Right after installation it opens as simple white window - no sidebar, no switcher, nothing. It does not remind regular email client at all.
Only my familiarity with the product on linux platform told me to fight to figure out how to bring those features back.
You know how important the first impression for the product adoption, right?
I'd suggest to run it if possible for the first time in it's full glory - with sidebar where mail boxes reside, with switcher where its nature as groupware client reveals (calendar, etc.). It's better hide later what is not needed, but firstly present to user all the power the product have.
I'm trying Evolution for the first time and I experienced this as well. I'm running Vista Home Premium on an HP DV9000 series laptop. I'm getting various crashes and the software is, for the most part, unusable in its current state. I'm more than happy to continue testing for you as I would love an outlook replacement that isn't resource-heavy.