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Vista Mail

You mentioned Vista Mail in one of your tips the other day, but you didn’t go into too much detail about it. Is it different than XP’s mail? If so, how? Please explain!

It’s a little funny that you ask this, because our other mentioning of Vista Mail was in reference to a security issue that may be on the rise with the new operating system’s mail client. Well, I want to clear things up once and for all today, because Vista Mail really isn’t all that bad. And if you’re just new to Vista, you’ll definitely want to check it out!

In the last few minutes, I have been racking my brain, trying to think of the best way to present this new e-mail program to you all. The most useful thing I came up with is to just show you how to set up your Vista Mail account to get it going so you can actually start to use it for all your e-mail needs. I have a feeling that some of you have probably been looking around on your new Vista computer for Outlook Express. Well, you’re not going to find that, but do look for something called Windows Mail. That is what Vista calls its new e-mail program.

To get there, go to Start and click on Windows Mail. Now, if you have not set up your account yet, you will see a wizard pop up that will take you through all the steps. Here they are in a nutshell.

1.) Type in your name (or at least the name you want all of your receivers to see when you send them mail). Click Next when you’ve decided.

2.) Enter in your e-mail address. This can be the same one you’ve used for years or if you’d like to create a new one (in Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc.), you can do so. Click Next again when you’re done.

3.) The next step asks you for your Incoming and Outgoing names. This is actually information that you will need to get from your ISP. If you used Outlook Express on your other computer, you can use the same information, but if you don’t remember it, contact your ISP to get it. That’s the only way you’ll get past this part of the setup. Click Next when you’re finished.

4.) Next, you’ll need to choose a username and password for your e-mail account. At this stage, you can click the “Remember” checkbox, so you won’t have to type it in each time you open your Windows Mail. Then click Next.

5.) If you’re all set, you can click the Finish button and your account will automatically be set up.

Yep, it’s as easy as that! A little less confusing than setting up an Outlook Express account, but it still asks for all the important information needed. So, once you have your account all ready, you can start to look through it and figure out how to use it. But, don’t worry too much, because it’s very similar to OE, version 6. So, if you used that before, you should be just fine.

The first thing I noticed with Windows Mail was that the views were pretty much the same. There’s the box on the top and the box on the bottom. The top shows your received e-mails in a list and the bottom shows the actual e-mail content. I also noticed that the folders on the left hand side were exactly the same, including Inbox, Outbox, Sent Items, Deleted Items, Drafts and Junk E-mail. The menus along the top were fairly similar as well. I’m sure you’ll see that they are no longer icon type buttons, but a bit of a smaller version. You’ll see Create Mail, Reply, Reply All, Forward and Send/Receive. All of those work just like OE.

A couple things that were different are the Print and Delete buttons. In Windows Mail, the print button is an actual icon of a printer and the delete button is just a big red X. You just have to click on those to print or delete your e-mails. I guess they weren’t good enough to get their own buttons this time around. : ) After those, there is a series of new icons. If you hover your mouse over them, you’ll see that one is Contacts, the second is Windows Calendar and the third is Find.

With Contacts, you can click on that to add people to your address book. It’s a very convenient way of accessing the e-mail addresses and names you need. Just a quick click and there they are. The Windows Calendar is another very cool feature. Click on that button and a calendar will pop up for you. You can go from month to month, making notes of your appointments, etc. It’s very easy to use and great for keeping track of your daily activities. The Find button is where you can either search for a particular message, a certain person or for text in a certain message. That way, if you lose an e-mail, you can search by any of these items to retrieve it much faster.

There is also a Search box at the top of the window and you can use that to search for e-mail messages as well. Just type in a few keywords that you know were used in the e-mail you’re looking for and it should come right up in the window for you. It’s as easy as pie!

Everything else with Windows Mail is pretty much the same as what you’re probably used to. The menus along the very top are the same, including File, Edit, View, etc. You can still access your preferences through the Tools, Options menu as well. All of those tabs are the same too, so you can set up your account just the way you want it. Windows Mail does have some new stationery options to choose from. You can get those by going under the Message menu. My favorite is the green bubbles choice. It gives the e-mails I send out some real jazz!

So, as you can see, everything is still pretty much the same as Outlook Express 6, but be sure to browse through Windows Mail and familiarize yourself with everything. I’m sure a lot of you will get the hang of things right away, but at least you now have a small guide to go by for now. And you know, there’s always the Help menu if you need extra help. Now, go on and enjoy your new Vista e-mail program. Yes, yes, yes!

~ Erin