It seems Microsoft has found yet another way to push users towards Windows 10. Late last year, I wrote about issues with Microsoft’s popular Windows Live Mail 2012 program and the fact that the company was performing changes to its new email services such as Outlook.com that would render WLM useless without an update. This was worrying as it seemed to signify the company was looking to kill off the old app in favor of the unpopular default Mail app provided with Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
The issue at the time was the update caused issues with the application anyway – Windows Live Mail Will Die Without This Update That Cripples It Anyway. Now, though, even if you got it working again it seems WLM’s fate is sealed.
In a recent blog post, the company has issued a stark warning to WLM users:
The news comes as Microsoft continues to upgrade millions of accounts using new protocols and Office 365-based infrastructure. The trouble is, WLM doesn’t support it and whether or not the program could be upgraded, Microsoft has no plans to do so.
There’s no strict deadline, but the company continued to say:
If you use Windows Live Mail 2012 today, you need to switch to the Mail app on Windows or start using Outlook.com via a web browser before your Outlook.com account is upgraded. Upgrades for these accounts will start June 30, 2016 so it’s important to take action before this date.
One hopes that even if you miss the deadline, your emails and calendar will still be accessible via Outlook.com and that nothing serious will happen. However, this does mean that you’ll need to start using a different means to send and receive emails and to synchronize your calendar with Microsoft’s servers – and soon.
So, what are your options? A lot depends on your current operating system. If you’re on Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (if you’re not sure then go to the Start Menu, and type System, and click on the banner that says System Information. The top item is your OS name), then these do come with a built-in Mail app that was designed to replace the likes of WLM and Outlook Express.
It does seem to have received some minor tweaks such as the ability to link inboxes of different email accounts – this feature was absent in its original form and if you just want to send and receive emails then it’s not too bad. It even includes a calendar so it’s very similar to WLM. In fact, it looks a lot like Microsoft’s old desktop email clients too. You’re stuck with conversation view of emails, though (grouping emails together from a single sender, rather than listing each email individually) and it’s perhaps not as slick and neat as WLM either as it feels like a browser window than a fully-fledged program.