Yesterday was Windows 7's launch day - WooHoo! Yay! PARTAY!!! - but now that the parties are over and people are settling down to actually use their PC, a potential Windows 7 Achilles' heel emerges.
It revolves around email, specifically the fact that Windows 7 doesn't come with a built-in email client. Windows XP had Outlook Express and Vista had Windows Mail. By comparison Windows 7 doesn't come with an email client (saves on bloat ... although Microsoft do bundle far more frivolous applications Paint, Media Player, and endless games ...).
If my inbox is anything to go by, problems seem to fall into three categories:
- Users don't know where to find a new email client
- Users don't know how to migrate their data and settings
- Users have tried to migrate their data and settings but the migration fails for some reason
I've never really used Outlook Express or Windows Mail (beyond a casual glance) and I don't have any data stored in the programs so I'm somewhat at a loss when it comes to suggesting reliable fixes and workflows.
Bottom line though is that this is an issue that Microsoft needs to address. If users are finding this aspect of migration tricky, then there needs to be better help and possibly tools to help users migrate their email data and settings.
Microsoft, if you're going to switch platforms of users, you need to make is crystal clear how to move data and settings, otherwise people will become annoyed, frustrated and angry. Expecting people to search, trawl through the file system and mess about simply isn't an option.
[UPDATE: Installing Mozilla's Thunderbird email client is a good solution offered up by some of you ... good idea!]
[UPDATE: I'm seeing a lot of "experts" chiming in here with various points such as this is a non-issue, people should move to the cloud, no one uses OE or WM, etc. You're all missing the point here, which is that when people upgrade, they expect similar functionality. What Microsoft has done here is remove functionality and let the end user muddle through sorting it out. That's a big mistake if you want people to upgrade to your new OS.
The issue here is also one of power uses vs. the average user. Power users are hardly likely to be using WM or OE, but it seems that a lot of users do, and Microsoft has once again made one of those "we know better" decisions to remove a feature that a segment of users find useful.]