Microsoft has unveiled plans to close Windows Mail and Windows Calendar – moving all users to Outlook for Windows by 2024.
The company is expected to retire its old Mail and Calendar apps next year, force-migrating anyone still using them over to Outlook for Windows instead.
In a move that could prove slightly confusing, Outlook for Windows is different to the Microsoft Outlook programme included within Microsoft Office and Office 365, albeit only slightly. The 365 version offers more premium features, although both look very similar in design.
Anyone still using Windows Mail will now be presented with a toggle bar at the top of their screen inviting them to: ‘Try the new outlook’. Clicking it will install the new Outlook app and begin the switchover process by importing contact databases. This action can be reversed for anyone who doesn’t like the new platform, but the migration will be forced by the start of 2024, when Microsoft will cease support for the older programs.
Meanwhile, all new Microsoft devices being sold with Windows 11 will come with Outlook for Windows as default.
This change is no major surprise, with Microsoft originally announcing plans to close its old Mail and Calendar tools earlier this year. However, after it was met with outcry from users, Microsoft promised to re-evaluate the timing. With that process seemingly now undertaken, the tech firm has opted to plough ahead with the change and move users across by next year.
There are benefits to migrating, with Outlook for Windows offering (among others) better integration with other email providers, new calendar features and greater personalisation options than its predecessor. It will also remain free to use. Announcing the change, Microsoft struck a tone of optimism, stating: “The new Outlook for Windows helps people be more productive and in control of their inbox.”