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Outlook (from Microsoft Office) and Outlook.com (the new look of Hotmail) are two different things. It's not surprising that you are confused!

I've been using the stand-alone version of Outlook 2010 purchased but not included in any Office suite. Should I download the Outlook.com and hope that it will integrate with my Outlook 2010? Or should I wait?

In this excerpt from Answercast #44, I look at the confusion around Outlook (the program) and Outlook.com (the website).

Outlook vs. Outlook.com

Neither. But your question actually reflects a misunderstanding, or a misconception, about what Outlook.com is.

In all honesty, it's not your fault; it really isn't. Microsoft (in my opinion), Microsoft made a huge mistake in the way that they continue to choose confusing names for many of their products.

  • Outlook.com is not something that you download.

  • It's a website.

Think of Outlook.com a lot more like Hotmail.com. The things that you would do with Hotmail.com are the things that you would do with Outlook.com.

Outlook and Outlook.com are different

It's actually technically not related in any way to the Outlook 2010 program that is part of Microsoft Office. It's confusing; I get that.

It gets more confusing because in reality, eventually, I believe that people who use Hotmail are going to end up needing to use, or being forced to use, the new Outlook.com user interface. If you take a look at it, it's very "metro-like" (to use Microsoft's former term for the look of Windows 8 applications.)

So that's what I think is going on there.

Outlook.com is not a program

  • It's not something you download.

In all honesty, my recommendation right now (if you're least bit confused) is ignore Outlook.com completely:

  • There's absolutely no reason to get involved with it.

  • There's no reason to go to it,

  • Or look at it unless you've got a clear understanding of what it is you want to do with it.

It's something that, probably, is best left alone for now – until Microsoft's own direction and own future direction for things like Hotmail become clearer.

Article C5699 - August 15, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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3 Comments
bedlamb
August 17, 2012 9:02 AM

Thanx for explaining this as well as I've seen.

I'd add that, as long as someone understands the difference between the Outlook 2010 program, and outlook . com website, I'd suggest taking a look at outlook . com.
It's the best UI (user interface) I've ever seen for web based email. And I'm a heavily biased gmail user.

Lester
August 17, 2012 9:11 AM

I'm a gmail user and have been for a long time. But I like what I see of outlook.com. So just in case, I've gotten my preferred email address on outlook.com while it's still available. Since my personal gmail login conflicts with my work google drive login, I forward my gmail account to my outlook account so that i can quickly check my personal email. I also connected to my gmail contacts. This way i'm using both accounts enough that i don't get kicked out of either of them.

Mark
August 20, 2012 12:18 AM

Some non-technical users still call their mail clients "Outlook Express" so this latest name change (Hotmail>Live>Outlook.com) is just another confusion. Microsoft has lost its way since Bill left.

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