Windows Live Essentials 2011. Windows Live Mail.

I have used Windows Live Mail as my only method of writing and sending out emails since its first appeared many years ago, and I consider it unequalled in its ease of setting up your email accounts, requiring no knowledge whatsoever by the user of any settings.  Windows Live Mail copes with just about everything that you need to read or access on your computer and does so in an easy to use format and now that it has received the ribbon interface, its even easier to use because all the most important features that the average user is likely to need  are presented in readily available icons across the top ribbon needing just one simple click to access.

Reading and Writing your emails.

Once you have set up your email accounts in Live Mail, they are all available separately in the left hand sidebar. I prefer this method to having all of your emails from all of your accounts lumped together in one place I feel its far easier to  access and read them when they are kept separate. You can even give each email account a different colour to distinguish them even further. As you can see from the screen grab, Windows Live Mail works with all the major email providers such as Hotmail, my ISP, Gmail and also, and it needs no input at all from the user in order to set up each account apart from your email address and password. There is absolutely no need to remember complicated settings with Windows Live Mail! Nor do you need another program in order to access your Hotmail account in the way that Outlook does.

My Email Accounts and the handy ribbon

All of the features or items that you are likely to need when reading or writing an email are easy to access from the Home ribbon icons. and include Email Message, Photo Email and Items in the New area of the ribbon, Junk and Delete, Reply, Reply All and Forward in the Respond area, Add to Calendar, Unread/Read, Move to, Flag, Watch Encoding, Copy to, Copy and find and included in the Actions area, the Tools area contains Send/Receive and also Work Offline and finally your Windows Live Account complete with your current Avatar.


You can read each email from the Home page of course or you can double click on an email from the list which then enlarges the email viewing window and allows you to read through your emails without having the sidebars present. Simply read the first email, reply, delete, etc, and then using the large blue arrow keys on the ribbon, move either back or forward through your other email messages. All of the relevant items that you might need to use are again readily available from the ribbon interface above the reading area.

Conversation View

New to the 2011 version of Windows Live Mail comes Conversation view, where you can collapse all your messages with the same subject into one expandable line as with the new online Hotmail. So no more cluttered looking inboxes!  And don’t forget that by using Windows Live Mail, you can access all of your email whether you are online or offline.

WLM showing conversation view

Photo Emails.

Want to send some photos to your family or friends? Even if you have lot’s of photos you need to send,  from a holiday for example or a family event, there are no problems doing so in Windows Live Mail! Simply choose Photo Email from the ribbon, select all the photos that you wish to send, and they will be added to that email message in a  very attractively displayed Photo Album inside the email.  Not only that, but they are sent in a compressed form so that you can include as many photos as you like even in  high resolution, and your recipients inbox will not be overloaded. They can then view them as a slideshow once they are received.

Photo Album

RSS Feeds.

I often have said about Windows Live Mail that it let’s you access everything but the kitchen sink on your desktop and nothing is more truer than its use of RSS feeds. Why bother trawling the internet to read a news article or one of your friends blogs or webpage when you can let Windows Live Mail bring them all down to you?. This really does make life so much easier and is one of the first things I do when logging onto my computer is to  read both my emails and my RSS feeds. My favourite RSS feature is Windows Live Mails ability to allow you to view all of your RSS feeds as a full webpage so that you view it as it appears online.

Reading a blog RSS feed in Windows Live Mail

And don’t forget that most webpages and blogs use RSS feeds.

Slim Cal.

One of my favourite features in the new version of Windows Live Mail is the Slim Cal feature. You can have this set to show on the right hand side of your emails as a constant reminder of this weeks events so that you don’t forget them. You can also quickly insert a new task for today or event at the bottom of the Slim Cal. This new feature could almost be tailor made for absent minded me! Now I have no excuse whatsoever to forget someone’s birthday or an appointment as they are all there to see whenever I read my emails!

Showing Slim Calendar

For me personally, Windows Live Mail makes my life so much easier. Its the first program I open after booting up my computer and I rely on it to both keep in touch with family and friends and also any news, webpages or blogs that I want to read. It’s so easy to set up and use for any type of user, from the novice to the expert. I love it and in my view it just keeps getting better and better each time its updated.



About technogran
A granny and a geek? You bet! Still trying desperately to keep up with it all.

45 Responses to Windows Live Essentials 2011. Windows Live Mail.

  1. jkavanagh58 says:

    Nice. The conversation view thing is interesting. I dislike gmail because it was the only view and I had used outlook and text based emails that it was foreign and I saw a benefit but for most of my emails there was no need to bunch them up. That this view is optional is nice, and its optional for gmail too as well. Windows Live Mail is a great email client for online and offline access.

    • technogran says:

      I use nothing else and I have tried the likes of Thunderbird (WLM’s nearest rival) and also Outlook. I hate outlook to be honest with you, far too fussy and complicated. Windows Live Mail does the job and does it well. As I state, its ideal for every type of user in my opinion. thanks John for the comment.

      • Well, Microsoft Outlook is really a corporate personal information manager, it has a lot of features. Some of it might come across overwhelming to average users who want to focus on every day experiences as you have detailed very well in your article TG. Outlook is best for those doing collaboration, connecting to Microsoft’s Enterprise Mail Server – Exchange, using mobile devices such as Blackberry, Windows Phone in such settings.

        Great introduction to Windows Live Mail, enjoyed reading.

        • technogran says:

          Thanks Andre. I suppose as a retired Granny I have no need for collaboration etc, but I also found when I tried Outlook that its harder to set up your email accounts as well, or is it that everyone expects software aimed at the corporate user to be difficult? I suppose its who you aim your product at and Windows Live Mail easily fulfills the remit to cater for just about everyone. Thanks for the comment.

      • Good day to you.
        I am French and I use WLM 2011 for a few weeks. I am not yet very familiar with it.
        I have a question, and I would be very happy if you or someone else could help me.
        Each time I click (right or left) on a mail in my in-box the mail opens. My purpose is to select that particular mail without opening it and to delete it (I receive dozen of commercial mails I do not want to open, just in case!!!). But when that click is done, the mail opens with (when left click) at the same time the windows which allows me to delete it, but again, it is already open.
        Can you tell me how I can delete mails without opening them?
        Many thanks in advance.

        • technogran says:

          Simple Gerard. Click on the junk icon in Windows Live Mail, and then click on ‘Add sender to blocked Senders list’ and do this to all of your spam emails. You don’t have to open them and you can simply empty your spam as and when you feel like it!

  2. Ludwig Keck says:

    Ver nice presentation of Live Mail.
    For a little more detail on Poto Email see here:
    (This is based on my blog post on Photo Emails.)

  3. rhapsodyrose says:

    First let me say thank you for visiting my Space oops Blog and comment, it was a welcomed surprise.

    On the issue of windows live I have to agree which is why I am still not happy with them closing off SPACES and we were shoved unto WORDPRESS. Though I am here now I still find it very limiting and not as smooth as WINDOWS SPACES. There were options we had there that one has to pay for here. I guess thats the price of FREE. My only solace is that I have a BLOGSPOT account that gives me some of those old flexibility ADDING MUSIC, CHANGING TEMPLATES to anything i want without FEE, I only have to know what I am doing in terms of HTML/CSS and even with my limited knowledge I can still monkey around and switch it up.

    In short – I already miss my WINDOWS SPACES BLOG 😦 but like anything in life you learn to love it or lum it. I am still thinking over staying with WORDPRESS. Truth is I am not impress with wordpress but am here with one foot in and one foot out.

    That’s my 20 cents worth. Have a fabulous day and a splendid week ahead and again thanks for the visit.

  4. margaret oakton says:

    I have updated to Windows Live Essentials 2011 but still keep receiving the message inviting me to do so. It pops up on the screen every few minutes, sometimes after removing whatever I am working on. I find it intrusive and very frustrating. I have been unable to discover how to prevent this happening, Please can anyone offer a solution?

    • technogran says:

      Which operating system Margaret? Vista or Windows 7? It shouldn’t do this, and maybe you need to unistall it all and then do a re-install. I have never had a message such as this on my computer. So go to Start, Control Panel, uninstall a program, scroll down to Windows Live Essentials and the uninstall them all. The re-install NOT via Windows Update but go to and download from there to install them all.
      Let me know if this doesn’t work.

  5. Richard Stewart says:

    When I send an e-mail from windows live essential 2011, I get a message saying ‘unable to send or receive messages for the live (swiss0324) account. What have I done wrong? I selected windows live mail as my default, and I looked in the windows 7 book and can not find what I did wrong.

    • technogran1 says:

      I never have this problem (although sometimes this will occur if the server is busy, so I try again straight away) if it still occurs, try deleting the account and then resetting it all up again from scratch.

    • winston says:

      The message ‘unable to send or receive’ is common when a one or more variables are in play.
      a. AV program is using an option to scan email(incoming and outgoing)
      b. 3rd party firewall interference
      c. router is reassigning an ip address

      For (a) reconfigure the AV program to not scan email. Some AV programs require removal and a custom reinstallation without email scanning. Optionally, consider using Microsoft Security Essentials an AV and Ant-Malware program which does not scan email.
      For (b) disable the firewall and test using the include Windows Firewall
      For (c) change the ip assignment frequency in the router configuration

      Other factors..that have produced the same message(and for quite some time)..though not as prominent as the above
      – if a Pop3 account and configured for Smtp port 25, then use(if your isp offers) and alternative smtp port(e.g. 587, 465)
      – if an IMAP account, check with your account provider availability of pop3/stmp settings
      – If a Hotmail account using the Http protocol(ensure no outstanding verification exists..logon to and answer any verification prompts, sign off then, retest in WLM)

  6. Becky says:

    I have a big problem with this update and I am close to dumping Live Mail desktop as I hate the changes.

    The ribbon is way too cluttered and I wish to slim down the mess so I have less icons and I can see things better. However, icons cannot be removed from the ribbon. Yes they have added the quick access toolbar which you can customise but the icons are far too small. What the hell is wrong with Microsoft? Why did they have to remove the customisation feature of the main toolbar? It worked well and as the old saying goes “if it aint broke, don’t fix it”. But I am finding this new toolbar unusable and a strain on my eyes and I am really disappointed.

    • technogran1 says:

      I don’t understand you Becky, which version are you using? The ribbon is meant to simplify everything and make all the features easier to find. I love it in fact you can blame me partly because I was one of the main users who asked for all of the Essentials suite to be given the ribbon interface. Too many users didn’t know that features existed simply because they were ‘buried’ under menus etc. The ribbon allows a user to see at a glance every feature and then simply click in it. No more hunting around in drop down Menus!

      • Becky says:

        Hi Technogran, I like the ribbon but I don’t like the way that icons cannot be removed. I have to have big icons so the quick launch is no good for me. But the ribbon is not customisable so I have lots of icons I do not need that clutter up the ribbon.

        I don’t need photo email, items unread/read, watch/encoding, copy to/copy, work offline and sign in. I don’t need all these and my send/receive is lost in the middle of it all. All I want with big icons is new email, reply, forward, print, send/receive and search.

        With the previous version of live mail I could delete all the unused icons making things easier to read but now I cannot do that at all. I know people will say use the quick launch, but as I said the icons are too small to read and they cannot be increased.

        So what I would like is for Microsoft to allow either removal of icons from the ribbon or allow the quick launch to have larger icons with names. Please 🙂

        • technogran1 says:

          I’ll forward your request to the Mail team. I don’t use them all either but it doesn’t bother me. You have to remember Becky that we all use these applications differently and I am sure that lot’s of users will use every one of them, or why include them on the ribbon? So you would like to keep the nice big icons on the ribbon but be able to ‘get rid’ or not show those that are no use to you? a sort of ‘personalized ribbon’ Okay, will give this feedback to the team but not sure if its possible to do.

          • Becky says:

            Yes please, my suggestion is the ribbon is good to show off the features but allow us to remove some to make things easier. Just like they did in the last version. This is very important to me as I have some issues and get confused sometimes and too much program clutter makes it worse.

          • Linda says:

            My husband because of eyesight problems (tunnel vision) has to reduce the size of his box. That means the the “Send/Receive” button (the most important one) gets DROPPED off the right side of the box, which defeats the purpose. He wanted me to try to remove some of the other icons so that the “Send/Receive” button could stay on his reduced box. There really should be a way to hide unnecessary buttons. Or AT LEAST the “Send/Receive” button should be available when the box is reduced.

        • technogran1 says:

          By the way, try double clicking on an email Becky. The ribbon icons do change depending oh what you are doing at the time. If you ‘double click on an email (to read it in isolation for example) then the ribbon doesn’t contain as many icons.

        • winston says:

          The last version used a toolbar which is not present in WLM2011. That feature was replaced with the Quick Access Toolbar(as opposed to the term ‘Quick Launch’ which is a Windows feature, not Live). All one can do is add the appropriate icons found on the main program Windows Live Mail button and the 4 Ribbon tabs(Home, Folders, View, Accounts) to the Quick Access Toolbar(note once added they can not be rearranged, thus plan in advance of the order).

          You are not alone in desiring the ability to remove icons from the individual ribbon tab Imo, it is doubtful, even with feedback, that option will be available due to significant code rewrite involved…i.e. it may have a low priority for future updates for the current WLM build and the next major wave(Wave 5). To submit your own feedback go here..

  7. compusher says:

    WLM is fine on my computer, but when I try to access it from another computer all I get is my original live account, not the one with multiple accounts. Can you please tell me what I need to do to make this work? Thank you!

    • technogran1 says:

      compusher, can you be more specific please? Do you have Windows Live Mail installed on both computers? Which operating system are you using on both computers? Thanks

      • compusher says:

        I am using Windows 7. It was my understanding that I could access my WLM account from any computer via the Internet, as I did the old hotmail or live account… . I cannot count on Windows Live Mail being installed on any computer in a hotel or Internet cafe when travelling. Am I mistaken? Thanks.

        • technogran1 says:

          Windows Live Mail would have to be installed on a computer obviously before you could access your emails from it because its a desktop application.

        • Winston says:

          One does not have a WLM account. They do(or could have) a Windows Live Hotmail type account. Hotmail type accounts are of the form, or other country specific derivatives of the domain e.g.,, etc.

          All Hotmail type accounts can be accessed wherever internet access is available(hotel, internet cafe, friend’s house, library etc) by opening a browser, navigating to either or and signing-in/logon with your Hotmail type account username and password.

          WLM can be installed on any computer, but it is not required to access your current or old hotmail/live account when travelling…any pc with a web browser will do.

          msft mvp mail

  8. compusher says:

    I see. My vision of what could be obscured the reality. Thank you for pointing out the obvious..

  9. Beverley Jones says:

    I love windows live mail and use it regularly, and the calendar too. Is there any way I can get this to talk to my sony ericsson mobile phone, so that I don’t have to type appointments in twice. I have sony PC suite (for calendar etc) but prefer the live mail, adcice please

    • technogran1 says:

      I’m sorry but I don’t know the answer to your question. Perhaps you might be better asking in the Solutions area of Microsoft Answers where someone probably can help you better than I. Go to and ask your question there.

    • Winston says:

      Your phone has to be supported by Windows Live Mobile to achieve the desired result
      To determine if your phone is capable start here:

      If your calendar in Windows Live Mail is associated with Live ID and also present at in the web interface at you may be able to sync events between your smartphone and your computer. To get started, go to the Windows Live for mobile website, and then click My device.

      1. Not all phones support Windows Live mobile features (and vice versa) and not all that support Windows Live mobile provide the ability to sync a Live Calendr. (i.e. one type of phone may support Windows Live mobile features – Hotmail, Messenger and Calendar, while another type of phone may only support less features – Hotmail but not Calendar or Messenger)
      2. No phone syncs directly with Windows Live Mail (the desktop client)

      msft mvp mail

  10. Umar Kothari says:

    This is an great article, I’ll be adding this site to my bookmarks 🙂

  11. says:

    Everything is very open with a very clear clarification
    of the challenges. It was truly informative. Your site is extremely
    helpful. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Rhonda Reid says:

    Just installed windows live mail and photo gallery on my laptop. It’s an older one and supports windows xp 32 bit. I also have a desk top, much new which I have window vista 64 bit on. My question, on my desk top windows live mail looks just like your illustration, whereas on my laptop it’s missing all the icon at the top and I have a panel on the left side which does NOT show my calendar, but instead shows the entire email as if I have opened it. Cannot remove that right side panel. Any suggestions, or is this just the way Live mail works on windows xp.

  13. Cari says:

    how do i access the ribbon (it is grey and won’t let me change the font color or size in a reply email or new email)

    • Technogran says:

      It shouldn’t be greyed out Cari. Are you signed into Windows Live Mail with a Microsoft ID such as Hotmail, Live Mail etc? Once signed in, all the features of the ribbon should be available to you and coloured in.

  14. Alfanso Thomas says:

    Hey very good blog with useful stuff…great job…Keep sharing more!!!

    Visit the website: for Windows Live Mail Support

    Thanks for great information 🙂

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  16. John says:

    Two issues with windows live email:
    1. Two people share computer, one with 3 email accounts and the other with 2 email accounts. All email accounts want to load and do if you have “remember password” checked on each account when window live is started. If you don’t check remember pass word on some accounts so as to not automatically load them, the pass word screen continues to pop up asking for the password. Any way to have separate account log in for each account like in outlook express?

    2.When I start Windows Live it loads and shows the last emails that were down loaded without having to sign in. This is a privacy issue. Any way to not have emails show up before logging into a specific email account?

  17. Sylvia says:

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    Such clever work and coverage! Keep up the fantastic works
    guys I’ve you guys to my blogroll.

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