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Oct 31

InboxEx for Microsoft Outlook

Here are the basics from the InboxEX website :

  • Supports Outlook 2007 and 2010.
  • Absolutely free, no limitations, no spams.
  • No signup, share via your Gmail account.
  • Tightly integrated, powerful and easy to use.

According to the InboxEX website, the product also provides email search, email archive, calendar availability sharing via Google, and meeting scheduling.

The first thing that struck me was the lack of documentation. There is none – not on their website, nor on Facebook. The website’s “Forum” tab is a link to Facebook, which (at the time of my testing) had 8 followers. If all goes well on this test, maybe we’ll make it 9 by the end of this post : let’s find out.

InboxEx Testing Step 1 Setup_msiAfter first downloading the 10MB install file, I ran InboxExSetup.msi and immediately ran into The first sign of the need for better documentation; in this case, installation requirements.

InboxEx for Outlook This Setup Requires DotNet Framework Version 4“This setup requires the .NET Framework version 4.0. Please install the .NET Framework and run this setup again. The .NET Framework can be obtained from the web. Would you like to do this now?” The two responses in the dialog box are yes and no.

I see this being a show stopper for anyone who doesn’t have a technical background,  but at least it launched a web browser with a link to http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=186913 which turned out to be the download for the Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (Web Installer).

Testing InboxEx Step 2 LicenseAgreement5 minutes later I had Microsoft .NET  downloaded and installed, and so I continued with setup of InboxEx.

The license was pretty standard, though I found this “Data Collection” section rather interesting :

7. DATA COLLECTION InboxEx Inc. collects anonymized data about your usage of the product and necessary data such email addresses necessary to provide InboxEx services. You agree that InboxEx Inc. may collect this data and use it for email address resolution, product improvements, research, demonstrations, or other purposes. InboxEx Inc. will not sell or release this data, nor does it aggregate personally identifiable information, except as needed to provide the services granted by the SOFTWARE PRODUCT.

Still, onward and upward.

Testing InboxEx Step 3 A Pause While InstallingNext I was surprised to find a pause. I wondered if the system hadn’t hung, so I minimized everything I had open, moved the window around – nothing. This is where documentation, or a downloading progress window would have been nice. Fortunately I waited and, after about 90 seconds I was presented with a User Account prompt to install a .msi file downloaded from the internet. I checked the certificate and confirmed it was from InboxEx Inc and, so, proceeded.

Installation proceeded as I would have expected, and completed. Keep in mind that I had Microsoft Outlook 2010 Open throughout this installation, along with some Chrome Browser windows.

Testing InboxEx Step 4 FinalizingTesting InboxEx Step 5 Installation Complete

I see nothing specifically in Microsoft Outlook. Do I need to exit Outlook and enter again? I check the Start Menu. Nothing under the new apps. Nothing under all programs.

So, I closed Outlook and reopened. All of a sudden, Outlook got REALLY busy. I checked Kaspersky Internet Security and saw that it was scanning email like mad. Outlook was next to useless, the busy wheel flashing several times a second. What is it doing? I’m not sure. Indexing, possibly. But it has me a little worried. Okay, now I see the message in the InboxEx Column : Indexing is still in progress.

Okay, so, if you can get past the flickering “Busy Wheel,” there is some functionality. I try to add a Gmail account. Tab doesn’t move from Gmail* (aka username) and Password*. At least I can click. I add the Password and click Okay.

The flickering is making me sea sick. I think I feel my eye twitching.

I go back into options. There is a checkbox I didn’t see before. “Sychronize calendar with Google.” Huh? I don’t want the whole calendar there. I’m looking for specific controls. This is the same as Google Calendar Sync with a bunch of extra stuff.

I like the conference link, and I appreciate the archiving controls. Still getting sick from the strobing busy wheel. I check my Google Calendar. Sure enough, my whole calendar is being populated up on the Google Calendar. This isn’t the option for me.

So, I Exit Outlook hoping that it will stop the process. Time to uninstall.

I run the uninstall through Add/Remove programs. One not entirely unexpected prompt to close InboxExServer.exe. I choose the Automatic option, it continues. Next is the User Account Control. Again with the 58d6e2.msi prompt. I approve and it finishes without further prompting. The service appears to be gone, and there are no unwanted Program Files folders.

I’ll try to check back with InboxEx another time. Maybe there will be another version.