Since XP support has ended is it still worthwhile my buying Microsoft’s XP mode to upgrade my Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium in order to return back to my favorite Outlook Express? I foolishly paid nearly $200 extra for a PC package containing Outlook having been told it was like Outlook Express but better. I don’t like it and thus my desire to return to Outlook Express.
The short answer is no, you don’t want to do this.
For one thing, you may not need to spend any money to do what you’re asking. More importantly, it’s not something that I recommend you do, at all.
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XP Mode is Windows XP in a VM
XP mode is nothing more than Windows XP running in a virtual machine with Windows 7. I’ve never heard of it being purchased separately. But it is available in only Windows 7 Pro or better as a free download from Microsoft – so perhaps that’s the upgrade you’re talking about.
If you have a Windows XP installation disk, you can also do something different (also for free) instead. Download a program called VirtualBox from Oracle. It’s a complete and general-purpose virtual machine manager and it’s free. You can then install Windows XP in a virtual machine and run it in a window within any other version of Windows or even on a Mac, as I do.
It’s still Windows XP
Here’s the problem though: you’re still running Windows XP!
Just because it’s in a virtual machine or XP mode doesn’t really make it any safer. A virtual machine is almost exactly like having a separate computer; a separate computer that just happens to be running Windows XP. It’s still unsupported, so it’s still likely to be vulnerable.
The right solution here is not to run Windows XP at all. If you must run it, then XP mode or virtual machines don’t really get you that much protection.
Outlook Express is in the same boat. In fact, it’s even worse because it’s been unsupported for years already. And it has known data loss and corruption bugs. These days, I actually strongly advise against using it, period.
It was a great email program for a very long time, and I know a lot of people are really passionate about it. I can understand that. But unfortunately it’s well past time to move on.
Move on instead
So, my recommendation for your situation? You have a workable version of Windows, as it is – Windows 7 64-bit is fine; there’s no reason to upgrade that. What I would recommend is simply this: select a different email program.
Clearly you didn’t like Outlook, which is not terribly surprising since it’s actually unrelated to Outlook Express. Outlook comes with Microsoft Office, and it’s a completely different program. The only relationship the two have is that they both happen to be email programs, and they both happen to use the word “Outlook” in their name; everything else is completely different.
But there are many, many other alternatives. I typically recommend Windows Live Mail, which is free from Microsoft, or Thunderbird, which is also free. Regardless of which you choose, most are significantly better supported, significantly more stable, and significantly less likely to lose your email than Outlook Express.