Microsoft's Windows Live suite offers several e-mail programs.

Microsoft product screen shot reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.

If you use the Internet for work or play, you're used to moving from application to application as needed. Maybe you use an e-mail program to send messages, and then switch to an instant-messaging program or a Web browser to view a friend's blog or post a new photo to your own page on a social-networking site.

Moving from program to program can be a headache, however, and do you know if you're really keeping up with the latest Web services and technology out there?

One of the latest pushes among leading software companies is finding ways to seamlessly integrate different programs, allowing users to move easily from one application to another as they create, share and store information. Windows Live is Microsoft's integrated suite of services and programs.

Windows Live combines applications such as e-mail, instant messaging and word processing with online services such as file sharing, blogs and off-site file storage. Users access some of these services online while downloading others to their hard drives. The applications and services are free of charge.

E-mail is one of the most popular applications in Internet use and Windows Live support several programs including MSN Hotmail and Windows Live Mail, which allows you to download mail from several other accounts.

In this article, we'll discuss the e-mail functions included in Windows Live. We'll look at the history of Windows Live and its e-mail functions, the e-mail's special and unique features, how to set up an account and what might be coming in the future.