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Outlook Express access to Hotmail is being phased out, as is Outlook Express itself. We'll look at alternatives.

I am an avid Outlook Express user. I love it. I really like the IMAP feature of accessing Hotmail from various computers, plus it grabs my POP accounts quickly and easily. Recently, I got the message below from Microsoft.

"As a valued customer, we want to provide advanced notice that as of June 30, 2008, Microsoft is disabling the DAV protocol and you will no longer be able to access your Hotmail Inbox via Outlook Express. As an alternative, we recommend that you download Windows Live Mail, a free desktop e-mail client that has the familiarity of Outlook Express and much more. This next generation of free e-mail software will allow you to easily manage multiple e-mail accounts, including Windows Live Hotmail, plus other e-mail accounts that support POP3/IMAP. Better yet, Windows Live Mail integrates well with other Windows Live services, and downloads in minutes. After you provide your user name and password, you will automatically be linked to your Hotmail account, providing continued access to your email and contacts."

I tried their "Live Mail", but it's horribly slow and nowhere as easy to use as OE. Please help!

This has actually been happening slowly over the past couple of years. Microsoft is phasing out not only Hotmail access in Outlook Express, but they're phasing out Outlook Express itself.

In other words, the news is not good for all those folks who want to keep using Outlook Express to manage their Hotmail.

Let's look at your alternatives.

Web Interface: Hotmail is, and always has been a web based email service first. That's its original claim to fame, even before Microsoft purchased it. Aside from service problems it's the web interface that will likely always be Hotmail's #1 priority.

When you think about it, it sort of makes sense. Hotmail is free, but the service costs a tremendous amount of money to run, so how does that all get paid for? Advertising. Advertising you only see when you use the web interface. Anything else Hotmail elects to support, or not support, is totally up to them, and it's unlikely that they're going to make major efforts to support scenarios that don't allow the service to pay for itself.

"Microsoft is phasing out not only Hotmail access in Outlook Express, but they're phasing out Outlook Express itself."

Windows Live Mail: I know you don't like it, but you might want to consider getting used to it anyway. You won't find Outlook Express in Windows Vista, for example and many people complain that Windows Mail, while similar, isn't quite similar enough. You can download Windows Live Mail now, and know that it, or subsequent versions of it, will continue to work, and run on Vista as well.

Now, in light of the advertising argument I made above, you might ask doesn't this also circumvent their ability to display ads? Yes, it apparently does. But they seem to be willing to make that tradeoff in order to get you to use their product, Windows Live Mail.

Microsoft Office Outlook: The only other supported approach to accessing our Hotmail using a desktop mail program is to download and install the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector which then adds support for accessing Hotmail through Microsoft Outlook.

Unofficial Alternatives for Thunderbird: If you switch to using Thunderbird as your desktop email client, there is a Webmail extension that adds support for Hotmail, as well as other web-based email services, directly to Thunderbird. Thunderbird is a good email client - I use it myself - but it does mean switching from Outlook Express.

The other important point here is that this approach is not officially sanctioned or supported by Microsoft. Each time they make a change to Hotmail's communications protocols, the developers of the Webmail extension must reverse engineer it and provide an update.

Other Unofficial Alternatives: There are several, including applications that provide "POP3" access to Hotmail. There are three types of solutions.

The first uses software that runs on your desktop that "converts" your email programs POP3 (and SMTP) requests into Hotmail's private protocol, much like Thunderbird's Webmail extension. And much like that extension, if something changes then the service is broken until it's updated.

The second does the same, but rather than run software on your machine, the software runs on the provider's server. The downside, of course, is that they can see your Hotmail login information and all of your messages.

The third solution involves forwarding services. You give these services your Hotmail account information and they automatically forward your mail to a different email account you specify. The problem? You give them your Hotmail account information.

(Hotmail does allow you to forward your email to another account natively, but I'm hearing that it doesn't work for everyone. You might look into that, though, as an official solution if forwarding would be acceptable.)

Ultimately, I have not found any of these other unofficial alternatives that I would recommend, or even suggest trying. They're simply too risky, and in some cases, too fragile and prone to having issues.

Quit Using Hotmail: Naturally, with all the limitations placed on you by Hotmail, along with all of the problem reports I continue to get, leaving Hotmail and moving to an email provider that actually supports what you want is also worth some serious consideration.

My suggestions? In order of preference:

  1. Leave Hotmail for a service that does what you want. (GMail is a good alternative in the free email space.)

  2. Learn to live with Windows Live Mail for an official solution.

  3. Switch to Thunderbird using the Webmail extension for an unofficial solution.

I know that none of these are exactly what you want, but exactly what you want doesn't seem to be in the cards.

Article C3497 - September 10, 2008 « »

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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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16 Comments
Jason
September 11, 2008 12:07 AM

I would push people reading this article towards alternative number 3. I have had more computer service jobs from people using outlook getting a hazardous email from one of their trusted friends, opening it, infecting their computer, infecting everyone else on their contacts list. Outlook Express has been outdone, outclassed, and outprotected by many other competitors programs for several years now. Thunderbird is a good, very easy(compared to outlook) program to use. It's IExplorer alternative, Firefox is also an alternative I'd recommend to any novice-intermediate computer user.

Ziggie
September 11, 2008 6:11 AM

Another alternative that is similar to #1: for a low fee register a domain with mail services and have your own email address. So long as it supports POP3/IMAP, you can use whatever email program you want to look at your mail.

novice
September 11, 2008 10:33 AM

I have used Office Outlook 2007 and Thunderbird 2 for the last 3 months to download my webmail. While Thunderbird is faster and more stable, Outlook is more powerful and convenient. For example, a simple thing such as making the "Sent" folder to always display only recipients AND "Inbox" to always display only senders was not possible in Thunderbird. It does not allow folder-specific view settings. In Outlook we can have folder-wise customized view.

Dave, Middletown, RI
September 16, 2008 7:28 AM

Haha, that email (at the beginning of this article) is a question that I had sent to Leo a while back. I will say that, since sending that message to Leo, I have been using "Windows Live Mail" and I now love it. I am paying the $20 per year subscription, so that may help. Anyway, Windows Live Mail is now the way to go in my opinion.

Fairycake
September 16, 2008 10:48 AM

I have always used Incredimail, its free, easy to use and has everything of outlook and more.Plus you can add as many email accounts as you want to it and they all come through to the same place!

David
September 16, 2008 1:03 PM

I have been using Thunderbird with the WebMail add-on for a while, configured to use Hotmail and Yahoo and it works well. I would suggest a switch from O. E.

Mac McQuade
September 16, 2008 5:00 PM

I, like 'Fairycake', use Incredimail and many of my contacts now use it for it's great animations etc. Everyone should use it

Rocco
September 16, 2008 11:37 PM

Incredimail can get into my Hotmail account!

H.E.Tyrell
September 17, 2008 3:13 AM

Incredimail has been my saving many times over it receives Hotmail with no trouble at all . a great ISP have used it now for four years and never any trouble .

Dale
September 17, 2008 6:33 AM


9-17-08

On June 17, 2008, I received the below email
in my hotmail account from Microsoft. I am
still able to access my hotmail account through
OE6 without a fee.

Dear Microsoft Outlook Express customer,

You may have received an e-mail from us letting you know that Microsoft is planning to retire the DAV protocol that Outlook Express uses to access Windows Live Hotmail. In response to customer feedback requesting more time to evaluate alternative solutions, we have decided to postpone retiring DAV and we are investigating other alternatives for accessing Windows Live Hotmail via Outlook Express. This means that if you use Outlook Express to access your Windows Live Hotmail account, you will continue to be able to do so beyond the previously announced June 30 transition deadline. We will be sure to update you once we have additional plans to share and early enough in advance to help ensure a smooth transition in the future.

Additionally, Outlook Express customers that use Windows Vista or Windows XP are always welcome to download and use our next generation free email client, Windows Live Mail, providing the familiarity of Outlook Express and much more. You can download the new client at http://get.live.com/wlmail/overview.

We appreciate your feedback, and encourage you to continue to provide it.

Sincerely,

Windows Live Mail Team


Microsoft respects your privacy. To learn more, please read our online Privacy Statement.
Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052

Amin Gilani
September 21, 2008 9:58 AM

There is a better way to deal with this. I do this for most of my mail, i have about 7 free Hotmail email accounts (yes, i said SEVEN) but i USUALLY only access my email through a desktop client.
.
Thing is, if you click that button on the upper right corner of your Hotmail's web interface, it'll take you to a page that includes the option to FORWARD your email. =)
.
So if you already have a hotmail email address and want to access it on your desktop, signup for an email provider that does let you log in through your desktop and forward your email from the hotmail account to your new one! =D
.
it's also a pretty good way to forward your email from free accounts to your payed email accounts (free being used to subscribe for crap you don't need) =P

I Rock,
Amin Gilani =D

Gerrie Harman
April 24, 2009 6:58 AM

I have downloaded IE8 but find it not nearly as good as IE6 because Outlook Express is so much better so I am still using outlook rather than hotmail because it is so much better.
How have you goofed up the best mail system there has ever been by leaving Outlook Express.
I am giving up the computer when my account closes in July because of this

[email address removed]

Zeta
September 3, 2009 10:28 PM

I think this is outdated. You can now (now is Sept 2009) set-up Outlook Express to work with hotmail.
Here: http://windowslivehelp.com/solutions/settings/archive/2009/02/18/how-to-add-your-e-mail-account-to-microsoft-outlook-express.aspx

The question is disadvantages/advantages of this VS switch to Windows Live Mail alternative.

Kris
September 11, 2009 11:42 PM

I have used hotmail for years, but i love using Outlook, it's so much easier! I found a web based email provider that retrieves your hotmail emails for you and also provides you with the settings to use in outlook. www.gmx.com provides you with all the information, i've had no problems with it at all.

AMBA
March 9, 2010 8:45 PM

I want to use http hotmail account in outlook but server has rejected our username and password but in window live hotmail by explorer our username and password has corrected pls help what to do.

Andy Mcdonnel
May 31, 2012 12:40 PM

This works perfectly !

http://email.about.com/od/outlookexpressfreemail/qt/Access_a_Windows_Live_Hotmail_Account_with_Outlook_Express.htm

Select Tools | Accounts... from the menu in Outlook Express.
Click Add | Mail....
Type your name under Display name:.
Click Next >.
Enter your Windows Live Hotmail address under E-mail address:.
Click Next >.
Make sure POP3 is selected under My incoming mail server is a __ server..
Type "pop3.live.com" under Incoming mail (POP3, IMAP or HTTP) server:.
Enter "smtp.live.com" under Outgoing mail (SMTP) server:.
Click Next >.
Type your complete Windows Live Hotmail address (e.g. "example@hotmail.com") under Account name:.
Enter your Windows Live Hotmail password under Password:.
Click Next >.
Click Finish.
Highlight the newly created Hotmail account.
Click Properties.
Go to the Servers tab.
Make sure My server requires authentication is checked under Outgoing Mail Server.
Go to the Advanced tab.
Make sure This server requires a secure connection (SSL) is checked under both Outgoing mail (SMTP): and Incoming mail (POP3):.
Make sure "25" is entered under Outgoing server (SMTP):.
Make sure "995" appears under Incoming server (POP3):.
Click OK.
Click Close.

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