Featured Freeware: IncrediMail Xe

With its straightforward interface and whimsical attitude, IncrediMail appeals to the casual e-mailer, but actually offers enough features to be functional for more serious endeavors.

With its straightforward interface and whimsical attitude, IncrediMail appeals to the casual e-mailer, but actually offers enough features--like Exchange server support--to be functional for more serious endeavors. You can personalize your messages with background stationery from a variety of categories, including animals, art, technology, and moods. The program installs with about 50 backgrounds, most with a cartoony feel, and you can download more online or create your own with the trialware Letter Creator. It supports recorded voice attachments, and the premium version supports skins.

There are a few drawbacks. The interface lacks pizazz and looks like it was last overhauled back when emoticons were new. There's a questionnaire that must be filled out when installing the program, annoying even at three questions long. More significantly, IncrediMail turns into quite the resource pig when playing around with its graphics-heavy backgrounds.

The features are solid, though. The program offers basic e-mail client functions, including sending, receiving, and organizing messages; managing your address book; and creating rules for how to handle certain messages. The integrated JunkFilter lets you assign permission for senders or domains, IMAP support comes via a POP3 emulator, and Message Rules create filters that work in concert with the spam protection. IncrediMail makes standard e-mail a bit more fun for home users, especially for kids and kids at heart.

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