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June 24, 2009

A Sucky Thing About Windows 7

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

For the first time since Bill Gates acknowledged that email is a necessary thing (c.1995), a new version Windows will not come with an email program.

Way back when, the email program foist upon us by Windows was called Outlook Express. Or as I liked to call it, “Outlook distress.”

Outlook Express, or OE, was an adequate, if not bug-riddled program. In fact, the biggest weakness of OE was that, as the world’s number one email program, it was a huge target for the Bad Guys.

I remember one virus that just waltzed into your computer because some dweeb at Microsoft thought, “Gee, wouldn’t it be great if OE automatically ran a script attachment on an email message!” That dweeb caused millions of PCs to become infected and lead to one of many OE patches over the years.

Of course, most of the vulnerabilities of any email program are due to human engineering. Those viruses would spread no matter which email program you ran, as long as the human was silly enough to actually believe that by opening the file attachment he would see the Taco Bell dog poop on Ronald McDonald.

“The message said, ‘This is hilarious!’ How was I to know it was a virus?”

In Windows Vista, Microsoft replaced OE with a program called Windows Mail. Essentially Windows Mail was the same thing as OE; same commands, same everything. I suppose they made the change because too many people confuse Outlook Express with the more complex personal information management program Outlook.

(I must point out again, that Microsoft has this terrible problem naming things. Outlook Express and Outlook are two prime examples.)

Windows Mail was okay, but now it’s gone. Windows 7 doesn’t come with an email program. Is that a blessing?

You can download an email program called Windows Live Mail. It’s a very flimsy, tepid email program that does regular mail as well as the web-based Live Mail. I’m disappointed in the program, not just because of its weak interface and confusing title (again, is it the same as Live Mail or different?), but because users will have to download it. That’s not easy for a beginner.

In addition to Mail, other programs like Movie Maker must also be downloaded. What’s wrong with putting all that stuff on the Windows 7 disc?

Perhaps things will change when Windows 7 is released in the fall. They might revive Windows Mail and include the other freebies on the disc. I think it would be a wise move. Otherwise, people are going to be upset because I think they expect an email program. Microsoft has trained them that way.


  1. You never know, Dan. The big companies might throw Thunderbird or other free and/or Open source alternatives in with their computers.

    Comment by Douglas — June 24, 2009 @ 2:38 am

  2. True. Let’s hope.

    Comment by admin — June 24, 2009 @ 6:43 am

  3. one of the reasons i went back to windows xp was because windwoes movie maker wouldn’t run — i mean, did M$ rip of sony vegas or something? i gotta have a video accelerator in order to use WMM.

    on another topic, what was this about “how to change diapers” in DOS for dummies, 2nd edition?

    Comment by linuxlove — June 25, 2009 @ 9:46 am

  4. Yeah, what was with the “How to Change Diapers” step by step thing? I’m kinda curious too, now that linuxlove has mentioned it…

    Comment by Douglas — June 26, 2009 @ 4:33 am

  5. I had to go find a 2nd Edition to look. Sure enough, it’s in there, tagged to the end of a basic file operations chapter. I suppose I put it in there because, back in 1994, I had two babies in the family. Obviously changing diapers was on my mind.

    By the way, those two “babies” are now 15 and 16 years old, and quite large!

    Comment by admin — June 26, 2009 @ 8:14 am

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