I use Outlook Express to actual receive my mail because I like not having to open up Firefox of Internet Explorer to check my mail. I am thinking about making gmail my default (not secondary) mail account.
Any "bad" reports on gmail accounts???
Please give me enough troubles, uncertainty, problems, obstacles and STRESS so that I do not become arrogant, proud, and smug in my own abilities, and enough blessings and good times that I realize that someone else is in charge of my life.
Thunderbird(TB) will do the same thing if it cannot connect to a mail server. It will popup a password prompt. Doesn't mean that the saved password is incorrect. Just means TB couldn't establish a connection.
GMail is my preferred free email. Both GMail and AOL use IMAP, and both can use a secure encrypted connection for incoming/outgoing email using an email client such as Outlook or Thunderbird. You just have to make sure to use secure connection settings in AOL email. Safer when using public or unfamiliar WiFi.
Windows Live Hotmail also uses a secure connection for both incoming/outgoing email. I've also found it to be somewhat "buggy" and more limited than either GMail or AOL mail. For one, Hotmail only allows you to use POP protocol for email clients. This only permits you access to Hotmail's Incoming folder, and you need to login to webmail for access to the other folders. At least IMAP allow you access and sync to all email folders on the server. Another flaw is that Hotmail apparently flags any new incoming email address from GMail, Yahoo, and AOL, sending it to the Junk Folder which you don't have access to in a POP email client. Hotmail also doesn't allow you to make a domain exception in Junk Filtering for the major free email services to send new emails to the Inbox first. You have to make filter rule, the free Hotmail only allows two, specifically "Move messages to Inbox if sender's address contains @" which will now send all email to your Inbox first, so you can manage them in your email client. Also, I couldn't get access to Hotmail's filter rules in the first place from any browser, and had to manually change the Window Live link to do so.
Yahoo's free email is the most limited. You can use POP for email client access by using a freely available email plugin for incoming email only, but have to use another email server for any outgoing email. I use GMail's outgoing mail server for my free Yahoo account, but rarely use it other than for access to Yahoo Groups.