Q: I began years ago with Outlook Express. When it died (or was discontinued) I moved to Windows Live Mail 2012. When it failed (at least on my Sony laptop computer, using Windows 10), my internet provider (Comcast/Xfinity) said it couldn’t help make a repair, and suggested I use their web-mail instead.

I am using it, Xfinity Connect, and finding it terribly clunky. Keyboard commands (for new message, font changes, spell-check, send, etc.) don’t seem to exist; I can mark spam but can’t block an unwanted sender; and ads are escalating greatly.

Please tell me: Is there an email program that approximates the look and flow of Windows Live Mail, the most friendly program I’ve used? I do have MS Office 2003 on my laptop, but its Outlook looks complicated, and I’m concerned that Microsoft may not support Office 2003 for much longer. I’ve looked at Gmail on other peoples’ computers, and it looks foreign to me. Have I lucked out in the past finding free email programs, and do I need now to commit to buying something at last?

— Brooke Rolston, Seattle

A: The closest thing would be the new Outlook.com. Over the years, Microsoft has gradually evolved its various email programs — Outlook, Outlook Express, Live Mail and Hotmail — into two products that have a very similar look and feel. The web-based Outlook.com is the free online product and can only be used when you have an active internet connection. Outlook for the desktop, which is part of the Outlook 2016 and Outlook 365 suites, allows you to work while you’re without an internet connection.

Both products allow you to connect to multiple email accounts on different platforms. And both offer the features you’re looking for, including blocking of senders and spam filtering.

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