Why doesn't Vista mail help you type in contacts?

Bill Owens wants to know why Vista's email program, Windows Mail, doesn't behave like Outlook Express and automatically complete recipients' name as you type them.

Microsoft tried to make the simple task of addressing a message easier in Windows Mail. They succeeded in making it less intuitive.

But once you know what's going on, addressing Windows Mail messages is as easy as addressing them in Outlook Express.

In the good old days, when you started typing in the To box, Outlook Express would fill in the address for you. It probably wouldn't be the right address, but as you kept typing, it would eventually find the right one. But with Windows Mail, typing into the To field doesn't give you anything except the letters you type.

No wonder some people think you have to go into the address book if you don't have the name or email address memorized.

But you don't. Type in part of the name or address--it doesn't even have to be the beginning--then press TAB to move on to next field. If you typed a unique string of text--one that only appears in one contact's name or address--Windows Mail will insert the proper contact into the field. This is handy if you're writing to someone with a real weird name, like lincoln.

If you type a text string that appears more than once in your contacts, like bill, nothing happens when you leave the field. Very discouraging. But when you finish writing your message and click Send, Windows Mail brings up a list of all contacts with that string in the name or address. Double-clicking the right one will send the message on its merry way.

You see, the problem isn't that Vista is more difficult, it's just that it doesn't give you an encouraging sign that it knows what it's doing.

Unless you keep using it. Eventually Windows Mail figures out who you write to frequently. As you continue to use it, those names start to appear when you type them, just like all names did in Outlook Express. But now, there's a better chance that the first name that pops up is the right one.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lincoln Spector

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?