Best Free Desktop Email Clients and Alternatives to Microsoft Outlook

Almost all of us have one or more email accounts and most of us check our Inbox regularly using either web browser or a dedicated email client.

Now-a-days almost all email service providers like Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc provide so many advanced features in their web interface which makes the use of email desktop client negligible.

But personally we prefer using an Desktop email client to web interface. Most of the people who use an email client, prefer to use Microsoft Outlook which comes bundled with Microsoft Office suite but Microsoft Office is not free.

Today in this topic we are going to share some free email clients which can be used as an alternative to Microsoft Outlook:

1. Windows Live Mail

Windows Live Mail is our favorite email client and that's the only email client which we use. It provides all basic and advanced features which you need in an email client. Our favorite feature in this email client is the "2-line vertical view" which is not present in many other free email clients.

Windows Live Mail also comes with calendar, RSS feed and newsgroup support.

If you have a Hotmail, Outlook or any other Windows Live email account, you should definitely use Windows Live Mail email client as its the only free email client which supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) and DeltaSync protocols which are the best protocols to sync email messages between email server and your computer.

Windows Live Mail is a part of Windows Essentials suite which can be downloaded from following link:

Download Windows Live Mail

2. Mozilla Thunderbird

Thunderbird is one of the most popular free email clients. Its developed by Mozilla and can be used in Windows, Mac and Linux. Thunderbird and Firefox both are based on same Gecko engine so you'll find lots of similarities in both applications.

Similar to Firefox, Thunderbird also supports extensions and themes which makes using Thunderbird a fun. It can also be used as a portable app so you can carry it on your USB drive.

Download Thunderbird

3. Opera Mail

Opera Mail is a new email client from popular web browser company "Opera". Initially it was a part of Opera web browser but now the company has launched it as a separate product. Its a neat, simple and light-weight email client which is very easy to use and highly customizable. It also comes with "2-line vertical view" feature similar to Windows Live Mail. It can also be installed in portable version similar to Thunderbird.

Download Opera Mail

4. Zimbra Desktop

Zimbra Desktop is another free email client which allows you to meld the online and offline worlds - storing and syncing your email, calendar, contacts, files and documents in the cloud, yet having them locally accessible when on the road. Zimbra Desktop aggregates information across accounts (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) and social networks (Facebook, Digg, Twitter, etc.) to help make communicating & sharing information easier than ever.

Download Zimbra Desktop

5. eM Client

eM Client is another free email client which can be installed in Windows XP and later versions. It comes with full support for all email services like Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc. It also comes with Calendar and RSS feed support. It can also be used as an instant messenger.

Download eM Client

Related: [Tip] Create Portable Version of eM Client for USB Drives

6. Pegasus Mail

Pegasus Mail is a free email client suitable for use by single or multiple users on single computers or on local area networks. It has served millions of users since it was released in 1990. It is extremely feature-rich and powerful, yet remains small and fast.

Download Pegasus Mail

7. SeaMonkey

SeaMonkey is a web browser, email client, newsgroup reader, RSS feed reader, IRC chat client and much more. Its based on the same Mozilla source code which powers Firefox, Thunderbird and other Mozilla programs.

SeaMonkey can be considered as an all-in-one Internet application suite.

Download SeaMonkey

8. Mailbird

Mailbird is another free email client software which comes with a neat and clean UI. The steps to add email accounts are very easy and new users should not face any problem while using this email client.

Another impressive thing in this software is the built-in "2-line vertical view" feature which is also present in Windows Live Mail program.

Download Mailbird

Please let us know your opinion about these free alternatives to Microsoft Outlook. Which one do you like the most and why? Feel free to share other free alternatives if you know...

Also Check:

How to Setup Email Accounts Using POP3 or IMAP in Email Clients


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  • Thanks for all the work on your blog informing us of these great tips!
    second I too would like to suggest a thunderbird section or a way to find it in the search function
    which only returns firefox results,third..I would really be interested on your view about Dreammail..thanks again

  • I was testing Zimbra and the problem for me was this: when I was classifying e-mails as spam, certain went to "Junk" folder which is fine, but certain for unknown reasons to me were disappearing and I could not locate them any more. This is a problem in case of an accidental classification - I was not able to retrieve it anymore.

  • How obvious is that use Microsoft Windows OS (Operating System)
    Well I like more the FREE linux and the also free (well is free in any OS) Thunderbird !

  • @Reader - Given that it clearly states on the home page that this is, "a popular website that covers Windows tips, troubleshooting and customization" your point is?

    @VG - If by 2-line vertical view you mean a three pane layout then to my knowledge most email clients offer this. Thunderbird certainly does and has done for years.

  • VG

    ^^ No. "2-line vertical view" refers to view where sender's email and subject are shown in 2 separate lines in second column. Check out the screenshot of WLM in following topic:

  • Ah I see what you mean now. Outlook and Gmail both do it that way so not sure why Thunderbird doesn't have the option. Even more surprised that there is not an addon to change this. Hell even Opera Mail does it that way.

  • VG

    ^^ True. I didnt switch to Thunderbird mainly because of this and a few other features.

  • Reader...n one cares that you prefer Linux. It is time to accept that if you are on a site that isn't specifically written for you 2 percenters, then they are likely talking about Microsoft, or if it is mobile IS, then Androids or iOS.

  • Mailbird should totally be on this list,

    Really great email client for Windows OS, especially with the lack of alternatives for a fast, modern/polished and productivity focused email tool.

    And it actually feels and looks good when you are using it..considering how much time we spend with email.

  • We are using MS outlook since long back. All emails are stored in PST file of MS outlook.
    I am looking for best open source alternative email client which can open this PST file and we can work smoothly on the same.

  • Thunderbird has stopped working properly since my last Windows 8.1 auto update 4days ago. Runs slow, freezes, gives script disabled error message. Im now looking for another email program to work with 8.1,apart from the awful Windows Live which won't talk to my web hosts POP server. Any ideas??

  • I used to use Incredimail and loved it. Unfortunately, it isn't compatible with 8.1 and no plans for an update, as far as I know. I just really liked the ease of use and tons of features and creative touches. I like to use backgrounds and emoticons etc. Any ideas?

  • Why does Microsoft mess us about so? MS Outlook Express suits my needs perfectly but of course I'm forced to migrate to something else and don't know what to go for. MS Outlook is not available to me. My wife uses Firefox and I've experimented with it but I'm unable find a way of getting it to operate multiple accounts and organise them as tidily as OE can. Anyway a number of people seem to be having issues with Firefox which also puts me off persisting with it.

  • Now i have Thunderbird, but i am going to change because it loose me some mails, it has no way to have preclassification.. example when a mail from my brother comes, put it automaticaly in the good folder. And say how long I will to keep it in this folder.

  • Incredimail comment: does win8 have a 'comaptiblity mode'?

    "2-line vertical view" 'where sender's email and subject are shown in 2 separate lines in second column' seems like a nothing. I thought it referred to vertical columns layout, looks good for wide displays, where the top & bottom message display would create long messages lines (eyes tend to skip lines while returning to beginning of next line)

    i like oe6 functionality, despite some quirks in oe6.

    seamonkey mail mode is slow. possibly the bayesian junk-filter is bloated? if not, it otherwise must be bloated. i haven't tried tbird for manyt years.
    when i used tbird, i edited userchrome.css to compact the views.

    opera mail is nearly useless. it imported working imap account, but opera can't receive folders, much less messages.

    maybe i should retry pegasus...
    sylpheed claws? it's the client that gpg4win includes...
    I think mulberry or mahogany are no longer maintained?

    web email providers do well with spam these days. but i used keir (kier?) k9 spam filter. many options. saddest limitation is it's for only pop3, not imap. it ran fast on a p3, xp.

  • Hi guys! We are pumped for W10's public release soon and know many people are always looking for alternatives to Outlook.

    I wanted to share with those of you ready for the W10 update to try Mailbird and you'll see our new little friend in the top left corner.

    We just released Unified Inbox Plus - so if you have several email accounts they are all unified into one simple and beautiful account. Mailbird will also be W10 ready with touch support :D


  • Is the newsgroup feature still support for Windows Mail in Windows 10?
    I do not see a button to "Add Newsgroup"
    thank you

  • This article is way dated. Also, it would be nice if it clarified the level of support provided for these types of email accounts::

    - Hotmail
    - GMail
    - Yahoo

    Is it POP3 only, or IMAP with folders and all?

  • Your article does not look at what is happening at the end of June 2016.
    MS is not going to support or have anything to do with Outlook on your computer or other programs you have and use on your computer.
    And access to Hotmail live mail, and other mail programs they use... will be terminated completely.
    Cant you revise your article to make sure it includes that?
    Let me know what MS is up to. and let everyone know what they are up to.

  • VG

    ^^ Thats a misunderstanding. Microsoft is going to discontinue DeltaSync protocol which is used by Windows Live Mail client to sync Hotmail and other MS email accounts. After June 2016, you wont be able to use Hotmail or other Windows Live accounts in WLM using default Delta Sync protocol but you'll be able to use these email accounts in WLM and other email clients using POP3 or IMAP protocols.

    Check following for more details:

  • Hi!

    I'd love to get the latest comparison for people forced to move away from the multi-account Windows Live Mail. What do you consider equals, or better alternatives?


  • The free version of EM Client only supports 2 email accounts!

  • The best Mail Client (for me) on Windows: TheBat! from Ritlabs
    (but there is sadly no free version available).

    The best Mail Client on Android: AquaMail from Kostya Vasilyev --> PlayStore


  • I have Windows Live Mail. It will let me use only e mail addresses of my friends on Facebook.
    How do i fix this?

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