Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Windows Live Hotmail has once again made changes to their web based email service, and once again some users are unhappy. Yet, Hotmail needs to change.
Hotmail's new format is horrible. It adds replies to other files I have and groups things I don't want grouped. Can you get them to stop all this? It attaches things together I want to get rid of and can't then get rid of. And I can't get in touch with Hotmail. Can you?
I also cannot get them to stop changing things.
However, I do have one recommendation on how to completely and permanently fix the situation.
Strike that - I have two recommendations.
I have to put it that bluntly, but things are going to change. Period. There's no getting around it, and no avoiding it. There's also no going back.
In fact, as much as you might not like it, change is critical to Hotmail's very survival. If they don't change - if they don't keep up with, or even surpass other competing email and web services, they will eventually wither and die.
Hotmail must continue to change in order to compete.
You might not like the changes that they've made, but one thing that I can assure you they don't do is make changes frivolously or "just for the heck of it". Any changes you see are the result of research and ongoing tests to make Hotmail (or whatever service we might be talking about) more useful to more people.
Based on all that research and testing I'm willing to bet that more people like the new way than the old.
That doesn't help if you're not one of those "more people", but it is what it is. Hotmail has changed, and will continue to change so as to compete and be more useful to more people.
So, what if you don't like it?
I see two options.
The changes we're talking about are all to the web interface to Hotmail. If you visit Hotmail and read your email through your browser (IE or Firefox or whatever) - by visiting hotmail.com or one of the Windows Live sites that then has a link to Hotmail - you're using the web interface.
Stop using that. That's what keeps changing.
Instead, get and learn how to use a desktop email program like Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird or any of hundreds of others. Using those programs you'll download your email and read it on your PC. The interface you'll use is that of which ever email program you use. It won't change until or unless you upgrade or change it - it's totally in your control.
There are lots of pros and cons choosing web or desktop based email but one of the huge pros of a desktop email program is that you're in control.
Not good enough? There's one other option.
Vote with your feet. Stop using Hotmail and you'll no longer be subject to the changes that they might make.
Naturally, I prefer that you move to a paid email account with real customer support, but if you want - another free email account like Google Mail, or Yahoo might make as much sense as any.
One warning, though: don't think that moving will isolate you from changes. Services like Google and Yahoo also have to compete and do, themselves, make changes from time to time. Perhaps you'll like their "flavor" of change better, but don't think that whatever you move to might not change.
Change is inevitable.
Particularly when it comes to competing web services.