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Hotmail includes a contact list/address book for keeping track of your contacts. But that's not the only place suggestions come from.

How do I delete Hotmail contacts that were added to my contact list that were not added by me?

If you forward an e-mail and click To:, all of the contacts come up but there is no option to delete from the contact list. There are several other options, but no delete.

Depending on how you're entering in the email address, many email services let you just right-click on the suggested item and there'll be an option to delete.

Not so with Hotmail.

On top of that, there's some added confusion.

You may be seeing more than just your contact list.

Deleting a Contact

When viewing your inbox, click the Contacts link in the lower left:

Hotmail Contacts Link

Your Hotmail contacts are actually your "Windows Live Contacts," which are the contacts that are available to and created by all of the Windows Live services that you might use:

Windows Live Contacts

To delete a contact, just click the checkbox next to the one you want to delete, and click Delete:

Deleting a Windows Live Contact

You'll need to confirm that you really want to delete the contact:

Windows Live Contacts confirmation dialog

Click OK and the contact's gone.

"Contacts" not in your Contacts list

If you commonly begin typing the first few letters of an email address and you see "suggestions" being made, what you're looking at is Hotmail's auto-complete.

Windows Live Hotmail auto complete

Hotmail offers up suggestions of email addresses and names that begin with the characters that you've typed so far.

If the email address is in your contacts list, you can delete it both from Contacts and from this list of suggestions by using the instructions above.

However, you'll occasionally find suggestions that aren't in your Contacts.

Here's an example that I ran across while researching a previous article on this topic:

Windows Live Hotmail auto complete - with 'questionable' suggestions

That's not in my contacts, and thus, it's not a contact that I can delete.

As it turns out, it's a Windows Live Messenger invitation.

That article that I was researching is How do I get rid of these questionable entries in my Hotmail auto-complete? It has the instructions to remove these and block future ones from appearing.

Windows Live is more than Hotmail

One important take-away here is that when you sign up for a Hotmail account, you're getting a lot more than just Hotmail.

Hotmail is branded as "Windows Live Hotmail" because it's part of the Windows Live family of services. That means that when you create a Windows Live Hotmail account, you've actually created a Windows Live account that can be used for all Windows Live services.

Put more concretely, what most people don't realize is that by signing up for a Windows Live Hotmail email account, they've also signed up for Windows Live Messenger instant messaging account - because they're the same account.

And they share one common set of contacts; "Windows Live Contacts" to be specific.

Add someone to your instant messenger list in Windows Live Messenger and you've added them as a contact; a contact that will show up in Windows Live Hotmail as well.

Article C5067 - February 4, 2012 « »

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?

Nick Godwin
February 7, 2012 11:09 AM

If someone wants free email pure and simple, without also getting involved with social networking, messaging and all that stuff, one service that seems to do the job is GMX.

Just google GMX and create an email address.

David Trujillo
February 22, 2012 5:46 PM

Congratulations are in order. It's really too bad. I never had a security problem with my @MSN email account, however; recently I wasn't able to sign into my account, even with all the security features in place. I was finally able to sign in long enough to delete all my contacts and folders. Thank God I had everything backed up. After all this, I was pretty much forced to change email providers. Your advice is really appreciated. Trust me everyone, after being with MSN pretty much since the start of time, I got bit by the Microsoft bug. Take Leo's advice. Move on, before it's too late. Thanks again.

October 28, 2012 10:50 PM

My deleting contacts is slightly different. I entered a contact but found I had entered the address wrongly. I tried to edit it - no success. So then I deleted it from my contact list. but now when I start typing the name in the original (wrong) address comes up & I can't change the address. Please help.

Mark J
October 29, 2012 3:53 AM

The addresses can pop up from 2 places: the address book and
email addresses you've typed before. This article explains how
to limit it to popups only from the address book.

How to I control Windows Live Hotmail's auto-complete?

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