Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Microsoft Outlook annoyances

I've been obliged to use Microsoft Outlook for years because my job requires it, although I use Mozilla Thunderbird for my personal mail and much prefer it. So what's wrong with Outlook?

  • It keeps offering to remember my password although, whenever I accept the invitation, it never remembers it. This is gross incompetence: remembering a password is hardly rocket science. Furthermore, there's no error message: I ask Outlook to remember the password, and it just prompts me for it again next time. This has happened consistently using different computers and different versions of Windows.
  • When I tell Thunderbird to send a message, it sends the message immediately. When I tell Outlook to send a message, it does so when it feels like it, sometimes ten or fifteen minutes later. There seems no way of hurrying it up.
  • When I write a message, it normally displays people's names in the destination fields without displaying their e-mail addresses. This makes it easy to send a message to the wrong address, if someone has several addresses or changes his/her address.
  • Sometimes, when I try to do something, it tells me that I have no connection to Microsoft Exchange, even though the status message says that I do have a connection. I don't know in any case why it ever loses the connection: my Internet connection is always there and works well. Recently I wrote a message and spent half an hour waiting while Outlook tried and failed to connect to Microsoft Exchange. Then I gave up and sent the message with Thunderbird, which of course sent it immediately with no trouble.
  • It takes a relatively long time to check for new messages after starting up: maybe about a minute.
  • It quite often hangs up so badly that I have to use the Task Manager to kill the process.
  • It saves messages in its own nasty format that only it can read. Most other e-mail programs save messages in a text file that can be read by any text editor if necessary.

I'm currently using Microsoft Office 2007. I haven't upgraded to the latest version because, from what I've heard, it's no better and may even be worse.

If I ever stop having to use Outlook for work, I'll uninstall it immediately with no regrets.