Help me find an email client for Windows
January 3, 2004 9:01 AM   Subscribe

I can't settle on an email client for Windows. What I really want is a program with a nice interface, that let's me compose messages in plain text by default, convert incoming mail to plain text, and check spelling. I'm open to any ideas and suggestions.

I've no particular aversion to Outlook Express, but the spell-check button is greyed-out. Maybe it needs an MS Office installation, which I don't have.
posted by nthdegx to Computers & Internet (23 answers total)
The Bat is what I use and it's great. Try it to see if it fits your needs.
posted by Masi at 9:05 AM on January 3, 2004

Thunderbird is still pre-1.0, but does what you're asking, and spam-filtering, and a bunch of other stuff. I haven't used 0.4 yet -- 0.3 was very nearly usable.
posted by gleuschk at 9:09 AM on January 3, 2004

nthdegx- Outlook will only use Word functions, such as spell check, if you set in the options menu to "use Microsoft Word as your e-mail editor."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:12 AM on January 3, 2004

I'm using Thunderbird 0.4 now and have been since it was released. So far I'm very pleased ... it does exactly what I want.
posted by NsJen at 9:16 AM on January 3, 2004

Pegasus is always good.

Of the Eudora-like ones, Calypso is the best.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:30 AM on January 3, 2004

I still use Eudora, but will likely switch to Thunderbird when it hits 1.0.
posted by waxpancake at 9:32 AM on January 3, 2004

Thunderbird I have limited experience with but what I have seen is out of the box good. My wife uses Eudora. It is adware with a little ad in the corner, but is really nice and easy to use.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 9:33 AM on January 3, 2004

I've been using Thunderbird since the summer. I like it a lot. And it works the same on linux, windows and mac os x, which is a good thing.
posted by Tacodog at 9:50 AM on January 3, 2004

As far as I know, Thunderbird doesn't have an option to evade incoming HTML messages. In fact, it seems to use them in preference to a plain text version. I know it's possible to configure it to emit only plain text messages, but disabusing it of its preference for HTML seems to be out of reach. Also, its IMAP support is a little dodgy, the memory footprint is not small by any means, and because of the XUL interface the UI isn't always crisply responsive. I still use it, though, on at least one of the machines around here.

There's a Win32 version of the pretty much unbeatable Mutt MUA, and I think it's got a nice interface, but if you have a preference for GUIs you might not agree.
posted by majick at 10:36 AM on January 3, 2004

I personally find the latest Outlook has all the options I could want and is still nice and nippy (3.6mb memory footprint?) - far superior to express.
posted by Mossy at 11:47 AM on January 3, 2004

One more vote for Thunderbird, though you may find yourself adding silly words to the dictionary at first like "weblog".
posted by will at 12:45 PM on January 3, 2004

I strongly recommend NEO, the Nelson Email Organizer. The interface is powerful, useful, and fast. It's an addon to Outlook, but it's worth it.
posted by gd779 at 1:07 PM on January 3, 2004

Check out Poco Mail. Can write your own scripts!
posted by thunder at 1:27 PM on January 3, 2004

I've never wanted to do anything with my email that Pine can't do. It is a beautiful, beautiful program: unbeatable configurability, great networking features (I love the ability to store address book and configuration data on a remote server), and the ultimate unobtrusive interface. There might be a bit of a learning curve, but once you know the commands, usability is unmatched. It comes with powerful filtering and sorting capabilities, as well as a built in text editor with spell check. If "plain text" is what you're interested in, Pine is the gold standard.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:28 PM on January 3, 2004


Thunderbird doesn't have an option to evade incoming HTML messages

View/Message Body As/Plain Text

posted by signal at 2:08 PM on January 3, 2004

Pine is bloody beautiful.

I'm also a big fan of Opera's integrated email. Does me quite nice, and I think it has most or all of the options you're after.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:08 PM on January 3, 2004


Hey, thanks! Now if only it would do that by default!

"Pine is bloody beautiful."

I've never heard PINE described as "beautiful" before! Pine's pretty good, although really when it comes down to it there are only two real MUAs in the world: Elm and Mutt. Everything else is frippery (admittedly sometimes useful frippery, but still!).
posted by majick at 2:28 PM on January 3, 2004

I also switched to Thunderbird (and Firebird, too) and I'm very happy with it.
posted by tranquileye at 6:10 PM on January 3, 2004

I never used a POP/SMTP client, preferring a webmail interface, until I tried Mozilla Mail, and later Thunderbird, just for the heck of it. I'm sold on Thunderbird now. It converts mail it thinks is spam into plain text, so I can have the preview pane open and not worry about IMG tags with web-bug type IDs report back to spam HQ. It also composes in plain text which is something that Mozilla mail never did back in the day.
posted by John Shaft at 7:58 PM on January 3, 2004

Another vote for The Bat! -- I've been using it for years, and I've never seen another mail client that's caused me to even consider switching. It does everything you need, and (a big selling point for me) it neatly handles my 60K+ messages in under 8mb of memory.
posted by Jairus at 1:46 AM on January 4, 2004

Perhaps I should have specified: Thunderbird's what I'm presently using. It doesn't handle the plain text issue quite the way I would like, and my assessment of it is more or less in line with majick's. It's fairly unwieldy. Switching emails to plain text on an individual basis would be a waste of time: the cost would outweigh the benefit. As far as I can tell Eudora and Pegasus behave similarly. It looks like the solution might be a client that *only* handles plain text.

Thanks for all the suggestions: I'm having a good look at each of them.
posted by nthdegx at 4:12 AM on January 4, 2004

Once you've learned to sort your inbox in Pine by using the ";" key, you will weep tears of joy. My firstborn is named Pine, and each week we sacrifice a copy of Outlook on our Pine-Shrine (tm).

I prefer to use Pine from within a Unix shell, as opposed to the PeeCee version.
posted by mecran01 at 7:14 AM on January 4, 2004

nthdegx, The Bat! does that automatic converting. You only have to click on a tab to switch between text and HTML. And yes, it composes by default in text-mode.

Also, when reinstalling Windows, it doesn't need any registry modifying to reinstall its settings - you just run it and you're set (just don't install it in the Program Files folder, because Windows XP automatically deletes the folder when reinstalling).
posted by Masi at 10:54 AM on January 4, 2004

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