How To Get Desktop Notifications on Windows and Mac

If you use, pinning it to the Taskbar allows you to use it more like a desktop program. But that doesn’t give you new mail notifications. Here’s how to get them.

In a previous tip, I showed how to pin to the Windows Taskbar. That allows you to use the web-based email service more like a desktop program. One thing that’s missing with that is there are no desktop notifications when you get a new message as you can get with Outlook 2013.

To get email notifications on your desktop, download this free utility called Howard. It’s available for both Windows and OS X. Once it’s installed you’ll get a notification from the system tray when you get new messages.


Right-click the icon and go to “Settings” to change how often it checks for mail and how notifications are displayed.




  1. Sure Thing

    July 11, 2014 at 7:07 am

    I don’t trust Howard

    • Brian Burgess

      July 11, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      @ Sure Thing: Why not?

    • Shmu26

      February 25, 2019 at 9:58 am

      You don’t have to trust it, but it’s been around for years, and seems to be quite reliable. It has passed the test of time.

  2. Tim Costello

    November 1, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I just downloaded this and it works exceptionally well. Thank you for sharing. Between this and a nice mailto extension I found in chrome I no longer need to use an email program such as outlook or live mail

  3. Eli

    September 3, 2015 at 4:05 am

    Thanks for the great guide!
    But how come in gmail you can get desktop notifications without installing an add-on and at you do need?

    • NF2K

      March 27, 2018 at 4:40 am

      Don’t quote me on this but I think the desktop notifications are generated by the website in question. Gmail is programmed to send these notifications, Outlook/hotmail/live is not.

  4. VanguardLH

    May 7, 2016 at 12:07 am

    Who only has one e-mail account? I don’t see how you can configure this local e-mail client to poll more than one account.

  5. Jacquo Johnson

    October 17, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    great functionality and display but the polling takes too long. too bad it wasn’t R notification even based. overall good stuff but even at 30sec that is just to long to wait to get notified.

  6. shmu26

    February 24, 2019 at 9:52 am

    You can manually set it to check every 10 seconds, if you want. The app is very customizable. doesn’t give you unread mail count on the taskbar icon because it is designed to be used in conjunction with the desktop Outlook app. Outlook on the web is not designed to be a replacement for the desktop Outlook app.

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