There are a lot of free email clients available. Under WindowsXP I used Microsoft Outlook Express. When I switched to Windows7 I went with Mozilla Thunderbird. Thunderbird can be difficult to configure so I recently looked up other alternatives for one of our work computers and loaded Mulberry which was easy to set up.http://email.about.com/od/windowsemailclients/tp/free_email_prog.htm
A real option these days is to use something like gmail where your internet browser becomes your email.