Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Windows Live Hotmail now includes the ability to automatically forward all messages received to another account. I'll show you how.
I'm changing email accounts, but I don't want to lose people who have my Hotmail address. How do I automatically forward all my incoming Windows Live Hotmail messages to my new account?
Not long ago Microsoft added to Windows Live Hotmail a couple of frequently requested features.
The ability to forward your email to another address was one of them.
However it appears that there are certain restrictions in effect by default. I'll look at what readers have told me they might be, and how to get past them.
To automatically forward all of your incoming Windows Live Hotmail messages, login to your account and then click on Options in the upper right:
And then at the bottom of the resulting list, click on More options...:
Click on the link labeled Forward mail to another e-mail account:
That will take you to the following page:
Make sure that Forward your email to another e-mail address is selected, and type the email address you want your Windows Live Hotmail messages to be forwarded to. If you like, click on Keep a copy of forwarded messages in your Windows Live Hotmail inbox. if you want the messages to remain in your Hotmail account.
Click on Save.
IMPORTANT: Windows Live Hotmail will send a confirmation message to the email address you specify. You must read and act on that message before forwarding will happen. This ensures that you do have access to the account, or at least that the recipient of that account does indeed want to receive all the messages.
Once you've done so, all your Windows Live Hotmail messages will be forwarded to that address until you turn it off or until your Hotmail account is closed.
That last is an important point: if your Hotmail account is closed, then message forwarding will stop. You should definitely log into your Windows Live account periodically to make sure that it remains open.
If you see this:
You're only able to forward mail to a custom domain or an e-mail address that ends in hotmail.com, msn.com, or live.com. Please try again.
when you attempt to forward to an email address that is not on one of the listed domains, then you apparently need to take an additional step.
You need to associate a mobile phone number with your account.
Revisit Options, More options, and then click on View and edit your personal information at the top of the list. Therein you will find an option to associate a mobile number with your account:
My thanks to reader RangerX who shared this technique in the comments to the original version of this article.
Reader Scott also reports: "you need to make sure that at the last screen of the SMS wizard, you have check the box to receive Hotmail alerts and Save, or the referenced forwarding option is not available. You will only actually receive SMS alerts if you go a step further and tell Hotmail what alerts you want to receive..."
That's a fair question.
My belief is that this is an attempt to force scammers and spammers and others to associate some kind of information that would actually identify them with the account. If someone completely anonymous could cause their hotmail address to be auto-forwarded to some other email address the potential for misuse and abuse skyrockets.
With that assumption in mind it's possible (though I've not confirmed it) that including other verifiable information with your account such as a credit card might also lift the forwarding destination restriction.
(This is an update to an article originally published October 3, 2007.)