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Windows Live Hotmail's auto-complete feature selects from every address you've corresponded with by default. I'll show you how to restrict it some.

How do I get Hotmail Live to stop auto completing a sent to name when I type in just the first letter and NEVER added that name to my contacts?

I don't use Hotmail that often, but in researching this a little I can see that it could get pretty annoying pretty fast. Especially if you correspond with a lot of people who aren't in your address book.

Fortunately, there's a setting for that.

We can't turn it off, but we can turn it down a notch.

Hotmail Privacy Settings

It's (currently) in a not very obvious place: in your Privacy Settings. (I say currently because Hotmail does like to change things.)

Login to Hotmail and click on the Options menu:

Windows Live Hotmail Options menu

Then click on the More Options... item:

Windows Live Hotmail Options More Options

Underneath "Customizing Hotmail" click on Advanced privacy settings:

Windows Live Hotmail Advanced privacy settings link

On the resulting page is a section labeled "Auto-complete suggestions":

Windows Live Hotmail auto-complete suggestions

Here you have two choices:

  • Give suggestions for anyone I've communicated with (contacts and non-contacts)

  • Only suggest people in my contact list

Unfortunately "don't make suggestions" is not currently an option.

To turn down the noise, make sure that "Only select people in my contact list" is selected.

Click on Save, and you're done.

Article C4681 - December 16, 2010 « »

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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.

Not what you needed?

Kyler Windows Outreach Team
December 17, 2010 5:30 PM

Another great article! This is an excellent resource for Windows Live users. This feature can be a huge help, but both Internet Explorer users and Windows Live users can have trouble disabling it. This guide makes it easy!

Keep up the great work.

Windows Outreach

December 21, 2010 8:51 AM

I don't use hot mail but don't the suggestions start narrowing themselves down as you type more letters?
If so, just ignore them or select it when it gets to the one you want.

I have used other mail programs and the hints have never been in the way and sometimes make it much easier to remember all the details of the address I am starting.

January 2, 2011 8:23 AM

Thank you very much. This article helped me greatly.

May 10, 2011 10:37 AM

This sounded like a great solution but it did not work. I marked "only suggest from my contacts" hit save and check. Bad name still there. I tried logging out and logging in again and still the same. Any other ideas?

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