Microsoft is a puzzle. As good as Live Writer is, Live Mail Desktop is just the opposite. It's terrible. I had high hopes that this was going to be the Outlook Express replacement we have all been seeking for a decade now. Maybe they still plan for it to be, but if that's the case they better snag some of the guys from the Live Writer team.
Want some evidence of its crapacity? I pointed it at my work IMAP account (which Thunderbird handles without breaking a sweat) and, after 10 minutes of watching it wiggle and sizzle, killed it. It had managed to consume 130 megs of RAM on its way to downloading about 10% of my email. Truly groundbreaking work.
I was never able to find a way to close the right hand pane which appears to either show a search dialog or advertisement. Like I really need more of that! Besides its inability to do anything useful, it appears to not even be original. Once you start opening option dialogs, they look very similar to you know what. Yup, you guessed it. Our old friend Outlook Express.
Microsoft needs to have a unified visual style for their apps and they need to put some serious effort in creating a quality mail client for the non-Outlook users. Either get serious about Desktop Mail or can it and make Windows Mail what it can be. One or the other, but not both.