issue if they integrate it, like Windows has always come with a (crappy useless) email client. And as such they've probably outsourced it to some shit tier support and what you're seeing is code monkeys creating a train wreck. But they don't care because everyone (except you, apparently) will either go webmail, Office 365 or use a third party client.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2018 @04:29PM (#56403005)

      Yeah. Honestly, I don't attribute this to 'malice'. Incompetence, lack of time, money, resource, and nobody caring? All plausible. Lack of vision. I'd also believe "keeping the thing at lowest common denominator" which means it's a toy, not a tool.

      But, my honest opinion:
      If you think of it as a 'mobile phone email client that accidentally ended up on the desktop' it makes a lot more sense. Only one email open at a time? Save in drafts? That's fairly common (iOS's email does that). And remember, this was Microsoft's approach, mobile versions of apps that work on phones AND desktops...

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      Because the Windows Mail client pushes ads. That and it's emulating Office 365 which is just as poor as a mail system as Windows Mail.

    • Rival operating systems include email clients by default. Off the top of my head, only ChromeOS has a significant user base yet doesn't include a client - and there's a reason for that.

      On the desktop, Mac OS X and Ubuntu both include clients. On tablets, Android and iOS both include clients.

      I know Windows doesn't have a major problem with marketshare on the desktop right now... but it is facing real threats given the fact for most applications a machine with a Windows API is unnecessary. That's partial

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      MS Paint is awesome. Especially now it supports more than BMP outputs.

      It means that I know that on any Windows PC I have the ability to capture, crop and save a screenshot. It's the graphical equivalent of knowing you'll have vi on a unix system.

      About as good too ;)

    • Ok, I'd be fine with that, but then what's the rationale for making Windows Mail a part of the OS with no supported way of uninstalling it?

      I mean, first there's the question of, why build it at all if it doesn't make financial sense? They could just point people to webmail, or include Thunderbird, or just assume that, by now, most people know how to deal with email on their own. Instead, they not only need to pre-install their klunky mail app with the OS, but they have to make it an app that comes pinned

  • by furry_wookie ( 8361 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @03:56PM (#56402889)
    >Microsoft is looking to drive users away

    So they have basically become Apple.

    I have never seen so companies who do exactly the opposite of what their users ask for and want from them than Apple and Microsoft....oh wait, um HP, Oracle, and IBM probably fit in there too..

    Hm is it just me or do all big tech companies suck
    • by AReilly ( 9339 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @08:38PM (#56403809)

      Except that Apple Mail.app, while not flawless by any stretch, is a really great mail client.
      Android has some good ones too: K9 is only missing cross-account message store/move and it'd be as good as mail.app.
      I've tried Microsoft Mail a few times and decided that it just doesn't work (for me.) Outlook works, for small values of work, but is the sort of obliquely painful experience that you'd expect of an unloved "legacy" technology.

      Microsoft wants you to transition to MS Teams. It also doesn't work, but it's much shinier than their mail offerings and has the advantage of locking you and your content into their infrastructure.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @04:03PM (#56402921)

    The Windows of Mail applications - I get it now.

  • 2 things, wasn't MS forced,not asked to add that setting to allow customer to choose and use their own choices of programs? The default Program settings. 2. If they are forcing people to use a browser they don't want isn't that breaking that setting that forced on MS by the government. I think its time to revisit that anti competitive law suite again..
  • by Dorianny ( 1847922 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @05:15PM (#56403171) Journal
    The problems are not specific to the mail app but mostly showcase the limitations of the "sand-boxed application" model. The whole idea of "one OS to rule them all" was idiotic from the start. Phones and pc's have very different usage scenarios, what works on one doesn't work very well on the other
  • It was that historic moment when millions of Windows 10 users uninstalled Mail in unprecedented numbers, after one solitary anonymous coward posted on Slashdot how simple it was to uninstall

  • From TFA:

    There are of course small features I would like to see added to Windows Mail, like being able to set formatted signatures (as opposed to just plain text), but that's hardly a priority.

    If it's not plain text then it doesn't belong in the body of an email. That's what attachments are for.

    He doesn't do his credibility as a sensible and informed critic of MUAs any good with that statement. Although, to be fair, he's probably correct in saying that the current Windows mail client is a POS; they al

    • If it's not plain text then it doesn't belong in the body of an email. That's what attachments are for.

      Windows Live Mail (the official download for Win 7 is already removed, and the "web-installer" exe file that novice users downloaded in the past no longer work of course) can do HTML signature.

      Outlook Express 6 (included in Win XP) can do HTML signature too.

  • If they tried, they'd undoubtedly fail miserably and end up creating an excellent product.

  • They can't.
  • Claws Mail, baby (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claws_Mail

    Multiplatform, runs circles around Thunderbird speed wise and is extensible through plugins. Doesn't allow sending HTML mail (though it can receive it) and is extremely fast in navigating mail folders or finding messages. I keep all my mail inline converted from other older clients, that is about 20 years and tens thousands mails, and it still starts in less than half a second.

  • I'm probably going to get torched for this, but I am actually pretty happy with Windows Live Mail 2012. You can still download it if you search for it.

    It does pretty much everything I want, and is relatively bug-free. (My biggest gripe is if sending an email to an illegitimate address [like someone who mistypes their email and I copy and paste it without looking closely], it stuffs up the send process, sometimes requiring me to force-stop the program, but this happens quite infrequently. Pretty tolerable as

  • This is Slashdot. We all know Microsoft does shit like this. It's pretty much in their business model. Make default/light apps suck. Bait them toward payed solutions under their own control (i.e. outlook). Profit!

    Also make those apps suck, because....more profit?

  • what the hell is wrong with these windows users.
    don't use it, plain and simple, not as if it is the only email client in the world.
    as if the ads weren't bad enough already (why? does MS need the extra money, really?), you have more bugs then should be normal.
    just install thunderbird and be done with it, never look at this crazy default windows mail client again - there is NO reason to use it.

    don't give me that BS about it being installed by default blahblahblah.
    lot's of people find & use chrome, even wo

    • Because my guess is that few people actually run into the problems poster described. I actually uninstalled Thunderbird and switched to Windows Mail because I was having severe performance problems with Thunderbird. I've never experienced any issues with Windows Mail. It's a very basic app, but it works just fine for me.

      Not looking forward to seeing these changes, especially with links opening to Edge and upcoming ads. May push me to find a different client, or see if Thunderbird's performance is still

  • They are! The author is talking about insider builds not being perfect. Well, duh.
  • Windows Mail is unusable

    Yet, the author has apparently been using it for long enough to catalog all of its flaws.

    which means Windows 10 doesn't come with an email client. That's incredibly sad.

    It also doesn't come with a text editor or web browser, cry me a river.

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