It seems that there is not much choice in the world of e-mail programs these days. If you have bought a new computer in the past few years there's a good chance that you are using Microsoft Outlook Express or Microsoft Oulook.
While Outlook Express is a fair program, there is plenty of choice out there and it's worth trying one or two programs before you settle for one. In this section we'll be looking at Eudora, Outlook Express and web-based email, and considering the advantages and disadvantages of each. Outlook Express and Eudora are free, so feel free to experiment.
This has the advantage of being installed on virtually every PC around the world. It is very easy to use – the program is usually supported by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and explained in numerous computer and Internet magazines. Outlook supports multiple email accounts and different users, so it is ideal for people sharing computers.
Outlook Express does not, however, give the user any idea of how much information it is downloading when checking e-mail – this can be annoying to anyone on a slow dial-up connection.
Outlook lacks a couple of things which Eudora (see below) has. Some of the problems about Outlook are its ability to send e-mail as HTML (very confusing for people using non-HTML compliant e-mail programs) and its vulnerability to the latest forms of viruses which abound these days.
- Outlook can be downloaded from the Microsoft site or installed with Explorer.
Eudora is an 'adware' release. This means that if you don't want to buy the full program you can download a free version which displays advertisements. In my opinion this is a small price to pay for a decent program.
Eudora will do more or less everything Outlook Express does, but without the virus vulnerability – it also sends e-mail as plain text by default.
Specific extras which may make it worthwhile using are the PureVoice plugin which allows users to send voicemail as an attachment, and the feature I can't live without, Redirection – allowing you to keep the original sender's e-mail address in the 'from' field of a message when you send it on to a third person.
This means that when the recipient hits the 'Reply' button the reply goes to the original sender and not you – this saves me a lot of time every day, and assures I don't get hundreds of replies meant for other people.
- Eudora can be downloaded from the Qualcomm site.
If you don't have a normal e-mail account then you are probably obliged to use one of the free services on the Internet. There is not much to say about them – they have the advantage of being accessible from anywhere on the planet without having to reconfigure an e-mail program, but the huge disadvantage of being extremely slow (from most parts of the world, with an average connection).
It's worth experimenting with a couple of them until you find one you like using. Try the links below: