Do you need Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, WindowsLive Mail, Windows Live Hotmail, MSN Hotmail, Windows Messenger,Windows Live Messenger, etc ?
Do you need to replace the application you are using with one of the others ?
the answer is "no", unless you switch to Windows 7, which has now replaced Windows Vista.
Outlook Express and Windows Mail
If you are currently using either one of these applications, you will probably have to switch to Windows Live mail one day.
These applications allow you to read, write, send and receive emails.
Microsoft have abandoned Outlook Express and its successor under Vista, Windows Mail.
That doesn't mean that Outlook Express and Windows Mail will not work anymore;
it only means that you will have to replace them with Windows Live Mail when you adopt Windows 7, which has replaced Wndows Vista.
Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express are two completely different applications.
Outlook is sold on its own (180$) and is also included with most versions of the Microsoft Office suite.
Outlook manages emails but it is also a personal information manager : it does calendar, task and contact management.
If you are using Outlook and have happy with it, there is really no reason for you to switch to another application.
Windows Live Mail
Windows Live Mail replaced Outlook Express, and has itself been replaced by Windows Mail under Vista.
Windows Live Mail is part of the Windows Live group of applications.
You will have to switch to Windows Live Mail if you adopt Windows 7 as a replacement for Windows XP or Windows Vista.
However, if you are using Outlook ( not Outlook Express ), you can keep it under Windows 7.
MSN Hotmail was a free email service and has been replaced Windows Live Hotmail.
Microsoft no longer supports MSN Hotmail and you will be required to switch to Windows Live Hotmail.
Windows Live Hotmail
Windows Live Hotmail has replaced MSN Hotmail.
Windows Live Hotmail has nothing to do with the other email management applications that I have described.
It's a free email service that gives can access using a Internet browser on any computer, anywhere.
You must have a Hotmail account (or a Microsoft Live account ) in order to user this service.
Note. Windows Live Mail allows you to download emails from a Windows Live Hotmail account;
Windows Mail (under Vista) did not allow that - you had to pay a subscription to do that.
Windows Live Messenger
Windows Messenger Service
Explanation of the different "flavours" of Messenger would be very technical so I will only give you what's the essential.
By the way, the Microsoft employees who decide what names go give their products seem to have really limited imaginations.
Windows Live Messenger has replaced MSN Messenger.
Other than that, these products are completely diffrent applications and have nothing in common other than their names.
The only application that you actually need is Windows Live Messenger,
and that, only if you want to send and receive "instant messages" (i.e chat)
with other Internet users who use Windows Live Messenger.
I hope this bulletin has helped you clear up your requirements.
Should you still have questions, then please send me an email ...