Drag me into the modern computing paradigm...

…or does anybody make a simple e-mail client anymore?

I’m reasonably savvy on how technology works, but not on its trends and culture. I was perfectly content with an old PC; simple e-mail and browser.

Until it died. Could have probably fixed it (I think it’s the motherboard), but it’s not worth the trouble. Got a good deal on a new desktop.[sup]*[/sup]

The new desktop has Windows 8 on it. I’m curious, wanted to check it out; and I figured I could find a way to make it do all the things I wanted.

However, it seems to not just want access to online sources of info, but to require online accounts to let me do some things. When I even try to run the built-in e-mail client (do we even call things clients anymore?) it prompts for a Microsoft account and won’t let me just configure and read from my existing e-mail accounts without it.

And that may be a good thing. I’m planning to get a smart phone this spring. I can see the value in having access to my full e-mail inbox and address book from multiple devices. I’m just not sure I want it all to be tied in to Microsoft. I’m sure they’re not the only cross-device, synchronized e-mail/calendar/productivity/whatever application in the world. And if I have to adopt and adapt to something new, it might as well be something I like.

  • Yes, I still want to have a desktop PC.

TL, DR: Educate me on the modern tech landscape. What applications do you all use that really provide something of value, where do you find them, and whose opinions do you trust?

About the Windows live account, read this.


  1. Thank you.

  2. I can’t even find “Computer Configuration” yet.

  3. THAT’S the way to get a simplified client? Yikes.

  4. I’m not dead set on a bare-bones, local e-mail client. I can see the advantages of syncing across devices, if I can find software that does it well.

If you want a decent local client (and you don’t have microsoft outlook), just download thunderbird (Thunderbird — Make Email Easier. — Thunderbird) and ignore the default options that windows comes with. Similarly download VLC and ignore the built in video player (Official download of VLC media player, the best Open Source player - VideoLAN), and download firefox and ignore the default browser (Internet for people, not profit — Mozilla (US)). If you don’t have antivirus, download something like Avast (Welcome Avast Free Antivirus users - CNET Download).

Edit to add, I don’t download all that crap individually though, go to: https://ninite.com/ and check the boxes for stuff you want and use that to install, it will do it all at once. On that list i recommend Chrome, Firefox, Thunderbird, VLC, all the “Runtimes”, GIMP, Libreoffice (NOT openoffice - and regular microsoft office is a demo). Avast or Avira (but not both), Malwarebytes, Keepass 2, Dropbox, 7-zip, Notepad++

I use Seamonkey as the simplest client possible ( ignoring those weird old things like Pine ), I see it has a Windows version.
Setting it up to use POP was easy, which is becoming uncommon as clients seem to prefer IMAP ( which Seamonkey can do of course ).

I still use Eudora. I hearts it.

Nothing has been able to beat it as the right app for checking my dozens of email accounts and keeping them like I want them. Thunderbird seemed flummoxed by the multiple accounts, and both TB and OE had this annoying habit of opening everything up in new windows. YUCK!

I use Windows Live, which is the bastard offspring of Outlook Express, and is virtually identical to it. I resisted it, but the Dope told me it would be fine, and it is.

I’d suggest Media Player Classic (perhaps as part of the K-Lite Codec Pack) instead of VLC.

I appreciate all the replies so far, but I’m curious about things beyond just e-mail. What sort of applications are you all using these days that are well-designed and actually useful, and where do you find them?

Dragging you (kicking and screaming) into the modern computing paradigm:

You vill learn Structured Programming, und you vill learn to like it.

You vill learn Object Oriented Programming, und you vill learn to like it.

ETA: From the OP:

You vill learn to use Windows 8, but is possible you vill never learn to like it.

I still don’t like OOP.

We may be the last two people who persist in using it.

Last three!

^^^^ Likewise for this Mac user. It’s more difficult for us (Eudora being a PowerPC appliction when last updated) but if and when I get dragged kicking & screaming into a version of the OS that doesn’t have Rosetta, I’ll have virtual machines that still do.