In this edition of the mailbag: the lack of an Archive button in Hotmail, why corporations sometimes still choose Blackberry, getting email count in Windows Phone, Windows 8 Storage Spaces and ReFS, my attempts to be dumber, Nook vs. Kindle, and fixing a Windows 7/Windows 8 dual-boot issue.

If you have questions, please email me.

Switching from Gmail to Hotmail: How do you deal with the lack of an Archive button?

William B. asks:
I like your idea for switching from Gmail to Hotmail. I am thinking about that too, but I just wonder how you get by with a few changes. How do you deal without having an Archive button? I find this one of the most useful things in Gmail. (Maybe you don't.) Are there any other things that were a challenge to overcome, after using Gmail a lot? What are your thoughts on that?
Actually, I do think the Archive button is one of the best things about Gmail. I made a folder called "_Archive" in Hotmail and drag items to that folder to "archive" them. But I agree that a dedicated Archive button would be easier. If you happen to use an actual Windows application like Outlook, you can create a facsimile using Quick Steps, or whatever that feature is called. (I don't use Outlook.)
 
Beyond that, it's been pretty darned seamless, but then I didn't work to get my old Gmail messages into Hotmail. There are ways to do it, but none are pretty, and it would be time-consuming.
 

Why corporations still choose Blackberry

I've been pretty down on RIM and Blackberry for quite some time now. This has generated some (non-heated/reasonable) email exchanges. For example, James C. notes:
I was interested to hear your comments about RIM and Blackberry.  I agree with your opinion that RIM is dying, but I thought you might be interested in why Blackberry’s are/were so popular within IT departments ... The main benefit of using Blackberry is the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES), not the devices themselves. BES allows the data on the phone to be encrypted, allows remote wiping of data from stolen/lost devices and allows features to be enabled/disabled ... In the last year or so, management solutions for iPhone and Android (but not Windows Phone yet unfortunately) have gotten good enough to be a viable alternative, which is why we are now moving away from Blackberry.
Thanks for this. I think the issue for RIM is that these capabilities--encryption, remote wipe, etc.--have come to other devices over time, either by the platform makers or, in many cases, through Exchange ActiveSync (EAS). So the differentiators are fewer than they used to be, though I guess I'd argue that the Blackberry network is still an interesting one.

Getting email count in Windows Phone?

Ian R. asks:
My wife just got a Samsung Focus, mainly because I liked mine so much. But she just asked me a question: "How do I tell how many emails I have in my inbox?" 
The tile (and lock screen) will of course show you how many "new" emails you have, though that figure is blown away by simply entering the app, whether or not you read any emails. But from within the mail app, you can see how many unread messages are in an inbox, but not how many total messages. To see this, tap More "..." then Folders. A number will appear next to the Inbox folder. If you have linked inboxes, you'll see multiple inboxes with those numbers.
 
Short answer: I don't know of a way for Windows Phone to show the total number of emails in the inbox, just the number of unread emails.
 
Rhetorical question: Why do you need to know how many messages are in a folder? (Answer: Because she wants to know.)

Does Windows 8 Storage Spaces require ReFS?

JD asks:
It's great to hear that Drive Extender will be living on as Storage Spaces in Windows 8, but can NTFS drives use it, or is this only for ReFS-formatted drives? Similarly, will it be available in both the client and Server versions of Windows 8, or only Server?
Storage Spaces will work with NTFS as well as ReFS and will ship in both the client and Server versions of Windows 8.
 
ReFS will only ship in Windows Server 8 and then only used for the file server workload. It will be enhanced over time and will make it's way to the client (via a Windows 8 Service Pack perhaps, or in Windows 9) and will be applicable for non-file server workloads, including boot disks and, I assume, external storage device.

Dumb and dumber

Mazhar H. writes:
Sometimes you try to be over smart, which you are not. So please don't try so. Thanks!
I'll try to be dumber, thanks.

Why Kindle but not Nook?

Bill W. asks:
Unless I missed it, I’ve not seen a review of the Barnes & Noble Nook on your site. I have a Nook 1st edition (woefully behind the new Simple Touch, but functional). I had hands-on experience with the new Kindles and nooks during Christmas shopping (I gave the nooks); in my opinion, the new Nooks – tablet and e-reader --  are quite superior (though lacking the all-important Amazon 'ecosystem'). 
Nooks have two issues that pretty much end this debate, at least for me: The ecosystem, which you mention, and the fact that Barnes & Noble is unlikely to survive in its current form.
 
The former is the more important, and the single greatest reason to choose a Kindle as its the content, and not an individual device, that matters. But the latter is troubling, and Barnes & Noble is now considering spinning off the Nook business because it loses hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter on it and doesn't have the financial wherewithal to take it to the next level.

Fixing a Windows 7/Windows 8 dual-boot issue

Venu V. asks as question that will soon be more common:
I have a laptop that had both Windows Vista and Windows 8 Developer Preview in a dual boot configuration. Last night, I upgraded the primary OS of my laptop (Vista) to Windows 7 by wiping out the C: drive completely and doing a clean install. A couple of minor problems aside, the installation process was smooth. However, this installation removed the "OS Chooser" screen from the boot process and I am always booting directly into Windows 7 now. There is no way of getting into Windows 8 DP. Can something be done to fix this problem? 
Most likely. You should be able to fix that by booting with the Windows 8 boot media (disc, USB) and choosing the recovery options instead of Setup. There will be a boot recovery option in there that will allow you to reinstall the boot menu and return to your dual-boot configuration. Try Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Automatic repair first. If that fails, you'll get a Startup Repair screen that will let you choose Advanced options.