It’s been 12 days since the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft’s latest attempt to satisfy the masses with a modern, touch friendly OS. It’s also been more than six months since millions of users, testers, have been playing with different iterations of Windows 10, to ensure that the launch build would be as close to ideal as it can get. Overall, for Windows 10, I’ll offer a B+. For Windows 10 Mail, a D- (and I’m being generous because it usually opens when you click on it). In my opinion, Windows 10 Mail is by far the worse version of free mail Microsoft has ever released. Worse than Outlook Express, worse than Live Mail. And most certainly worse than Windows 8 Mail. If your going to compare specs and features, Windows 10 Mail might score some high marks. But if you actually try to use the application, say for a full day, reality will set in.
After playing with Windows 10 Mail, otherwise know as Outlook Mail, in preview mode on my Yoga Pro and Nokia 635 the past couple months, I approached Windows 10 Launch Day with cautious optimism. I thought, for sure, they would clean up the crashes, the constant account disconnects, the incoherent UX. But no, none of that happened. On my personal machines, where mail gets used occasionally to file away an Amazon receipt, the ineffectiveness of Windows 10 mail is a nuisance. On my office machine, it was downright intolerable. By July 30th, it was driving me nuts. By July 31st I was setting up all seven of my accounts in Outlook Desktop (which I own by way of an Office 365 subscription) in an effort to stop the bleeding. I haven’t opened Windows 10 Mail on my office machine since. And I won’t until I read an article somewhere that says “everything” has been fixed. Why don’t I just use Outlook Desktop you say? Well, because Windows 8 Mail
is was easier to use. Oh, and I have voiced my opinion on every one of those, “So how do you like Windows 10 so far?” e mails, and any place else I can. I figured 12 days was a long enough waiting period for launch jitter politeness. Now it’s time to take some action.
What kind of problems have I experienced with Windows 10 Mail
– Pretty much every time I open mail on any of my devices, 3 or 4, or sometimes all of my accounts, will have the little warning triangles pictured above. Clicking Fix Account flashes the login screen for part of a second and then it goes away. Usually doing this with each account 3 or 4 times solves the issue. That’s 3 or 4 times, x 3 or 4 accounts x every 5 or 6 hours. WTF. This also happened with Windows 10 Mail when I was previewing the builds back in June. Oh, and this happens, at least occasionally, on all five of my devices; desktops, laptops and tablets.
– On several occasions, right in the middle of composing an email, Windows 10 will simply close without warning. When I reopen the app, the last couple sentences of my mail message will be gone and I have to pick up where I left off. It can happen multiple times while composing a longer, time consuming message. This has happened on more than one machine, so it’s not a bad install. And it also happened the first time I tried Mail during the Win 10 preview. More often though, when Windows 10 is sitting idle in the Task bar and I click it to open, the app will simply disappear. I then have to go to the Start menu to launch again.
– Action Center alerts and visual alerts seem to be very intermittent. Sometimes I get them all. And then for a couple hours I get nothing. No understanding as to what’s going on.
– It can take forever for mail reads, deletions and other actions to update on other devices, web mail, etc.
What absolutely sucks
– Conversation View, that’s what. Enough said. I need an option to turn this
burden feature on/off for each account.
– Having to click Accounts to see my list of accounts. And then having to open each account (after fixing all the triangle warnings) to check for new mail. Who thought this was a good idea? Probably a marketing guy who wants you to click through 1200 unsorted search returns for USB Flash Drives on BestBuy’s website.
– Looking at that silly ass blue sky thing every time I open a mail account. Hey dudes, how about showing me some damn mail in your mail app.
Compared to Windows 8 Mail, I am finding Outlook Desktop to be clunky and tiring. I was a big Outlook Desktop user back in the last decade, so maybe it will grow on me. I guess Windows 8 Mail spoiled me a bit. Which brings up an interesting question. Why would anyone at Microsoft sign off on such an inferior mail experience? I have a couple theories. First, of all the people I have seen using Windows 8, none of them were using Windows 8 Mail. But these same people didn’t even know there was a Microsoft Store, and only clicked on a tile when they absolutely had to. Most of their business was done on the desktop with shortcuts pinned to it. They all used web mail; Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook/Hotmail for their daily mail fix. Leaving the browser open whenever the machine was on. Of course, most of these people only have one mail account. Or, at least only one where they can remember the password. So maybe Microsoft determined that a Windows 10 Mail app was irrelevant, but they would throw one in anyway. Wait thought, didn’t they just buy some mobile mail company that was better than sliced bread and serviced most of the iPhones in the world. If Windows 10 Mail is a result of that acquisition, that may explain a lot about iPhone users.
My alternate theory, my conspiracy theory, is probably closer to the truth. As it’s closer to Microsoft’s wallet. Windows 8 Mail was so good that no one needed to use anything else. Users didn’t need Outlook Web mail, with all those ads flashing on the sidebar. And they certainly didn’t need to purchase Outlook Desktop/Office 365 as Windows 8 Mail could satisfy all but the most demanding user. So Microsoft added Windows 10 Mail to the new OS, just to tick it off the list. But they made sure it wouldn’t satisfy anyone, driving users to the more profitable alternatives. If this is the case, I offer Microsoft a challenge. Strip the code for Windows 8 Mail out of the Windows 8 OS and offer it up as an app in the Store. Charge $19.99 for a one year subscription, same as paid Outlook Web mail subscriptions. And then let’s see what happens. Or maybe some developer entrepreneur will seize the opportunity, and sell 10 millions copies of a “good” mail app before Microsoft realizes that they screwed up. Hey, I can dream, can’t I.