Email Systems... Differences explained.

Technical Level : Basic


To enable us to give you accurate help we need to know which Email service you are using and the method used to access the email.

Please include this important information when you ask a Question seeking help or advice in the Forum
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There are five ways to access email. 

Web browser   IE     Firefox      Edge (Win 10)      Safari,  Chrome, etc.

Email client  Windows Live mail   Thunderbird . eMclient, etc

Proprietary Software  MSN,  Win 8 Mail , Win 10 Mail app ,   MS Office Outlook PC ,, 

MS Office Outlook for Mac

Mobile app on Android or iOS

There are several Email systems., Outlook Mail (Preview), the new Outlook Mail, Windows Live Mail, Microsoft Office (Outlook), third party software, (like your ISP, etc), etc

There are 5 Outlook's. original), Outlook Mail (Preview), and recently the new Outlook Mail . There is also a pilot program with a monthly fee called outlook "Premium"

All of the above use a Browser.

MS Office Outlook does not use a Browser except for the hybrid Office 365.

If you are using Outlook make sure to tell us which one.

1. Accessing email.

Browser If you are using IE, Firefox, Chrome, Edge (win 10) Safari, or some other Browser, you are accessing Web Mail. 
Web mail by its nature has less features and does not install anything on your system (therefore it does not have a Backup)

Email client

If you are using Windows Live Mail, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Microsoft Office (Outlook) you are using an email client. 
Email clients have more features, maintain a backup on your computer and in general are more robust. 
These usually access the mail by a protocol called POP, SMTP, or IMAP

Proprietary Software.

These is special software designed by the developer to access Mail and do other things.
MSN Browser, Mobile systems, Win 8 Mail app, and specialized Browsers are examples of this type software.

2. Email Systems.

Hotmail is now using the interface,  soon to be replaced by the Preview 

Recently released name varies usually either Outlook Mail or Outlook Email

These are ALL Web based and use your Browser.

Windows Live Mail is an email client        

Outlook Express is also an email client that can only be used in Vista and XP

Microsoft Office Outlook is a paid for version & part of the Office Suite.
(Versions include 2003, 2007, 2010,  2013, 2016, Office 365)

3. Proprietary software

The Win 8/8.1 mail app, Win 10 mail app, and MSN Browser do not fit into either of the above categories and mobile systems vary by model.

The Win 8 mail application is similar to but is stripped of most of the features as is the Win 10 mail app

The MSN Browser (sometimes called "butterfly") comes in various user interfaces. 
Here are a few samples

4. Updated information.

What version of Outlook do I have?

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Co-Authored JMH3143/ ZigZag3143

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Last updated April 23, 2021 Views 102,543 Applies to: