Friday, November 07, 2008

Yes, You Can Dump MS Outlook

When you buy a new Windows system, you will likely have Outlook Express preinstalled (I don't know anyone who uses it these days). Worse, you may feel inclined to dish out $85 for MS Office Standard 2007 (which includes MS Outlook) because the Windows office productivity space is crowded by Microsoft products. If that's all your workplace supports (because they use Exchange servers), you have no choice. But what if you could dump all that for a free email, calendar, and task management solution? It's easy and attainable.

For email, install Mozilla Thunderbird. It does everything MS Outlook does as far as sending and receiving emails, and I think perhaps a little smarter in organizing your mail, searching, and customizing. One caution: resist the temptation to import settings from other mail clients - it gets messy within Thunderbird.
You need the Lightning plugin to add task and calendaring features: download and save the .xpi, then from TB, install it using Tools | Add-ons. After TB restarts, viola! Il y a un calendrier.

Since I routinely work on more than 3 computers, I need them all to have my updated schedule at all times. For this, online calendars provide the needed synchronization link. If you use Google Calendar, you can set up Lightning to synchronize with it from Thunderbird, like this:
Download yet another plugin - the Provider for Google Calendar. After installing it as an add-on for Thunderbird and restarting:
  1. Open your Google Calendar from a web browser
  2. Click on Settings, then on the Calendars tab, click on your calendar.
  3. Scroll to the Private Address area (bottom) and right-click the XML link to copy its URL.
  4. In Thunderbird, select File | New | Calendar : On the network : Google Calendar (and paste the URL here) : provide credentials.
That's all. Since all your calendars now feed off the same online calendar, your computers always have an updated copy whenever you run Thunderbird. This is a totally winning solution that's free and effective. At this point I was ready to backup my messages in Outlook and uninstall it from all my computers. I haven't seen issues in a couple of months since I did this.

1 comment:

Alexis said...

I often use ms outlook in my work, but unfortunately couple days ago I ran across an unexpected trouble with email. Perhaps next tool might resolve this trouble just like mine - outlook repair tools download.