I’ve dumped WLM again – it’s just too slow to startup. With my inbox dating back to 2002, and 7000+ emails, WLM takes ages to start up and thrashes the hard disk like crazy. I considered going back to Thunderbird but then remembered that I’d lose the integration with my Windows Live contacts – something that I’ve really grown fond of and don’t want to lose. So, I re-installed Outlook and then also got the Outlook Communicator (albeit first I got an older version which didn’t work). Outlook Communicator lets you integrate Outlook with Windows Live, so you get your inbox from Windows Live, and your calendars and address books – in fact, not only your calendar but any calendars you are subscribing to in Windows Live – neat. Another benefit is that you get full read/write access to your Live calendars in Outlook as opposed to read-only access to your Google Calendars (unless you're using the Google Calendar sync tool, which I am for the moment). I’m finding Outlook much faster to use than WLM, plus the integrated calendaring means that I can dump Windows Calendar as well. The only criticism I have is that you can’t (or at least I can’t see how to) get a single inbox view of all your accounts including ones subscribed to by Outlook Communicator – they show up as separate accounts in Outlook. You can at least do a global search of all emails though and they all end up in Vista's search index. I’ve kept WLM installed and have the emails still in it just in case, but I’ve removed .eml files from the search index so that it doesn’t clog it up and get in the way.
Gmail have started offering IMAP as well as POP support - great news, I thought (although it only shows up if you set your language as US). However, I tried it out - dead, dead slow. Much too slow to consider moving over from POP access. Plus, it has a few other limitations and / or oddities, the main one being that I like to merge all my email accounts into a single Inbox which allows me to search within Thunderbird for all my mail. Using IMAP means I have to keep my Gmail separate from my other mail accounts which I download into Thunderbird. I can't do a single search against all mail, or filters etc. Searching is also very slow - I guess it does it against the server rather than against the local cache? I've been considering moving over to Outlook for a while now instead of Thunderbird for a couple of reasons such as integrated searching in Vista (there's no plug-in for Thunderbird) plus calendaring, although Vista comes with a Calendar anyway, and I use Google Calendar for my calendaring. If there was a way to write entries into my Google Calendar from Outlook, that'd be great. For the moment I guess I'll be sticking with Thunderbird.