Windows 11 is forcing users to upgrade Mail app to new Outlook client which comes with a nasty addition – adverts

Windows 11 and Windows 10 users are being forced to upgrade to a new version of Microsoft’s built-in email app, with the Mail app becoming Outlook.

Windows Latest highlighted the situation whereby this happened to the tech site – and when we opened Mail, it was the same deal for us (albeit the upgrade process happened in a different way – we’ll come back to that shortly).

As Windows Latest explains, when opening the Mail app, they were informed by a pop-up that the Mail and Calendar apps are changing to be replaced by a new unified Outlook app. (We’ve previously been told about those old apps going out of support before 2024 comes to a close).

This new Outlook web app replaces both of those clients, and before they knew it, Windows Latest was looking at the new app rather than the old Mail client. The all-in-one replacement has a fair few changes from the Mail app, as we’ve explored before.

Now, this isn’t an irreversible change, though – not yet, because there is a slider top-left of the app window which says ‘New Outlook’ and if you switch it off, you’ll be sent back to the old Mail app.

That said, when doing this, Microsoft warns you that while you can switch back now, you will be returned to the new Outlook in the future. So that forced upgrade is coming soon, and it will be irreversible.

Analysis: Gloomy Outlook – cloudy with a chance of ads

We hadn’t opened the Mail app for some time, so upon reading Windows Latest’s tale, we tried it – and indeed we got a small message: “A newer version of Outlook is required to continue. Outlook will now check for updates.”

Our Mail client was then automatically upgraded to the new web Outlook, just as with Windows Latest. We weren’t treated to the fancier (graphical) pop-ups the tech site experienced though – we just got a simple text-based dialog box. (Possibly because the PC we were on is still running Windows 10)

So, it seems this is a wide rollout of the forced upgrade, albeit it as noted, a change that can be temporarily rescinded – although later this year, you will be transferred to the new Outlook email app, whether you want it, or not.

Why aren’t people keen on the new email client? Well, it’s a whole different layout, and change can take some getting used to, as always. Others seem to be complaining that it diverts important messages away from the main inbox (’Focused’ pane) too readily. However, the biggest stumbling block for many is that the new Outlook has adverts, apparently, although those with a Microsoft 365 subscription don’t see them (we have the latter, so weren’t bothered by adverts).

Certainly, adverts is a nasty sting in the tail, but you may just have to get used to them if you’re not an Office (sorry, Microsoft 365) subscriber. Microsoft’s constantly experimenting with using more ads or promotional tactics in Windows 11 (and 10) sadly, and increasingly it seems that’s something we’ll have to live with.

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