I really wanted to like Windows 10’s Mail app. I always thought Outlook was overkill for me, so when Windows 10 was in development, I closely tracked how its mail client was coming along. It turns out 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.
I have always preferred desktop email clients to web email. I like having all my emails available offline by default, I prefer managing emails in windows, and I like leaving emails open in a constant to-do list style.
After getting frustrated with Outlook 2017’s instabilities, I thought to myself — why not switch to Windows Mail? Surely a basic email client is enough to cover my needs.
I was horribly mistaken.
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.
Oh, and by the way, when it crashes, all my open windows crash too. It does not recover to the previous state like other Windows apps.
You would think fixing basic functionality like this would be a priority. But no, apparently driving Edge and Office 365 adoption are more important.
My insistence to use a desktop email client when web email has come so far over the years is probably a bit stubborn. But I like being able to track what still needs to be addressed by opening messages in separate windows. It’s a workflow that works for me — some emails stay open for just a day, while others take weeks before they are closed.
But Microsoft’s lack of attention to quality is too painful. I gave up on Windows 10 Mail a few months ago, and these latest developments are cementing my desire to never try it again.
There are plenty of desktop email clients for Windows, but Microsoft’s used to be the gold standard. It’s just unfortunate that you have to pay for Office 365 to get something actually usable, and even then … Outlook is a whole ‘nother story.
Maybe Office 2019 will improve Outlook, maybe it won’t. But this waiting game just means the desktop email holdouts like myself will give up and join the rest of the world in switching to web email. And we all know who the market leader is there.
Hint: It’s not Outlook.com.
ProBeat is a column in which Emil rants about whatever crosses him that week.