Windows 8 is aggravating

So, I got a new computer with Windows 8.1. How bad could it be, I thought.

I’m moving from XP, but I’m not entirely unfamiliar with 7. We use them at work.

So many things don’t work, most importantly email.

I put Mozilla Thunderbird on my son’s 7 laptop and it worked fine. 8, not so much. It doesn’t play with POP3 accounts.

Comcast doesn’t support it, and suggested I just check my mail on their website.

8 does support Google accounts, so I created a gmail account, and have my Comcast email forwarded to that, and now I can hit the cute little Mail tile on the Look-At-All-These Tiles page and get mail. Trouble is, there’s not many options in that mail app.

In Mozilla Firefox, I had to install an add-on to be able to send page links by email. It worked fine with my Comcast email through Outlook, but now, when sending through the mail app and gmail, it presents the link as just a line of text instead of an actual, clickable link. Yes, I know it can be copied and pasted, but some of my friends are too lazy or too dumb to do that. Well, all of them really.

So, my question(s) for you Windows 8 or 8.1 victims is - do you know of a work-around I’m missing to get Comcast working through the 8 Mail app, or an add-on or fix to make sure my links from Firefox are posted as an actual link in an outgoing email in the 8 mail app?

Windows 95, FTW!

Well, I’ve solved the clickable link problem, but still welcome a Comcast mail/Windows 8 marriage solution!

Tiny hijack but there is something I don’t understand here–what leads you to want to avoid using a website to check your email?

Windows 8 apps and Windows 8 programs are different things. The app you are using is programmed for use on a tablet. I don’t like the limited tablet-type functionality so I don’t use it. Just because the apps are there doesn’t mean you have to use them.

It sounds like what you wanted is the same program experience you had been using all along, which really should still work exactly the same. Mozilla Thunderbird is rated for use on both Windows 7 and Windows 8, so all I can imagine is somewhere a checkbox was not checked and you missed it. Perhaps go back and try again, if that’s the experience you actually want. And of course, Microsoft still makes Outlook if you’re into that.

I use a website to check my email because it’s web-based. Frankly, it’s a better experience than using some middleman in my opinion because it was made to be used on the web. To boot, my mail follows me no matter what computer I’m on, anywhere in the world, with just a sign in. Maybe now’s the time to try it out!

Oh, and I don’t know of any email programs or web interfaces that don’t automatically parse a copied and pasted link into a clickable HTML link, as long as you have HTML turned on in your email options. To do links by hand requires HTML turned on to begin with so in this case it should “just work” with a quick copy and paste into the email body. Either it activates after a single space in the email body, or it activates after sending.

Truth time though:
If your friends are too lazy to copy and paste links you send them in the case of clickable-link failure, maybe your links really aren’t as interesting as you think they are.

I’m lazy and stubborn.

  1. click the desktop tile
  2. open a browser
  3. open a website
  4. sign in to the website
  5. navigate to the mail page
  6. that takes 2-3 steps

I want one-click access!

When I looked for Outlook, Windows guided me to Windows Live, then Essentials, and basically tells you use this, not that.

Oh, why didn’t I man up and get a Mac?

Most of what you describe there is a problem with Thunderbird or Firefox, and/or Comcast, not Windows 8. What is a problem with Win 8, however, is that Microsoft doesn’t want to go on supporting POP3. All is not lost, however. You have some options.

  1. Use Gmail’s web interface. Yeah, there’s the whole pressure to join Google+
    and the fact that Google sells your info to the highest bidder, but if you’ve already signed up for a gmail account, you’ve already made peace with that. This is what I use, have used for years. It works great although it’s definitely a frog in a steadily warming soup pot problem. The plus side is that gmail works with almost any electronic device you can name.

  2. Sign up for an account with then use this with your Win 8 sign in. MS is phasing out Hotmail in favor of If you already are signing into Win 8.1 with a Windows account, you may already have this associated with your current windows account.

So go to, then in the upper toolbar, you’ll see a gear icon next to your picture. Click that gear, choose, Other Mail Settings, and you’ll see a section for connecting devices via pop3 and importing other accounts and so on.

You could also set your Comcast mail to forward everything to your address, similarly to how you have it forwarding things to Gmail.

The upside is you can connect the win 8 mail app to your account. The downside is it’s a little scary having your email account use your computer login. I do, because Win 8 is set up to optimize for that and because I have excellent password skills, but still. I get why some people may not like that.

  1. The third option is that it’s possible that Comcast has imap support. Probably, even. You can get this info from them but I don’t have Comcast so can’t really help out there.

  2. Anyway, once you’ve decided how you want to handle your email account, getting the Mail app to accept it is pretty simple.

a) Open the Mail app
b) open the Charm bar (type WIN+C) and then choose Settings
c) Click Accounts - from there you’ll know what to do.

Here’s a tutorial with screens of the mail app. Please excuse the dummies link. It was the first Google gave me.

I’m pretty sure a Mac will work the same way as Windows in this regard. It doesn’t even have “live tiles” so you’d definitely be stuck using regular desktop applications, in which case all you eliminate is step 1 for whatever you’re trying to do. :dubious:

I did a google search for “Microsoft Outlook” and the first result took me to the official product page that says “Buy with Office” and “Try 1 month FREE” right at the top. Unsure how you’re getting redirected to their free Windows Live Mail - which honestly is the same thing as the old Outlook Express and will probably do what you want it to just fine without having to pay for full-blown Outlook.

Ok, but that’s not actually a Windows 8 problem.

FYI - I have gmail pinned as an app tab in Firefox. Just sign into the web page, then rightclick on the tab and choose Pin. There’s no more steps than opening the app and the pinned tab updates with how many new messages I have in the priority section of Gmail.

You can even make it one click access by making a desktop shortcut.

My browser–Maxthon–has this neat little dock you can pin to the desktop that includes space for one click buttons leading to particular websites. I have buttons for each of my email accounts, each goes to the account already signed in, good to go.

What’s up with that? Can you explain what you mean by this?

The short answer is that POP3 is Jurassic era technology designed to take a message (an email) and move it from an email server to an email client. Microsoft wants to replace it with something called Exchange Active Sync which supports syncing lots of different types of info - emails, IMs, contacts, photos etc. - between the server where it lives (“the cloud”) and all the many modern devices that people today use, often simultaneously. EAS changes the paradigm that your message is one document that lives in one specific place accessible only in that place unless you take manual steps to personally move it somewhere else. IMAP did something similar, but it was still working with the idea that a message was a discrete object of which you downloaded copies. Also, I don’t think IMAP could transfer stuff like contacts, but I forget.

Like a lot of things about Windows 8, it’s a reasonable idea but not quiet soup yet. The downside of course is that all the email in the world supports POP3 and it’s only newer clients and devices that support EAS. Also, Google & Microsoft are spatting and Google has yanked EAS support for its products and it’s all very tiresome. (It’s less of a hassle because most devices/clients access gmail directly, but still. Google has some fair points for doing so but ultimately the only reason to use the Google Family of Products is its ubiquity, so anything Google does to impede that is shortsighted, imo.)

Still, the only way people move off the antiquated POP3 approach is if one of the Big Boys just bites the bullet.

On windows you can make shortcuts to any web page, gmail included. Just make a new shortcut and put the URL in the location. For gmail specifically, you can also download desktop notifiers, although I don’t have one at the moment.

Yes, that’s what I was referring to in my first paragraph. I meant to describe the desktop shortcut solution and the Maxthon dock solution as two different ways to accomplish one-click access to web-based email.

Oh, gotcha.

Thanks for the explanation.

Is this EAS thing something that needs to be implemented at the server level, like Exchange and IMAP? (Asks the person who admins a mail server who is not actually a Mail Server Admin)

Ducati you might want to try this. It is a download from CNET that removes the “tiles” and restores most of your Win 7 functions. I would do a system backup in case you don’t like it or it is not what you need.

My computer geek uses this on all his Windows machines.


Are you saying Thunderbird doesn’t do POP email on Win8? I don’t think that is correct. The built in Win8 App doesn’t, AFAIK.

You’re not obliged to use the ‘Modern UI’ (formerly ‘Metro’) apps.

No, everything I read says W8.1 and TB don’t mix…

“*** I talked to someone in Microsoft (Microsoft Answer Desk) and was told that Thunderbird isn’t supported by 8.1. I wish I’d known that! I’m going to attempt to roll back to Windows 8. In two days I’ve had 2 blue screen errors (critical_Structure_Corruption.)***”

I’ve got it working, albeit inelegantly. My son called earlier to ask if these gmail’s he’s getting from me are real. Now I look like a bum who can’t afford anything but free email!

That is a quote from a thread on the first link you get when you google “thunderbird windows 8.1”

So if that is “everything you read” you should read more. Like this thread

How about the quote “Works like a charm”?