­Windows Live e-mail programs has filters to detect spam and marks them so they're immediately visible to users.

Microsoft product screen shot reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.

Windows Live E-mail Unique Features

Hotmail, which is one of the e-mail programs supported by Windows Live, is certainly not new, but engineers are constantly adding new and unique features to the venerable program.

To start with, the new Hotmail has 5 gigabytes of storage for users, which is a large amount for the casual user. To put 5 gigabytes in perspective, it can store three, two-hour movies or about 1,000 MP3 files.

The new design also allows users to choose among several layouts, colors and toolbars. The options allow users to select the setup that makes the most sense to them and provides the most convenience to their e-mail habits. Longtime users of Hotmail can use the familiar Classic look, making it easier to transition to the newer version. It's easy to switch views allowing users to access advanced features. The overall set up resembles Microsoft Outlook, another popular e-mail program.

Other features include:

  • Reading panes that allow quick e-mail views and image blockers to guard against spammers
  • Drag-and-drop action to help organize e-mails
  • Right-clicking, which allows users to quickly reply, delete, print or manage folders
  • Automatic address completion, which quickly fills in an address based on the first few keystrokes by a user
  • Mobility, which allows users to access their e-mail using a Web-enabled mobile phone, smartphone or PDA
  • Customized filters, spell check and calendar functions

Security isn't only better on the new Windows Live Hotmail, it's easier to use. Color icons make it simple to quickly determine whether an e-mail is suspicious. The user can wipe out junk mail with a single click. The program also contains effective anti-virus and spyware features that allow users to keep their computer clear of such troublesome issues. The overall look, with a preview window and reading pane, strongly resembles Outlook, including that program's drag-and-drop features and organization.

If you don't wish to download mail to your computer, you can use Windows Live Mail to visit your various mailboxes around the Web. If you're familiar with Microsoft Outlook Express, then Windows Live Mail will be a snap. It's known as a simple, cleanly designed e-mail program. It also offers some nice higher-end features, such as the ability to send photo e-mail. Like its Hotmail companion, Windows Live Mail allows you to customize your screen and lay out the program to your liking.

Windows Live Mail allows you to access multiple accounts easily, including Hotmail, Yahoo Mail premium accounts, Google's Gmail and others. You also can open a Windows Live Messenger account and chat with your messaging buddies from the convenience of your Windows Live Mail inbox. The program also makes it easy to check your friend's social networking pages on Windows Live Spaces blogs. It also allows you to store e-mail directly on your computer, which can aid long-term storage.

Windows Live lets e-mail users import contact information from other e-mail programs.

Microsoft product screen shot reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.

Windows Live Mail is spam protected and includes anti-virus filters that you can apply to multiple e-mail accounts. It also has visual warnings that warn if an e-mail message appears suspicious. If you see one, the user has the option to click "Delete and Block," which will take care of that e-mail and block any other e-mails from that address.

Find out how to set up and use a Windows Live e-mail account on the next page.