Out of the frying pan

So I said to myself, “Self, do you realize you’ve been using Outlook Express for twelve freaking years?” OE’s been cranky lately, and maybe, I reasoned, it’s because the database files are just getting too damned big: we’re talking a hair under a gigabyte of accumulated mail.

The MS follow-on product is Windows Live Mail, and I suppose I could have thought of a better time to install it than 10:30 on a Saturday night. And actually, things were fairly seamless, considering there were 23,000 messages to move around; three old folders failed to make the trip, which I attribute to some form of database corruption. These were restored from a backup. Time elapsed: about 45 minutes, including downloading the installer.

WLM doesn’t have a database structure; it saves each item as an individual file. I’m guessing that this will make life easier, at the expense of disk space. And if I ever get out from under Redmond’s thumb, exporting all this mess to a mail client on another platform will have to be at least slightly easier. (And before you ask: yes, I have a Hotmail account. Had one since about ’98. Go figure.)


  1. unimpressed »

    23 August 2009 · 11:59 am

    I’ve been told for years that OE was a terrible mail program. Nevertheless, I used it anyway, more because I was too lazy to learn something new than because of any problems I had. When I got the new Vista box and WLM is the “standard” (and can’t even go back to OE), I’ve found that OE is the far superior program (between the two). WLM is slow and clunky, a definite backstep, IMO.

  2. CGHill »

    23 August 2009 · 3:03 pm

    I’m wondering if this is more the fault of Vista than of WLM, since the two seem to run at about the same speed on the XP/SP3 box I have.

  3. McGehee »

    23 August 2009 · 4:56 pm

    I’m shocked that a Microsoft program can even function with that many messages still in its database — especially since I always found it easier to save messages as files out of Outlook Distress than has been the case with Thunderbird.

    As a result, my idea of cleaning out the folders in Thunderbird basically means checking to see whether keeping “this” message serves a useful purpose anymore, followed by the next one, and the next one…

    I’m also finding that the definition of “anymore” in the above seems to miss an important step. Still: safe, sorry, etc. I still manage to keep any of my folders from containing more than 1,000 messages. Most of the time.

    WLM doesn’t have a database structure; it saves each item as an individual file.

    If it’ll import messages from Thunderbird, I may have to check it out.

  4. McGehee »

    23 August 2009 · 5:21 pm

    Well, it won’t import saved messages, and saving contacts is just as cumbersome and unreliable as ever. And it keeps trying to get me to sign in to LiveID.

  5. Donna B. »

    24 August 2009 · 12:53 am

    I used Outlook and Thunderbird for several years, but when gmail came along, I eventually just dumped the other email addresses. I tired of jumping through hoops to get my email when away from home.

    I probably wouldn’t have changed over so willingly if my ISP hadn’t changed my email address for me.

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