Turning off vacation replies to fight spam in Hotmail

Turning off vacation replies to fight spam in Hotmail

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We’ve posted quite a bit recently about the work we’re doing to prevent spam on Windows Live (Just say no to bogus Messenger invitations, Preventing spam and phishing using e-mail authentication, Spam, phishing, and other annoyances, and Fighting the war on spam).

In our fight against spam, we sometimes have to make hard choices, and we had to make one this week. We discovered that spammers were using Hotmail’s automatic vacation reply feature to send spam from their Hotmail accounts.

We decided to temporarily shut off the feature in order to shut down the spam. Of course, we know some of you like and use automatic  vacation replies to let people know when you can’t respond to e-mail for a while, and we’ll turn this feature back on as soon as we’ve worked out the best way to prevent it from being misused by spammers.

I apologize to all of you who use this feature for any inconvenience we’ve caused.

Krish Vitaldevara
Lead Program Manager, Windows Live Hotmail

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  • StaceyS
    1 Posts

    PLEASE turn the vacation reply option back on now!  I'd rather have the spam. I chose Hotmail over Gmail or GoDaddy domain for my business. I am now going on vacation; I will have no access to email; and I have no way of notifying my clients.  I WILL LOSE BUSINESS BECAUSE YOU ALL DECIDED YOU NEED TO WORK ON SPAM.  Come on!  Do you understand you are in the customer service business?

  • Hi Melissa,

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. There were 3 servers, out of 4000 servers, that didn't have the fix applied. We went ahead and applied the fix and the issue should now be resolved. Thanks for using Hotmail and keep the feedback coming.


  • Melissa
    1 Posts

    Hi -

    I'm hoping you can help me out. In March, I used the Automated Vacation Reply. I went to turn it off but the option had been disabled.

    Unfortunately, my contacts still get this when e-mailing me. Is there a way for me to prevent my contacts from receiving this?



  • I just love Hotmail and Live Mail as well. What I do is, I select all the junk mails, and mark them as phishing scam. :D :D :D


  • barts2108
    65 Posts

    While you are working on this hotmail, can you remove the redirection to msn websites after signing off ? I would like to return to the hotmail login page again after signing of to easily login for my second account.

    Now after sign out I get redirected to some weird dutch version of msn. and YES I am in holland, but NO I cannot read dutch. May I decide for myself what language I want to see a page or are you "Microsoft" deciding for me what language is the best 'experience' for me ?

  • Deioneus
    12 Posts

    I have an idea on how you could re-enable this feature while throwing a bit of a monkey wrench in spammers plans.

    Basically, you could add a basic captcha form or verification form to the automatic vacation reply system as part of its initial configuration, so that when the user sets the feature up they must either enter an alphanumerical phrase to prevent machines from being able to abuse the system, or have the user verify a piece of account information such as the answer to their secret question.

    Just my 2 cents. Keep up the great work on Hotmail.

  • Hotmail is already terrible, crappy and horrific enough without you removing features.

    When you make a new version of hotmail PLEASE make it work better with other browsers.

    Oh and I need this to tell people Ive changed to Yahoo!