16 e-mail and instant messaging boosters

Communicate better with these (mostly free) downloads

The Internet was built on a very simple idea: People should be able to communicate more easily with one another, using their computers. So it should be no surprise that communication -- particularly in the form of e-mail and instant messaging -- is still at the heart of why most people go online.

We've rounded up 16 great downloads to help you communicate better through e-mail and instant messaging. They'll help enhance the way you use e-mail (whether it's Web-based or handled in software on your PC), and they'll power up instant messaging chats, too. So if you want to be known as the Great Communicator, read on.

E-Mail software

Most people live in e-mail these days. We have downloads to help you get even more out of it. Whether you want to kill spam, improve the management of multiple e-mail accounts or use free e-mail software that's better than your current program, here are our suggestions.

Thunderbird: Are you unhappy with Outlook? Or are you unwilling to pay its price, and you're underwhelmed with Outlook Express? Give the free Thunderbird a look. This e-mail client from Mozilla -- the same folks who bring you Firefox -- is simple to use and offers plenty of the high-end features you'd expect from a top e-mail program, including the ability to encrypt and digitally sign messages, as well as to create filters so the app can automatically handle mail when it arrives.

Setup is a snap: If you already have e-mail software, Thunderbird will import your existing settings. Creating a new account is similarly easy, and the process even includes setup screens for Gmail, which can be difficult to set up with other e-mail clients.

It isn't an all-around personal information manager like Outlook -- it has no calendar, for example, and you can't create to-do lists. But if all you want is e-mail, it's a winner. It will even handle RSS feeds and newsgroups, so you can keep up on the latest blogs, news and discussions. If you're not happy with your current e-mail software, it's well worth the free download.

Download Thunderbird | Price: Free

Windows Live Mail: Windows Live Mail, the newest addition to Microsoft's e-mail lineup, is the successor to Outlook Express (shipped in versions of Windows before Vista) and Windows Mail (included with Vista). Neither Outlook Express nor Windows Mail will ship in future versions of Windows; anyone who wants a free e-mail client in Windows 7 will have to download Windows Live Mail. It's very much like both of the older programs, and it shares the same pluses and minuses. On the plus side: Setting up new accounts and using the app are both quite easy, and it includes lots of features for dressing up e-mail, such as stationery, emoticons and pictures, background colors and font sizes. The program also lets you read RSS feeds and participate in newsgroups.

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.

Tags email

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Preston Gralla

Preston Gralla

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8″ Collapsible Telescope

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Whodunnit™ Duo-Scope MFL-007 Microscope Kit

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?