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

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

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?