I got the invitation for testing the Windows Live Mail Beta & I opted for it, anticipating some enhanced UI that will help me use my Hotmail better. The invitations for this next generation of Hotmail are given out by themselves only, no existing beta tester can invite anyone else, as in the case of Gmail. So I jumped on, upgraded to Windows Live Mail Beta and logged in. But after using the interface for a few minutes, I was quite a bit disappointed, even though I’d known from the first looks that I’ll be disappointed!!
The mail interface is horizontally divided into three frames. The left frame has the list of folders like Inbox, Deleted Items, Junk Mail & user folders etc. The middle frame displays the contents of the current folder, so if you click a folder in the left frame, the contents of the middle frame will change. The right frame is the biggest of three and displays the email message selected in the middle frame. The interface smells strongly of the sweet aroma of AJAX but it also stinks of the nasty odour which comes when too many things are crammed up in too little space!!
Since the whole interface is AJAXified, you need to have a modern browser to view it, though I’m not in favour of using any older browsers(you are not supposed to be browsing internet if you are stuck with an older browser). But there are three things that annoyed me most & because of which I’d say that the Windows Live Mail is crap as of yet!!
Firstly, you cannot view more than one email at a time, since you cannot open email messages in new windows/tabs as was possible with earlier UI, which leads to frustration as mentioned in the next point.
Secondly, since you cannot open email messages in new window/tab, you are restricted to viewing the emails in that confined space of rightside frame which means that you’ve to scroll a lot both vertically & horizontally, which is quite frustrating.
Thirdly, whenever you open a folder, the first email message of that folder is automatically opened in the rightside frame. Now this will lead to more spam!! How you may ask!! Well, sophisticated spammers & marketers use tracking images in emails so that they can track which email addresses are valid & how many people read the emails. This is done by embedding an image in the email which is called from the server of the spammer/marketer. The URL of this image is made unique & attached to the email so that actions for every email can be tracked. Now when the email is opened, the image is loaded & the info is sent to the spammer/marketer that your email is valid & it has opened the email. Now this may not be that much of a problem since images from unknown senders are blocked & you’ve to click a link to view them, but still its irksome, since you sometimes get advertising emails from known senders as well and I for one wouldn’t want to pass them the info that I’ve seen their ad email. For example, I subscribe to a newsletter which also sends me emails from their advertisers. Seeing the subject lines of these emails, I simply deleted them earlier, but now they are opened(if they are at the top) without my consent whenever I open my Inbox, thus providing the advertisers info that I’ve read their email(which will surely prompt them to send more ad emails).
Now another nuisance of this interface is that the Live team has crammed up too much into too less area that I can’t even read the subject of emails properly, thus allowing me to delete useless ad emails!!
I think that its these kind of small details that become major nuisances if they are not paid attention. They can add however much AJAX they want to the interface, but if the UI isn’t usable, they are not getting much out of it in my opinion. If they are to be competitive with Gmail(which certainly is their agenda) then they’ve got to become usable from unusable. Gmail excels in that, and they provide both enhanced UI as well as simple basic UI, and a user can pick any of them as per his preferences. If I wanted an Outlook type interface, I’d have chosen it instead of webbased email, wouldn’t have I? So I don’t know where the Live team got their delusion that people wanted an Outlook type interface, and even Outlook doesn’t have the quirks that this Windows Live Mail has!!
And a word for those who want to try this new interface. 😕 Its nothing which you should be excited about, not right now that is. Your current Hotmail interface is much better that that, trust me!! 😉
Though I still like Gmail more. You could turn off the reading pane if you don’t like it. I did not care for it either, so I turned mine off.
doing that isn’t much of use, since I find that it makes it even worse, as after reading an email in the then available single pain, I’ve to click Inbox again to go back & read another mail, so that requires two clicks to read an email(one click extra than present)!! 🙁
Ok I just got my glimpse of it and it is total crap.. 25% of the top of the entire page is a HUGE annoying ad. Than let’s make it worse lets throw another ad to the right and take up another 20% of the screen.. that makes about 45% of the entire screen an annoying ad fest reminds me of AOHELL! Which I have never used by the way. Now let’s make it even more unuseable let’s add the menu’s to the left so not only is folders on left which is fine but now the entire menu interface is on left making it even worse. Total CRAP is right.
And not to mention it takes forever to load. At Time, it freezes my computer and causes runtimes. I hate it. Is there a way to go back to the old style?
robbyboo, do what I did.. Unsubscribe from the stupid beta and go back to the old reliable hotmail. It’s way better than this live crap.
Well, it certainly doesn’t takes forever to load, I haven’t experienced this so far & I’ve been using it everyday for about 3 months now!! And its quite lighter & less sluggish than the new interface of Yahoo! Mail. 😉 If you are having a problem, then you should take a look into your PC for the cause of problem, the culprit(s) might be in there!! 🙂
The interface might have some problems sometimes, like sometimes the service is unavailable & sometimes its unable to load, but that’s happened just a few times only & is acceptable since the service is in Beta & they are working on it.
Sure, just click on the “Options” link above the reading pane & then scroll down the page that opens where you’ll see a link labelled something like “Choose inbox layout: Windows Live Mail Experience or Classic Hotmail View” & then click it. From there you can switch back to the old Hotmail interface. But this will work only till this new interface is in Beta. After that, all Hotmail accounts will be ported to the new interface!! 😉
Yep and the moment it does I’ll stop using hotmail.. Sorry but I am not putting up with a F*****G bulletin board when I am reading my mail. It’s nothing but a big ad fest! Losers that use AOL so they can have ad’s plastered at them will definitely like Hotmail Live.
I agree with you Marvin on the ads issue, the placement is quite poor considering that they are aiming at having the full interface in the available screen space without scrolling. Yahoo! Mail’s new interface was clean till sometime back but they also have put in an ad column on the right, that has reduced the available space for the reading pane, still its not as bad as Windows Live Mail considering the latter has a big banned on top as well!!
Still, I can hope for the best!! 😉
The messa ge area is tiny, and the ad area is huge!!
I subscribed, thinking it would be better and now all I see is a pink screen with some info on the side. There is no way to get into my mail, no scroll button on the side… Is there another way to get ahold of someone or to unsubscribe????
What did you subscribe to? Do you mean that you opted in for the Live Mail Beta & can’t access it anymore? You will need Internet Explorer for accessing the Live Mail, IE6 is recommended. Login using that and in the options section there’s a link to opt out of the beta!! 🙂
Really, Really awfull. Gmail is much better. Have to hit refresh to make it work and 25% of page taken up with annoying advert. Piece of crap
Hey amit…thnx for ur articles….i too m facin da same freakin problem with windows live..i somehow got into dis windows live….n i’m followin ur response to opt out….first thing…most annoyin..when i sign in, i get to this search page which says “find in email” and “find in contacts”…i typed “options” in the first place..n it lead me to the main page..which displays only the left frame….n when i search for “options” n click it, its again send sme back to the first page…i really got some important client mails to reply to…pls friend….help me….
I was so dissapointed when using Windows Mail Live I straight away opted out. In my opinion everyone should use gmail!
i like it. much easier. what you need to do is get all of your toolbars out of there. now those are annoying. i tend to trust anything microsoft related, and works fine. i rarely install anything in my computer non-microsoft.
Ronald, as I see it, its just a matter of preference. I neither hate Microsoft nor am crazy about it. I just like whatever works for me, whether its from Microsoft or someone else, that hardly matters much to an individual. 🙂
As for the Windows Live Mail, they are working on it, its in beta afterall. Now they’ve removed the 3rd pane on the right side which contained an ad & obstructed the reading. So ofcourse its become better again!! 😉
Too many annoying bugs, as followed are just some of them:
1. Drag&drop a message to a folder doesn’t work, it always drop my message to the wrong folder.
2. When I instead use menu to move message to folders, since I have a long list of folders, there’s no scrollbar in the dropdown menu, so there’s no way to choose the folders not displayed on the screen.
3. Search sucks. A simple search doesn’t give me the right result. You can try it out youself.
4. There’s so many other annoying things. For instance, the search result doens’t show which folder the message belongs to, common sense isn’t it?
I have no clue why it’s called beta, it shouldn’t be released by any standard. I swear I won’t try it until it’s an official release. I’ve tried twice and couldn’t even use it for simple tasks. I’ve never been a MS-evil guy, but I’ve lost my faith on them. I’ll switch to others if possible.
Hell, I tried this and can’t even log in anymore. I go to the page to sign in and it’s nothing but a big white screen and all it does is constantly refresh itself, what the hell? I’ve got mail I need to read and can’t even make it to the inbox to see how bad it sucks, and I have no idea how to unsubscribe to this crap if I can’t even get to the damn page to unsubscribe!
if you want to unsubscribe to windows live mail…click on ‘options’ and ‘go to other options’ go to the left of screen, you will see ‘back to msn hotmail’
good luck. and im happy to report im back to the old hotmail…
I didn’t sign up for it, but there it is. Its really, really bad. Has it been forced on all hotmail users ? Assuming that by this time next week I’m still subjected to this torture I will have to go through the hassle of changing accounts.
All I want is a simple email account. I must be able to rely on the fact that it will never lose my saved mail. It must be easy and secure to access over the web, and it should almost never go down. What do y’all recommend ? Yahoo ? G-mail ?
Stephen, this post is 20 months old. Windows Live Mail has improved quite a bit since then, is more visually appealing than it was when I wrote this post! 😉 It has two modes now, a light version & a full featured one. If you are on a high speed connection(256kbps or above), it shows the full featured one to you by default. You can switch to the light version if you want which is plain and simple.
I wouldn’t recommend Yahoo! if you want plain stuff since soon Yahoo! Mail will also default to their enhanced version which is in beta testing as of yet. You can try and see Gmail, its plain and simple still. 🙂
I hate live mail. I want my old hotmail back it did what I wanted I dont need this livemail crap. you go to the web site and see how many people want to return to hotmail amd windows has not even replied to any comments let alone given people what they want.
I have no problem with the new interface. The biggest problem is that with every e-mail I send out, I’m sending an advertisement too. Does there have to be an advertisement tacked on to the bottom of every e-mail I send? And it’s not just Hotmail that does it. Yahoo does it too. I’m not sure about Gmail since I’ve never tried it. Having to put up with advertisements to use a free web based e-mail program is pretty typical and I can put up with it. But they’re now turning us (we who use free e-mail progs) into advertisers too (and un-paid at that). How much advertising will folks put up with before they cancel their accts? I think that’s what Microsoft and Yahoo are trying to find out. I believe that the next logical step in the evolution is that you’ll next have to view an advertisement prior to your message loading. It would resemble free game and video sites that state “your game will load after this advertisement finishes” so that you’ll have to view the advertisement to get you your e-mail message.I use FireFox and can click on an add and block all content from the ad sites and I have an add-on that lets me block flash animation ads as well. It makes a hugh difference in how I view the internet. Maybe it can help some of you block all of these darned advertisements as well.Keep up the good fight!