Chapter 6. Windows Mail

Windows Mail, the mail reader built into Windows Vista, is the successor to Outlook Express, which was built into previous versions of Windows. There have been some cosmetic and feature changes between Outlook Express and Windows Mail, but to a great extent, the basic operations of the mail program have remained the same.

Microsoft may have named the mail client Windows Mail because of the confusion between Outlook and Outlook Express. Outlook, shipped with Microsoft Office, is a more full-featured mail reader and includes a built-in calendar, task list, and other tools, so it's possible that Microsoft renamed Outlook Express to better differentiate the two programs. This is somewhat ironic, because Microsoft decided to name the email program Outlook Express in the first place to imply that it was a "lite" version of Outlook, even though there was really no relationship between the programs.

Even though Outlook offers more features, Windows Mail is a powerful email program. It includes spam filtering, good searching features, the capability to create rules to automatically handle incoming mail, and more.

Although Windows Mail is much like Outlook Express, there have been a number of changes, deletions, and additions to the program:

New toolbar

A new toolbar has been added, just below the menu, that gives access to Windows Mail's most commonly used features, such as creating, replying to, and forwarding mail; sending mail; printing mail; deleting mail; and searching.

Junk email filtering

Windows Mail includes what Microsoft calls SmartScreen technology to filter out spam; Outlook Express didn't include built-in junk mail filtering.

Quick search

In the upper-right corner of the main screen in Windows Mail is a Search box, much like the one in Internet Explorer, that lets you do a quick search through all of your messages.

Windows Mail communities

Windows Mail lets you rate the usefulness of newsgroup postings and view the ratings that others give to postings.

Elimination of identities

Outlook Express allowed for the creation of multiple identities, a feature that let more than one person use Outlook Express on the same PC with their own accounts, settings, and mail. Windows Mail eliminates identities. In Windows Vista, you'll have to create separate user accounts to accomplish the same thing. If you install Windows Vista over a previous version of Windows that had Outlook Express with multiple identities, Windows Mail will automatically launch a wizard to guide you through the process of importing previous email identities into your current user account. The wizard will launch every time you start Windows Mail until you import or delete all the identities.

Here is an alphabetical reference of entries in this chapter:


New Message

Watch Conversation



Windows Contacts

Internet Accounts

Read Options

Windows Mail

Junk E-mail


Windows Mail Options

Message Rules


Windows Mail Security

Windows Mail: \Program Files\Windows Mail\WinMail.exe

An Internet email client and newsgroup reader.

To open

Start All Programs Windows Mail

Double-click the Windows Mail icon on the Desktop, if it's been enabled.

Command Prompt winmail


Windows Mail (see Figure 6-1) uses a familiar Explorer-like tree interface to manage the folders into which email and newsgroup messages are organized. Highlight any folder name to display its messages; the currently highlighted message is then shown in the preview pane. Double-click the message to open it in a new window for easier reading and other options.

Figure 6-1. Windows Mail, the email application that comes with Windows

Newly received messages are stored in the Inbox folder. Files queued to be sent are stored in the Outbox folder, and are then moved to the Sent Items folder when they have been sent. The Deleted Items folder is like the Recycle Bin because it stores deleted messages until it is emptied manually. The Drafts folder stores messages as they're being composed. To add a new folder, select Local Folders in the tree and go to File New Folder. You can move messages from folder to folder by dragging and dropping them.

The first time you open Windows Mail, a wizard walks you through setting up your first account. An account in Windows Mail is not actually an email account, but rather an entry in Tools Accounts that connects to an existing email account. Windows Mail uses either the Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3) or the Internet Message Access Protocol 4 (IMAP4) Internet mail protocol to receive mail, and the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) to send mail. Nearly all Internet service providers (ISPs) and many online services (such as AOL and MSN) use POP3 and SMTP for mail transfer.

In addition to mail accounts, you can set up Directory Service accounts, which allow you to look up contact information using any of several online global contact lists. Windows Mail also functions as a newsreader for participating in Internet newsgroups; you'll need to add a News Account to Windows Mail before you can read any newsgroups (contact your ISP for details). Note, though, that it includes a built-in setup for participating in newsgroups on Microsoft's public NNTP server. Click on Microsoft Communities and it will walk you through the process of setting up access.

Windows Mail hot keys

Many people like using the mouse, but those who are more keyboard-oriented are always looking for fast ways to access Windows Mail features. That's where hot key combinations come in; rather than having to mouse around, you can press a simple key combination. Table 6-1 lists Windows Mail hot keys.

Table 6-1. Windows Mail keyboard shortcuts

Key combination


In Main window, View Message window, and Send Message window


Open Help.


Select all messages or all text within a single message.

In Main window and View Message window


Send and receive email.


Open or post a new message.


Open Contacts.

Delete or Ctrl-D

Delete an email message.


Reply to the message author.

Ctrl-Shift-R or Ctrl-G (newsgroups only)

Reply to all.


Forward a message.


Find a message.


Print the selected message.


Go to the next message in the list.


Go to the preceding message in the list.


View the selected message's properties.


Go to the next unread email message.


Go to the next unread newsgroup conversation.

In Main window

Ctrl-O or Enter

Open a selected message.

Ctrl-Enter or Ctrl-Q

Mark a message as read.


Move among the message list, Folders list (if on), and Preview pane.


Go to a newsgroup.

Left arrow or plus sign (+)

Expand a newsgroup conversation (show all responses).

Right arrow or minus sign (-)

Collapse a newsgroup conversation (hide responses).


Mark all newsgroup messages as read.


Go to the next unread newsgroup or folder.


Download newsgroup messages for offline reading.


Go to your Inbox.


Go to a folder.


Refresh newsgroup messages and headers.

In Message window: viewing or sending


Close a message.

F3 or Ctrl-Shift-F

Find text.

In Message window: sending only


Check spelling.


Insert a signature.

Ctrl-Enter or Alt-S

Send a message or post it to a newsgroup.


Switch among the Edit, Source, and Preview tabs when working in Source Edit view.


  • Alternatives to Windows Mail include the popular Eudora Email ( by QUALCOMM, and web-based email services such as Hotmail ( by Microsoft, Gmail ( from Google, and PINE for those die-hard Unix users. Another alternative is the excellent Mozilla Thunderbird (, which offers plenty of customizability in the form of third-party plug-ins.

  • Because it is an integrated component of Windows, Windows Mail may become the target of virus and Trojan horse attacks, in the same way that its predecessor, Outlook Express, was and that Outlook still is. A number of viruses exploited the vulnerabilities in Outlook Express to replicate themselves, sending a virus-infested attachment to everyone in your Contacts. Sadly, this isn't going to stop anytime soon. Given the dominance of Windows Mail and Outlook Express (and that of its big sister, Outlook), it's always going to be the virus writer's favorite target. On the bright side, though, Windows Mail has been made "leaner" than Outlook and Outlook Express, so it may present less of a target to malware authors.

  • If you want to use Windows Mail Express when you're not connected to the Internet, go to File Work Offline. If you are using a dial-up connection, you may even want to further reduce online time by configuring Windows Mail to hang up after sending and receiving messages. To do this, go to Tools Options Connection tab and turn on the "Hang up after sending and receiving" option. If autodial is enabled, Windows Mail will reconnect automatically when you go to Tools Send and Receive.

  • To send a file along with an email message, go to Insert File Attachment in the message composition window, or just drag the file from your Desktop or Explorer into the body of the message. If Windows Mail is your default email program, you can also send a file as an email attachment by right-clicking it and selecting Send To Mail Recipient. This opens a new, blank message with the file attachment included.


Changes the display of columns in the Message List.

To open

View Columns

Right-click the top of any column in the message list and choose Columns.


The message list in Windows Mail displays information about each message in columns. By default, those columns are labeled From, Subject, Received, Flag, Attachment, and Priority. But there are other columns you can display as well. To add columns to or remove columns from the display, choose View Columns, and Figure 6-2 appears.

Figure 6-2. Adding and removing columns from the message list

Check the box next to any columns you want displayed; uncheck the box next to those you don't want displayed. In addition to the default columns, you can display these:

  • Size (shows the size of the message)

  • Sent (shows whether a message was sent)

  • To (shows the recipient of a message)

  • Watch/Ignore (shows whether a message is being watched or ignored)

To change the order of columns, highlight an entry and click Move Up or Move Down. When you move a column "up," it will be moved to the left in the message list; moving it "down" moves it to the right.

You can also change the width of any column by highlighting it and typing the new width (in pixels) in the box near the bottom of the screen.


  • By default, messages are displayed in descending order by date (the newest messages are on top). To change that to ascending order, click the Received column. To switch it back, click the Received column again. To sort by any column other than the Received column, right-click the top of the column and choose either Ascending or Descending, depending on the order in which you want them displayed.

See also

"Watch Conversation"


Search for messages, people, and text.

To open

Edit Find

Click the Find icon on the toolbar.


One of the biggest problem that many people have with email is finding messages that they've sent or received. Windows Mail's Find feature does a very good job of helping you find messages. Find lets you perform three different kinds of searches: for messages, for people, and for text within a message. To choose among the three, click the down arrow next to the Find icon and select what you're looking for. (If you click the icon itself, you'll launch a search for messages.) Similarly, when you select Edit Find, you'll have the choice of which Find feature to use.

When you choose to search for messages, the screen shown in Figure 6-3 appears. You'll be able to specify which folder to search; whether to search the From:, To:, Subject:, or message text field; whether the message has an attachment or has been flagged; and a date range to search within.

Figure 6-3. The Find Message feature, which gives you multiple options for searching for messages

When you do a search, the results show in a pane beneath the Find Message screen.

When you search for people, a screen appears that lets you search by name, email address, street address, phone number, and freeform text. If you're in a corporation that uses Active Directory, you can search for people in your corporation by choosing Active Directory from the Look In drop-down list. Similarly, if your corporation subscribes to the Verisign Internet Directory Service, you can search for people outside your business. Choose Verisign Internet Directory Service from the Look In drop-down list.

To search for text within a message, highlight the message and choose the "Text in this message" option.


  • The hot key combination for doing a searchCtrl-Shift-Fmay confuse you because it's context-sensitive. If you're reading a message in a separate window (double-click on a message in the message list to open a separate window), that hot key launches a dialog box for finding text inside your message. If you're in the main Windows Mail screen instead, it will launch a dialog box for finding messages.

  • Windows Mail also has a Quick Search feature, the search bar in the upper-righthand corner of the screen. It does an immediate text-only search of messages in the current folder, so you won't be able to search by date, specific fields, attachments and flags, and so on.

  • If you're looking for more robust search features than those that are built into Windows Mail, use the Search feature in Windows, which offers more searching flexibility and searches through emails and documents simultaneously. It also allows you to save searches so that you don't need to reformulate them after you've run them once.

See also

"Search" and "Indexing Options," both in Chapter 4

Internet Accounts

Sets up, customizes, and manages email accounts, newsgroup subscriptions, and Internet Directories.

To open

Tools Accounts


To send or receive email, you need to set up an account in Windows Mail. The first time you open Windows Mail, a wizard walks you through setting up your first account. An account in Windows Mail works with an existing email account that you have with a mail provider, such as your ISP, employer, or school. Windows Mail uses either the POP3 or the IMAP4 Internet mail protocol to receive mail, and SMTP to send mail. Nearly all ISPs use POP3 and SMTP for mail transfer.

Before setting up an account in Windows Mail, you'll need to get the POP3, IMAP4, or SMTP settings from your mail provider. The wizard will ask you for those settings, as well as your username and password, in order to set up your account. Make sure that you get all the details of the settingsnot only the address itself (such as or, but also whether the servers require authentication.

The Internet Accounts dialog box, shown in Figure 6-4, lists all of your email accounts; lets you add, edit, or remove existing accounts; and lets you set up newsgroup accounts and Internet Directory Servers (LDAP) as well. (An Internet Directory Server makes it easy to find people's email addresses.) To add a new account, click Add and follow the wizard. It's the same wizard you'll encounter the first time you start Windows Mail. Unfortunately, the only way to set up a new account entry is to use the cumbersome wizard.

Figure 6-4. The Internet Accounts dialog box, which puts all of your email, newsgroups, and Internet Directory accounts into one location

If you have more than one mail account, you can choose the default by highlighting it and clicking Set as Default. Thereafter, that account will be used as your return address when sending outgoing email (unless you change it on a per-message basis).

The Set Order button, which lets you choose the search order when looking up contacts in your Directory Services, may be a little confusing at first. Because only an entry is shown, there's nothing to rearrange; to include more entries in Set Order, double-click each entry and turn on the "Include this account when receiving mail or synchronizing" option on the General tab.

Most problems encountered when sending or receiving email are caused by improper settings in the Internet Accounts screen.

Not uncommonly, when you're setting up a new account, there will be problems with it. Perhaps you mistyped the POP3 server address, or you didn't realize that your server required authentication. And sometimes your ISP may change a server address. Perhaps you've changed your username and password. And for some accounts, you may need to set some of the more advanced options, such as whether to automatically check mail from this account, whether to leave copies of your mail on the server, or whether to use a different email address when replying to messages sent to this account.

To change information about any account, you'll need to use the Properties window to enter information. To get to the Properties window, highlight an account and select Properties, or double-click the account. The screen shown in Figure 6-5 appears.

Figure 6-5. The Properties window, which lets you change options for each of your accounts

Following is what each tab does:


This tab includes basic information about the account, including the account name, user information, and email address. Note that the tab allows you to have a separate email address for sending and receiving. So you can send with the email address for the account, but when someone replies to the mail, it can go to a separate address. If you want both addresses to be the same, leave the Reply address blank, and all replies will go to the account's sending email address. This tab also lets you decide whether the account should always be included when you send and receive mail. To ensure that it does, check the box next to "Include this account when receiving mail or synchronizing."


This contains information your POP3, IMAP (both are used for receiving mail), and SMTP (used for sending mail) servers. More often than not, if you have trouble setting up an account, here's where your problems will lie. Make sure that you type in the exact server address given to you by your ISP (or, if you are connecting to your email at work or at school, your system administrator). Also, you have to know whether you need Secure Password Authentication for incoming mail, or username and password authentication for outgoing mail.


In most cases, you'll never have to use this tab. You'll need it only if the mail account for some reason requires that you connect to it only via a specific dial-up or other Internet connection. If it does, check the box next to "Always connect to this account using" and then select the account from the drop-down list.


If you want to digitally sign messages with this account, here's where you enter the information.


Here's where you enter detailed information about each server, including port numbers, whether the servers require secure SSL connections, whether you need to account for server timeouts, and whether to leave copies of messages on the server even after you've downloaded or sent them. If you are connecting to an SMTP server at work or school, you may need to use a different port number for outgoing mail. This is because many ISPs block outgoing access on port 25 to all but their own SMTP servers (this is a security measure to reduce the likelihood that home computers will be used as spam-spewing zombies). Port 587 is often a working alternative, but consult with your system administrator for details.


Use this tab to specify the root folder of your IMAP server, as well as which IMAP folders to use for sent items, drafts, deleted items, and junk mail.


  • Some free web-based email providers let you use an email client such as Windows Mail to send and receive mail. As of this writing, Gmail does, MSN Hotmail doesn't, and Yahoo! doesbut only if you pay $19.99 a year for Yahoo! Mail Plus. Problems encountered when sending or receiving email are caused by improper settings in this window. If you want to use Gmail with Windows Mail, read the Gmail Help document about it, because it requires a very specific setup.

  • If you use a mail provider other than your own ISP, you may run into problems sending mail. Let's say, for example, that you own the domain and your ISP is You want to use mail servers of so that your email address is your last name, like this: But when you use the SMTP server, mail refuses to send. If your mail provider can't offer access on an alternate port (see "Advanced," earlier in this section), you'll need to use for your account, but the SMTP servers. You'll set up all that on the Server Properties screen. Even this, though, may run you into trouble if your ISP doesn't want to relay on behalf of, or if recipients (or their email programs) conclude that your email is forged because the sending domain and relay domain don't match.

  • If you access the same account from two different computers, you may want to set up one computer to download messages, but not delete them from the server. Set up your other system to delete messages after downloading them. This way, one system always has a complete set of messages. Do this by using Tools Accounts any account Properties Advanced tab Leave a copy of messages on server. If you use IMAP for your email, all of your message folders reside on the server, so you won't need to use this feature (Windows Mail will download copies of messages only in order to index them and make them available offline).

  • If you have multiple accounts set up and do not want one included when you click Send and Receive, go to Tools Accounts any account Properties General tab and deselect "Include this account when receiving mail or synchronizing." For IMAP accounts, you can also set sync settings on a per-folder basis. To get to these settings, click on the top-level folder for your IMAP account, and the sync settings will take over the righthand pane where you'll be able to choose from Don't Synchronize, All Messages, New Messages Only, and Headers Only.

  • If you have more than one account set up in Windows Mail, only one account can be the default at any time. Although you can choose a From account each time you compose outgoing mail, the default account is the one that is used if you don't make a choice. Unfortunately, there's no way to set up a Message Rule to change the default account used when responding to incoming messages; for that, you'll need a more full-featured email program such as Eudora.

See also

"Message Rules"

Junk E-mail

Filters out spam and junk email from your inbox.

To open

Tools Junk E-mail Options


To use email is to be bedeviled by spam. Offers to get rich quick, enlarge certain body parts, buy authentic Rolex watches for $4.99 . . . these, and more, come in an unending stream, 24 hours a day.

Spam is more than a nuisance; it can be dangerous as well. Many scams are launched via email, including the notorious Nigerian scam, also called the 419 scam, in which you are apparently enlisted in a scheme to get millions of dollarsexcept that it's your bank account that is emptied. Phishing attacks, in which you are lured to a site posing as a financial site such as your bank, are launched via email as well.

To help get spam under control, Windows Mail includes a way to block and filter junk mail. By default, this spam control is turned on. Windows Mail's junk mail filter examines all incoming mail, and if it suspects that it is junk mail, it automatically forwards it to the Junk E-mail folder. From there you can examine the mail and delete any you don't want. If the filter makes a mistake, you can move the mail to your inbox and tell Windows Mail not to consider mail from that sender as junk in the future. You can also add email addresses manually to a Blocked Senders list, and the filter will always consider mail from them as spam. Plus, you can add email addresses manually to a Safe Senders list and the filter will never consider mail from them as spam.

As a way to protect you from malicious spam, when mail is in the Junk E-mail folder the links in the mail won't work. But what if the filter has made a mistake and you need to click a link on mail in the folder? Simply move the mail out to another folder, and the links will work; they won't function only when they're in the Junk E-mail folder. If you want the filter to recognize in the future that the sender isn't sending spam, mark the message as not junk.

There are a number of ways you can customize how the junk mail filter works, as well as make it more effective. To get to them, use the Junk E-mail Options dialog box, shown in Figure 6-6.

Figure 6-6. Customizing Junk E-mail Options

Following are details about the use of each tab:


This lets you choose how aggressively you want the filter to handle spam; it lets you choose your level of protection:

No Automatic Filtering

This will not automatically check for spam, although it will move mail to your Junk E-mail folder from anyone on your Blocked Senders list.


This is the default level. It catches only the most obvious spam. It will let spam through, but it also usually won't incorrectly move legitimate mail to your Junk E-mail folder.


This more aggressive level will catch more spam than Low, but it will also sometimes move legitimate mail to your Junk E-mail folder.

Safe List Only

This will consider all mail as spam, unless it is from someone on your Safe Senders list.

This tab also gives you the option of having Windows Mail automatically delete spam instead of moving it to the Junk E-mail folder. This is a dangerous option to choose. The junk mail filter is not perfect, and at times it will consider some legitimate mail as junk. So if you choose this option, you may delete important mail without ever seeing it.

Safe Senders

This lets you add and remove addresses and domains to your Safe Senders list. To add an address or domain, click the Add button, type in the address or domain, and click OK. Type in the person's entire email address, like this: To add an entire domain, don't include the www. So type it in like this: To remove an address or domain from the list, highlight it and click Remove.

By default, anyone in Windows Contacts is automatically on your Safe Senders list. If you don't want that to be the case, uncheck the box next to "Also trust e-mail from my Windows Contacts." And if you would like to automatically add people to the list when you send them an email, check the box next to "Automatically add people I e-mail to the Safe Senders List."

Blocked Senders

This lets you add and remove addresses and domains to your Blocked Senders list. To add an address or domain, click the Add button, type in the address or domain, and click OK. Type in the person's entire email address, like this: To add an entire domain, don't include the www. So type it in like this: To remove an address or domain from the list, highlight it and click Remove.


You may notice that whenever you receive email from certain international domains (such as .ru for Russia), the mail is almost always spam. If that is the case, you can filter out mail from an entire country's domain. To do that, click Blocked Top-Level Domain List, select a country or countries from the list that appears, and click OK.

Similarly, you may notice that when you receive email in a foreign language with foreign characters, that mail is almost always spam. To filter out email with foreign character sets, click Blocked Encoding List, select the language or languages from the list that appears, and click OK.


The junk mail filter also checks whether incoming mail is likely to be a phishing attempt. But it handles potential phishing attacks in a confusing manner. If it believes an email to be a phishing attack, it doesn't move the mail to the Junk E-mail folder, but it does deactivate the links in the mail. The Phishing tab lets you change that behavior. If you want the filter to deactivate the links and move the suspicious mail to the Junk E-mail folder, check the box next to "Move phishing E-mail to the Junk Mail folder." If you want to turn off antiphishing checking entirely, uncheck the box next to "Protect my inbox from messages with potential phishing links."

If the junk mail filter doesn't block a phishing attempt, Internet Explorer will still use its phishing filter to help ensure that you don't fall prey to a phishing attack.

There's another way to work with the junk mail filteron a message-by-message basisand you'll most likely work with it that way rather than using the dialog box. Select any email and then select Junk E-mail. A menu appears that allows you to add the mail sender or domain to the Safe Senders list or Blocked Senders list, unblock the mail, or mark the mail as not junk. When you mark the mail as not junk, it is moved to your inbox, but the sender isn't added to your Safe Senders list, so the next time he sends you an email, it will be considered junk. If you want all subsequent email from him to be considered legitimate, you should instead choose Add Sender to Safe Senders List.


  • If you don't think that the Windows Mail filter is doing an adequate job of fighting spam, you can buy any of a number of antispam programs that purport to do a better job. Companies such as Symantec and Cloudmark sell antispam software.

  • You may be flooded with spam, but more spam than you actually see is being sent to you. Your mail provider has spam filters as well, and it filters out much spam before you ever even see it. But because spam has become such a problem, some of these filters are overly aggressive and filter out legitimate mail. That means that you may be sent legitimate mail that you never receive. If someone tells you he's sent you mail, and you've never received it, contact your mail provider, give the provider the email address of the person, and ask that spam from him not be filtered. Your mail provider may or may not do this; some are notorious for not responding to requests.

  • Microsoft continues to update its Junk Mail filter with new addresses of known spammers. They will be delivered via Windows Update.

See also

"Phishing Filter," in Chapter 5, and "Windows Defender" and "Windows Update," in Chapter 8

Message Rules

Create rules to take action on incoming mail, such as routing it to a specific folder or automatically responding to it.

To open

Tools Message Rules


You can set up Windows to automatically handle incoming mail in a number of ways. For example, you can set up rules instructing Windows Mail to store all email retrieved from your business account in a certain folder, all email retrieved from your personal account in a different folder, and all junk mail (spam) in the trash. Furthermore, you can have Windows Mail automatically respond to certain messages and mark some messages as urgent and others as potentially annoying.

Go to Tools Message Rules Mail to view the mail rules currently in effect. If you haven't yet set up any rules, you would be prompted to do so now; otherwise, click New to create a new rule (see Figure 6-7).

Figure 6-7. Setting up your email message rules

Each rule is set up as follows:

Select the Conditions for your rule

Choose one or more conditions that, when met, will instruct Windows Mail to take the desired action. For example, to create a rule that applies to all email from Grandma, place a checkmark next to "Where the From line contains people."

Select the Actions for your rule

After you've chosen one or more conditions, these options allow you to decide what to do with messages that meet those conditions. For example, you may want to place all of Grandma's email in a certain folder, in which case you would place a checkmark next to "Move it to the specified folder." On the other hand, if Grandma drives you nuts, you may want to place a checkmark next to "Delete it."

Rule Description

The third box displays a summary of the conditions and actions you've chosen, and allows you to input the specifics. For example, if you've chosen to move all of Grandma's email into a certain folder, the phrase "contains people" will be underlined and hyperlinked, as will the word "specified." Before you can complete this rule, you must click each of these links; in the case of "contains people," you would type Grandma's email address. Likewise, in the case of "specified," you would select the path of the folder in which to store Grandma's email.

Name of the rule

Finally, choose a label for the rule; although the name makes no difference, it will allow you to easily identify and differentiate the rules.

Don't expect to get all your rules right the first time. After creating a new rule, scrutinize its performance as new mail is retrieved.

You can also create new rules on the fly, using some of the context-based tools in Windows Mail. Start by opening a message, and then go to Message Create Rule from Message. Here, the familiar rule dialog box is shown, but some fields have been filled in with information from the selected message.


  • Don't try to use Message Rules to block spam; instead, it's a much better idea to use Windows Mail's Junk E-mail features. See "Junk E-mail," earlier in this chapter.

  • You can use Message Rules to act on newsgroup messages as well as email. Choose Tools Message Rules News, and follow the same steps as you would to create rules for mail. You will be able to take different actions on newsgroup messages than you can on email messages. For example, with newsgroup messages, you can flag messages, mark them as read, highlight them with color, and delete them.

See also

"Junk E-mail"

New Message

Create a new email message in Windows Mail.

To open

File New Mail Message

Click the Create Mail icon.

Press Ctrl-N.


When you create a new mail message, as shown in Figure 6-8, you use several sets of menus, toolbars, and icons. Addressing the message is simple: type an email address into the To: and Cc: fields, or click the Contacts icon and select a contact. Then type a subject into the Subject line, type in your message, and send the message by clicking the Send icon. (You can also select File Send, or press Alt-S.)

Figure 6-8. Creating a new message with Windows Mail

The top menu bar and the toolbar beneath it are somewhat redundant because they offer similar functionsfor example, you can copy text by clicking the Copy icon on the toolbar, or instead choose Edit Copy from the toolbar. But many functions are available only from the menu bar, and a few functions are available only from the toolbar. The toolbar has on it what Microsoft believes are the most common tasks you'll want to accomplish.

The ribbon bar just above the box where you type the text of your message lets you format your text by changing the font, size, and so on. It works exactly like similar features in word processors.

If you prefer to send mail in plain-text format (or your recipients prefer to receive it in that format), you can easily do so. Select Tools Options Send, and select Plain Text under Mail Sending Format. If you want to primarily send mail in HTML format and send plain text occasionally, select HTML from that setting, but when you compose a new email, choose Format Plain Text in the message window.

The menu bar

Following are the main purposes for the menu bar:


This menu lets you create, send, copy, delete, and save messages, as well as perform related tasks. In addition, it lets you save a message as a template for stationery (see "Stationery," later in this chapter, for details.)


This familiar menu, like most Edit menus throughout Windows Vista and in Windows applications, lets you cut, copy, and paste text, as well as perform similar tasks. It also lets you search for messages across all folders, and search for text within a message. In addition, it lets you remove hyperlinks in a message. Normally, when you type text, such as, Windows Mail will automatically turn it into a hyperlink. Choosing the Remove Hyperlink option from the Edit menu will remove any selected hyperlinks.


This lets you insert an attachment, picture, horizontal line, business card, signature, hyperlink, and text from a file.


This lets you format the text of your message; choose a background picture, color, or sound; choose to send as plain text or HTML; and apply stationery.


This lets you check the spelling in your email, request a "read" or "secure" receipt, check whether the names of recipients are found in Windows Contacts, encrypt a message, and digitally sign a message. It also can launch Windows Contacts and Windows Calendar.


This lets you create another message, create one using a specific kind of stationery, and set delivery priority for your message (low, medium, or high).

The toolbar

The toolbar lets you perform common tasks on your outgoing email messages by clicking the appropriate icon. Most of these tasks are self-explanatory, such as sending the message; cutting, copying, and pasting text; inserting an attachment; setting message priority; and so on.

However, several icons let you perform less common tasks, and they are not always self-explanatory:

Check names

Click this icon, and Windows Mail checks the addresses you've typed into the To: and Cc: fields, looks for incorrect syntax, and if it finds any, looks to see whether there are any near matches in Windows Contacts. You can then choose the correct name from Windows Contacts.

Digitally sign message

This allows you to "sign" the message using a digital signature that will guarantee to the reader of the message that you are who you say you are. To use this feature, you'll have to first install a digital certificate, also called a Digital ID. Some corporations give their employees Digital IDs, and in that case, Windows Mail may already be set up to use one. If your company does provide a Digital ID, but for some reason it hasn't been set up yet, you can install it yourself. First, find out where the ID is located. Then in Windows Mail, select Tools Options Security. Under Secure Mail, click Digital IDs. Click Import, and then follow the instructions to import your Digital ID.

Encrypt message

This allows you to encrypt the message so that only the recipient can read it. To use this feature, you'll have to first install each recipient's digital certificate.


  • You can also create a new newsgroup message, by choosing File New News Message. When you do this, most of your options for creating messages will be the same, but there will be a few differences. For example, there will be no ribbon bar for formatting text. Instead, you will see options for choosing the type of newsgroup post you want it to be: comment, question, or suggestion.

  • If you've chosen plain text as your mail sending format (Tools Options Send Mail Sending Format), you won't see the ribbon bar for formatting text.

  • Beware when sending pictures in your email, because some servers have a limit on message sizessometimes as small as 1 MB per message. You can, however, have Vista shrink the size of pictures before you send them, using the Windows Photo Gallery. You'll have to open the picture in the Windows Photo Gallery first, resize it using the built-in tools, and then use a built-in Windows Photo Gallery feature for sending the picture via email. See "Windows Photo Gallery," in Chapter 12, for details.

See also

"Windows Photo Gallery," in Chapter 12


Participate in discussion groups.

To open

Tools Newsgroups


Click the newsgroup icon in the toolbar.


Newsgroups are world-spanning discussion groups that cover every topic imaginable. They predate the World Wide Web, and even though community sites on the Web such as MySpace have become exceedingly popular, m

Part II: Nutshell Reference