Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

If it is still possible to switch back to Hotmail... it won't be available for long. If you really hate it, you might want to consider changing programs.

How can I switch back to my old Hotmail; I hate

In this excerpt from Answercast #101 I look at ways to get away from the new interface if you really dislike it.

Switch back to Hotmail

Well, so, if you take a look at the article I wrote when first made its appearance, "Is Microsoft shutting down Hotmail?" the answer I gave there was that - for awhile at least, you should be able to revert to the Hotmail user interface with an option that should be present on the Settings menu. It's actually at the top level of the Settings menu the last time I looked.

Here's the problem: I don't expect that setting to be there forever. In fact, I expect it to go away if it hasn't gone away already.

Microsoft switches to

What does that mean? What that means is that the user interface is your only choice. At least if you're using Hotmail.

So, if the option to revert to the Hotmail user interface, to the old user interface is not present, I do not know of a way to go back to it. This is consistent with the way Microsoft has treated Hotmail over the years.

They do, periodically, make user interface changes to Hotmail web interface. None have been quite as dramatic as the Hotmail to change but nonetheless, there have been prior changes. In each case, while the old and the new were allowed to overlap for awhile, eventually the new user interface became the only user interface.

Hotmail will go away

And that's my expectation for I strongly believe that Hotmail is moving to the user interface.

Now, if you don't like it; if you actually hate that user interface, I'm aware of two solutions.

Switch to desktop email

One, is to switch to a desktop email program like Outlook (not, but Outlook the program) that comes with Microsoft Office - or Thunderbird or any of a number of other desktop email programs.

These are programs you run on your PC and you configure them to download your Hotmail to your PC. That allows you to then read your emails, send email, do whatever you want on your PC.

Switch email services

The other alternative - if that's not what you want to do; if you want to go with a strictly web-based user interface - is to switch to a different service: Gmail, Yahoo, whatever.

In fact, if you want to keep your Hotmail account, it's very possible that you could configure Gmail to pick up your Hotmail mail much like you would a desktop email client through what's called POP3.

You may also be able to configure Gmail to send as if it were coming from Hotmail. That functionality is there as well. I don't know if Yahoo has that functionality but those are the alternatives.

So. Basically it boils down to:

  • Use a desktop email program;

  • Use a different web-based email program;

  • Or live with the new user interface.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Next from Answercast 101- Which laptop is best?

Article C6380 - April 5, 2013 « »

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.

Not what you needed?

April 9, 2013 9:18 AM

Hotmail just switched to outlook, and I don't think it can be changed back at this time, this is IT. I don't like it, but then I don't like the format of the "new" emails, like gmail, new Yahoo.etc. Just wanted to say, when Yahoo switched to the new format (no more choice)I read online (all the people who hated it) how to get the old format back! This is with Yahoo, and not sure if it still works. And I tried it with the new hotmail and it DIDN'T work. But just FYI... set your screen resolution to the lowest it will go (it will look terrible) Sign in to your Yahoo email acct. It says your screen resolution is too low for the new format and do you want to switch back to the old? YES!!!!! you do. Switch back, change your screen resolution back to higher again, and there you go. That said, I used to use Yahoo email to send texts to my family's phones (via email) and they stopped letting people do this. Which was why I set up hotmail, which does this, and was simple and easy to use. Now it's the new format, and still allows emailing to text, but is more confusing and complicated. What is it with stuff wanting to make it "new and better?" there's an old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

April 9, 2013 9:42 AM

I hate the new RHS column that obscures a large portion of my emails subject details.
Is there away to close it?

April 9, 2013 10:41 AM

Answer to grump3....I looked into it for the same reason and all I could find was that you had to upgrade to the Premium Outlook (for a fee of course) to eliminate the convenient and profitable for Outlook....

April 9, 2013 10:53 AM

The option to change back doesn't appear to be there anymore.
They all change from time to time and there has been a lot of noise on Gmail over the past two weeks over their change.

April 9, 2013 10:58 AM

@grump, @dragonfly,
What RHS column are you talking about??
I have the regular free version and don't have any such problem.

Chuck U
April 9, 2013 11:15 AM

Didn't notice a whole lot of difference but to people who are not very computer literate(my wife), anything that looks different is traumatic.

And don't think other services don't do the same thing. I just went on to a Google account I support for an organization and the composing option has changed. I sure didn't see any warning . . it just happened. Such is life!

April 9, 2013 3:48 PM

Leo, I know you like Gmail and recommend it, but I cannot recommend Gmail for one very good reason: to sign up for Gmail, one needs a cell phone (or at least one did last time I checked). I don't have one, and have no need for one. They shouldn't be eliminating a portion of their user base over a cell phone.

I'm not aware that a cell phone is a requirement. There are security options that involve a cell phone, and if you have a cell phone I suggest you use them, but they are just that: options.

April 9, 2013 5:28 PM

@James...You shouldn't need to have a cellphone and there should be a place to click and skip that.

From time to time when I login to my Google account (and I do not have Gmail) I am asked for my cell number (if I had one I couldn't afford DSL!) and I click on the Skip this option.

They are asking for the number in case your account is hacked but I doubt that really helps all that much and they do have secret questions, why that wouldn't suffice is beyond me.

April 9, 2013 5:58 PM


Nope. I'm logged into my Google account. I just went to Gmail and they suggested I add a Gmail account. So I went ahead to do that. But they still want my phone number to send me a text message because they think I might be a bot.

Doesn't make any sense. I'm already an existing Google user. I have a Google account. Why do they need to send a code by phone? There don't have to. There are other methods of verifying I'm not a bot besides using a phone.

April 9, 2013 6:38 PM

@Tony and others for some added experiences:

I have noticed that after a few days of ignoring the ads the right hand side (RHS) column have become all Microsoft links. I'm not certain as to whether it gave up on me or so many people complained that Microsoft gave up on ads.

Since you could never really get rid of the column in Hotmail there really isn't anything much different in this instance. I would prefer that the reply feature the recipient's information at the top to leave a larger composition window and that some basic features would have been left where they were instead of tucked away in menus and other non-intuitive cues.

April 9, 2013 6:44 PM

Back to James:

I don't have a Gmail account. I limit my usage of Google to search and You Tube. If you cannot find a Gmail help page you might beed to find a similar help page in Google Groups. These are generally peer-answered, which may or may not be useful but hopefully you will encounter other users with a similar experience.

David aka Taffy
April 9, 2013 11:58 PM

great article - very helpful for thoses of us having to switch our email 'provider'. I'm trying Gmail (no Alan - you don't need a cellphone, well not here in the UK). I certainly wouldn't think of using Yahoo until they resolve the (alleged!!!!) recent hacking of their server which resulted in customers having their ID and passwords stolen. More here:

Gary T
April 10, 2013 9:00 AM

My beef with MS is the change from Messenger to Skype. You no longer get desktop notifications when you receive new emails. I haven't found any desktop mail programs that will give you those notifications either as a replacement ( at least none that are simple to use ). Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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