Switching to Hotmail

Switching to Hotmail

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What email service should you use? How should you pick? Obviously, we’d love people to pick Hotmail. But, in the end, you should choose the service that works best for you. One thing is for sure – you should be able to choose.

Hotmail logo

At Hotmail, we believe that your email belongs to you, not to the company that runs your service, and it should be easy to try out a new service and switch if that service works better for you. That’s why we make it easy to upgrade to Hotmail from your old service, and easy to access all the data that belongs to you with powerful, easy-to-use features like mail forwarding and free POP access.

We’re committed to making Hotmail the world’s best email service. We’ve come a long way in the past few years, and Hotmail is better than it has ever been. In fact, Hotmail recently won the PCMag.com Editor’s Choice award, and our innovative work on Active Views is letting partners like Netflix, LinkedIn, Posterous, and others blaze a trail of new ways to get more done in your inbox.

Hotmail has also been innovating with great features for organizing your inbox, like filters, quick views, and Sweep, and better ways to keep in touch with the people you care about most, like Messenger chat in your inbox – it even lets you chat with your Facebook buddies.

We’ve made switching easy

There are two big reasons that keep people from switching email services: having to learn a new interface, and changing email identities, so we set out to take the hassle out of both of these.

Hotmail puts you in control. Check out all the ways you can customize how you use Hotmail:

  • Reading pane – you can turn on the reading pane and put it on the right or at the bottom of your inbox. You can even turn it off to see as many messages as possible.
  • Conversation threading – some people love it, some don’t. You get to choose. See all your conversations rolled up into a single thread, or see them as individual messages. You can also sort your inbox by date, from, or subject.
  • Filters, quick views, folderssome people are pilers, some are filers. Hotmail works the way you do: file all your messages away, or leave everything in the inbox and use powerful search, filters, and quick views to find what you’re looking for fast.
  • Keyboard shortcuts – if you use ‘em, you love ‘em. Why learn new ones? Hotmail lets you choose either Outlook or Gmail shortcuts.

With Hotmail, you don’t even need to change your identity. You can try out Hotmail or switch and you don’t even have to give up your old email address.

  • Mail aggregation lets you get email in Hotmail from any ISP or mail service that supports POP3. You don’t even need a Hotmail address to get started – just use your own email address.
  • Aliases let you choose the email address you want without having to give up your old address or any of your email data.
  • Universal address book lets you connect services like LinkedIn or Facebook to your Hotmail contact list. You can also import your contacts from any email service right into Hotmail, so you get all your contacts in one place.

And of course, Hotmail is available wherever you are:

  • Your PC – Use our web interface at http://hotmail.com, or use Microsoft Outlook, or our powerful (and free) Windows Live Mail client.
  • Your phone – You can sync your mail, calendar and contacts using Exchange ActiveSync to your iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone. And any phone with a browser can get to Hotmail’s mobile web interface.
  • Your iPad – Yep, you can even get Hotmail on your iPad via the website (hotmail.com) or by setting up Hotmail in the iPad’s Mail app using Exchange ActiveSync.

When you’re ready to switch, Hotmail makes it easy with TrueSwitch.  You can bring over all your email, folders, and contacts from another service and start using Hotmail full time. Brandon LeBlanc has a post over on the Windows Experience blog that walks you through exactly what you'll encounter if you decide to use TrueSwitch.

We believe that your data is yours – not ours. So features like free POP access and mail forwarding let you get your email wherever you want it. Not all services treat your data the same way. That’s why we created http://switchtoHotmail.com, where you can learn all about how to try out and switch to Hotmail’s award-winning service.

Dick Craddock
Group Program Manager, Hotmail

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  • controlz
    145 Posts

    Help! It doesn't work if you have an @ymail.com or an @rocketmail.com address. How do you get it to work??

  • I've migrated just about everything into hotmail and it's been relatively simple and straight forward. There are some refinements that need to made but overall it's been a pretty easy going experience.

    I'd really like to see SSL support for Outlook Connector--that was a big let down when I tried to use it with HTTPS turned on.

    Also, when you remove a "send as" e-mail address, it should be removed, and not linger indefinitely in your "from:" addresses when composing a new e-mail.

    Lastly,  I appreciate that there is some (albeit slow and at-times unresponsive) measure of support for Hotmail users on its windowslivehelp.com site. I still have my Gmail account but Google offers nothing like that in-kind for free users.

  • Hi all, note that you should now be able to use any www.trueswitch.com/hotmail with any Hotmail account from any country domain (i.e hotmail.co.uk) .

    For the UK specific question by controlz you could use www.trueswitch.com/hotmail-uk, but there shouldn't be a need for that now. Let us know if you have any issues!

    Thanks, David

  • @Ronald - thanks for the great suggestion (using an ISP's SMTP servers for sending from that account). Definitely something we'll be looking into. [Insert normal apology for not being able to talk about future releases. :)]

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    My Hotmail address is @live.co.uk Using TrueSwitch, you have to have an @hotmail.com or live.com email.

  • Ronald
    22 Posts

    @Dick Craddock

    Does the Hotmail team have plans to enable sending emails from another account (e.g. x@isp.com) through that accounts smtp server.

    I know it is already possible to send emails from another account in Hotmail, but in some email clients (e.g. Outlook) the recipient sees something like x@hotmail.com On behalf of x@isp.com. Which is sometimes confusing for the recipient and it doesn't look professional.

    It would make Hotmail much more useable for me as central email hub if i would be able to send emails from within  Hotmail through the smtp server accompanying the particular email account.

  • @mainensign – good question. We are working to support SSL on our mail clients – Outlook (through the Outlook Connector) and Windows Live Mail. We’re working through some details, and so we’re not quite ready to share dates. Stay tuned.

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    Why on earth are Windiws Live Profile notes shutting down? WHY???

  • mikebz
    2 Posts

    without IMAP, hotmail is not a serious competitor.  I can't believe we still have to ask for it.  

    I think MS should stop playing it safe and add IMAP, iCal sync and other things that make the offer *really* open.

  • Alfi
    5 Posts

    And some other wishes (about live mail) :)

    1. add search lithing when user search mails by keywords

    2. improve scrolling excel and word-docs by mouse wheel

  • Alfi
    5 Posts

    Good, but there is a one problem.

    I`v specially sreens it.


  • I switched to Hotmail permanently a year or two ago and I'm pleased. It has conversation threads and free POP. No need for Yahoo anymore.

    On a weird note, I couldn't see the PowerPoint web app until I signed into this blog. Weird.

  • @Dick Craddock

    Why can't you make clear your plans regarding mail client security?  Are you going to add secure DeltaSync or secure IMAP?  I am not looking to argue with you if you have no such plans, but I (and others, I would guess) have to make a decision, to wait some reasonable amount of time or switch to an email provider with adequate security and privacy, so we need to know.

  • @danielgr -- Thanks for the info.  As someone who never really uses IE I didn't know about the ad blockers.  I'll look into them.  (Maybe IE has some good mouse gestures, too, since I can't live with out the very customizable FireGestures for FF !)

    @Guillaume -- Point taken !  :-)

  • I had hotmail as my first ever email address. But I did not know what happened to it. It had so many spam mails. I then switched to Yahoo. But it's still giving me the dreaded spams and i think even hacked. So now I'm using gmail. But reading this blog, I think I'd try hotmail again. But any other plus points as compared to gmail where you can have gmail docs, and other apps?


  • Ronald
    22 Posts

    Microsoft should stop promoting Hotmail against others.

    Only when add the following basic functions, they can start promoting again:

    1. As mainensign said: full session SSL for Outlook Connector / WLM users

    2. IMAP (including idle) support or EAS support in Outlook or extending Outlook Connector to enable push mail

    3. Enable dragging and dropping attachments when composing a new email (as gmail does)

  • @MondayBlues : i'm on Chrome and FF. But I should not have to be using those extensions to block ads. This is not a solution to make a product better

    @Thomas Shields : yeh compteition is good of course. But a truly original product does not need comparative advert. For instance Google Search grew out of nowhere and gradually impose itself in its area of expertise. Just like the Android OS...

  • Not really common or exactly related, but I'd switch to Hotmail in a heartbeat if it MS had a replacement for Google Reader. Although I could still use Hotmail for mail or go with a different RSS feed client, the convience of having it accessible right from Gmail is what's keeping me from switching.

  • adriann
    3 Posts

    Thanks for adding the number of unread emails over the pinned Hotmail icon.  I've found it to be a bit temperamental though.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  From my testing, it seems to work only when the inbox is displayed.  If I send a message and accidentally leave it on the "Message successfully sent" screen, the icon doesn't update.

  • danielgr
    73 Posts

    @MondayBlues There have been ad-blockers for IE for years... people don't using them is because either don't want them or don't know them. You can try IE7pro (works on IE8 and IE9 as well) or Simple AdBlock to name a couple I've used in the past. But you can also google/bing IE9 adblock and get others.

  • danielgr
    73 Posts

    @JohnCz Actually, I don't find Hotmail Plus so difficult to find; it's enough for you to close a couple of adds and you'll get a pop-up window informing you about it.

    Besides, as others said all modern browsers have some kind of add/ni plug/in able to remove adverts if they really bother; though personally I enjoy most "free services" on the net (including newspapers) which rely on advertisement so I don't use them. If everyone would we would need to start paying for anything we do/get on the net and I rather have adverts I don't care around.

  • danielgr
    73 Posts

    I've been a hotmail user nearly since the service went online; love the improvements made over the past years.

    One of my favorites is the recent "alias" addition, yet I have two problems with it:

    1) Since past month I can't choose to write a new e-mail from alias addresses

    2) Still not working with Windows Live Mail 2011 / Outlook 2010 for sending e-mails.

    The last point kind of defeats the whole purpose of alias for desktop users, since you can receive e-mails to your alias, but when you reply them you unveil your main e-mail address. Not to mention the fact that it's bothersome to have to log-in to hotmail in order to send your e-mail (if it worked properly).

    Hope PC-software integration is coming soon ...

  • I take it most of you concerned about the ads are IE users.  ;-)  With FF's extension Webmail Ad Blocker there are no ads and the message list, messages and compose screen all extend to the right margin.  Nice.  :-)

  • Hemingray
    85 Posts

    The email service that works for me: The one my ISP provides for me to use...

    No frills, No special features, just email. Beautiful, straight, spam-free email

  • Where is full session SSL for DeltaSync clients (WLM)?  Both Yahoo Mail and GMail have secure IMAP.  All the features mentioned mean nothing when you don't have basic security and privacy.  Hotmail needs secure IMAP or secure DeltaSync.  I am thinking about switching alright.

  • JohnCz
    204 Posts

    @Thomas Shields, anyone get rid of ads by signing up to Windows Live Plus for $19.95/yr.  Unfortunately it is buried and not easily discovered by new or existing customers.  Here is the link...


  • @Dick Craddock:  the problem is (and i mentioned this 8 months ago when it came out), Exchange ActiveSync doesn't work well when you Alias another email account, and connect it to your Windows phone -- there is a 15 to 45 minute delay between when someone sends you an email and when you actually receive it -- I'm testing Office365's "connected account" and so far it seems to be just as slow or slower, still testing....

  • @Guillaume Belfiore  Competition is something every big software company has to do. That's what makes them better.  Microsoft, Google, and Apple all wouldn't be where they were if they didnt' have each other for competition.  Plus, if they're trying to advertise to get new people to use Hotmail, chances are those people use Yahoo! or Gmail anyways - why not explain why Hotmail is better?  I do agree about ads. I think they need to GO! Right now, i use WLM for desktop so it doesn't bother me much, but still.

  • @Dick Craddock:  D'oh !  I never noticed that all this time !  Thanks for the information !  :-)

  • @MondayBlues - You can edit the HTML source directly in the compose window. Just go to the command bar (above the "To:" line), and select the drop-down that says "Rich text" and change it to "Edit in HTML." Other suggestions are good ones - we'll consider these - thanks!

  • @CalumCookable - for the record, I have a Windows Phone and I love it! LOVE IT!

  • So basically last year the new Hotmail was promotoed against Gmail and now the new site is a direct attack to Yahoo Mail.

    To be honest I think this is really sad that you cannot shine by yourself and feel obliged to compare yourself to the real winners of the game. Comparative adverts does not make you a leader.

    Though the new features of Hotmail are actually interesting you will forever fail to understand that users simply dont want ads and are not likely to pay for Hotmail Plus.

    I think you guys should follow AOL. For their Phoenix project they simply return contextual links to articles published on their various websites. This is a smart way to drive traffic to their own portal without returning ugly graphic banners.

    Why should I bother with Hotmail when I get those features in Gmail without obtrusive adverts ?

  • Re: the customizing of Hotmail, two items (which, granted, are not most people's idea of high-priority features, but which, I think, would be nice additions and probably relatively easy to implement) are:

    1.  More font style choices.  Either that, or include an "HTML Source" component to the compose toolbar (like CKEditor has) to allow for more flexibility.  E.g. I like the Segoe font which Hotmail uses for some of its display but which, for whatever reason, is NOT an option for email composition.  A 'source' feature to the editor would allow customization in email composition.

    2.  I like the suggestion made by a user a few months ago of having a "Bing" theme, where the Bing pic of the day is adapted for the Hotmail web interface theme.  :-)

  • Why does the whole of Microsoft seemingly have an agenda against Windows Phone? It's not just that the Bing app for iPhone and iPad is better than the one for Windows Phone, it's little things like this:

    "You can sync your mail, calendar and contacts using Exchange ActiveSync to your iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone"

    Why is Windows Phone last in that list? Why are the products of Microsoft's two biggest competitors listed first? Windows Phone is a great, but immature and underexposed, product; it should be given every chance and resource to succeed. Instead I, and I think many other early customers, feel completely abandoned.