Viewing RSS and Newsgroups in Windows Live Mail

January 17, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Windows Live Mail is a free application that comes as part of Windows Live Essentials 2011. It is effectively the default email client for Windows 7, with the only difference being that it doesn’t actually come with the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system.

Capable of handling POP, IMAP and Hotmail email (MAPI) accounts, Windows Live Mail is a suitable alternative for anyone who cannot afford the business-targeted Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 – in fact it could even be described as a replacement, offering as it does functionality that Outlook users can only dream of.

While the developers of Outlook have been busy squeezing features out, the Windows Live Mail development team have been adding features in, providing support for newsgroups (Usenet).

Access Usenet newsgroups with Windows Live Mail

View Newsgroups in Windows Live Mail

It is probably fair to say that newsgroups are not as possible as they once were. The Usenet network predates the World Wide Web but many of its uses have been transferred to web-based forum software. However it remains a popular resource, with Google Groups being virtually built on top of browser-based access to the many various newsgroups that are still in operation.

To access newsgroups in Windows Live Mail, you first need to setup a newsgroup account. This is done via Menu > Options > Newsgroups or by going to the Newsgroups view and Accounts > Newsgroup. In the resulting dialogue box you will need to enter your name as you wish it to appear, then in the next screen your email address. Finally you will need to enter the NNTP server name, as provided by your ISP. If your ISP does not supply this information then you will need to find a third party news server.

Windows Live Mail will then spend a few moments downloading all of the available newsgroup names so that you can then search through the list for groups you might like to read.  When you find something of interest, select it and click Subscribe. You will then be able to view the news group in via a link in the folder menu where you should find it listed beneath your NNTP server name.

Posting to a news group is the same as replying to an email, and requires you to use the News message button. Replies are sent via the Reply to group button (or Reply if you only intend on messaging one person)

Access RSS Feeds in Windows Live Mail

In addition to providing access to newsgroups, Windows Live Mail can also act as an RSS feed reader, a feature that can be accessed via the Feeds view button in the lower-left of the application window.

By default, you may find that some feeds are already present – these are the ones that are included in Windows 7, and will be listed under Your feeds.

Your own feeds can be added manually via the Feed button in the Home tab – simply click this and paste the URL and click OK. Alternatively you can add a feed by right-clicking Your feeds and selecting Manage feeds…. A New Folder can be added in this view and you can organise your feeds by dragging them to new folders; note that you can also set an update schedule using the dropdown menu at the foot of the dialogue box.

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