Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

It appears that the look and feel of msn.com is changing. To many that have msn.com as their home page, this change may or may not be welcome.

The msn.com page has changed and there seems to be no way to revert back to the original of before Nov.13th. You can use the customization and make the selection my.msn.com and then rearrange the page to suit you - but this is still not the same as the original. Why does Microsoft impose this on people without giving a choice? Everyone I know just HATES the new version of msn.com. Is there a way to revert to the page as it was before Nov. 13th?

I'll show folks what's up, since not everyone is seeing this today, and I'll also make some guesses as to why the changes were made, and what your options are.

The answer to the last one might well be "not many".

Here's msn.com for most people today:

MSN Home Page, classic version

And here's what many people are seeing instead:

MSN Home Page, new version

As you can see they're quite different. Today the later is being shown only to some, though you can go to http://preview.msn.com to see it if you're not one of the chosen. My expectation is that it will be rolled out to all users in the coming days.

"The design of a website is also a matter of taste."

Why?

Simple, really: the internet almost demands change. Competition breeds change.

The fact is that many sites must update their look and feel periodically to update to more current design standards, to look "fresh", to learn from usability issues encountered in previous versions, and ultimately to remain competitive.

Change is inevitable. I've written about it before.

The design of a website is also a matter of taste. What's important to some is unimportant to others. I'm sure that as many people will love the new msn.com look and feel as will hate it. In fact, if Microsoft has done their usability research properly - as they likely have - the number of people who like the new MSN will far outnumber the people that don't.

But that means nothing if you're one of the people that don't like it.

What Can You Do?

Unfortunately, having Microsoft maintain all versions of every web site forever is simply not an option. The old look of msn.com will disappear eventually. It's unrealistic to expect Microsoft to maintain both the old version and the new simultaneously beyond the trial/preview period. Especially for a free website, the expenses of doing so simply don't justify it.

And we've been here before, when Hotmail changed its look. Eventually the old Hotmail look and feel disappeared for everyone as Windows Live Hotmail became the new official interface.

So if you don't like the new look and feel of MSN, the news isn't good. It's likely that the old interface will shortly also disappear forever. Your choices are limited:

  • Live with it

  • Try "my.msn.com" (which I expect will also be updated to the new look and feel eventually)

  • Find another site to be your home page.

Personally - I actually prefer the new look. I find it cleaner and simpler.

But, as I said above, it's all a matter of taste and that's just me.

And no interface, old or new, will please everyone.

Article C3928 - November 18, 2009 « »

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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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60 Comments
Mark
November 19, 2009 5:16 AM

Coke also did consumer studies before introducing the New Coke. Mass consumer dissatisfaction made them revert to the old Coke. I know many people who can't get used to the Office 2007 ribbon. An option to use the older interface would make everybody's life easier. Like MS did with Office 6 when they included the Word Perfect keyboard shortcuts.Yahoo gives you a choice between the old and new interfaces which is great for netbook users. One problem is that MS doesn't feel they have to try as hard to ease their own users into the new system as they did when trying to win people away from a competitor.

Mark Simoncelli
November 19, 2009 6:06 AM

This new Web interface Sucks!
I Hate its bland new look and if i cant get it back the way it was before I Gone Hello Apple Browser or FireFox...
I don't know how such a big Company like Microsoft can hire the most Retarded Designers and take
ALL the Choice from there customers?
[edited]

People Hate change tossed down our throat when we have nothing to say about it.....
For the Mean time Goggles Homepage seems to be my new sweetheart.
Excellent Job there just give a big ol Pat on one of the Designer NERDS that Pooch this one up..
Windows 7 is Finally a Great Os lets see witch one of those Lonely boys in Redmond slap some lipstick on the Pig after after this Home Makeover Botch job!

Kevin B.
November 19, 2009 9:48 AM

The new MSN home page is terribly done. My 14 year old son could have designed this in computer class! What a joke! For MSN to not give a choice for this is ridiculous......Bring back the old msn home page and tweek it a little at a time if the designers have to justify their jobs!

Unhappy,
longtime MSN user

Rebecca
November 19, 2009 10:36 AM

Oh, I see, so we've all been 'randomly' selected to be inconvenienced with this lousy 'new look'. I can't find the articles that I need to find, as quickly as I could before AND I NEED THIS FOR W.O.R.K. Folks, we are not getting our old pages back- I've asked 3 times now in the last week and a half, so get it out of your head.
I loathe Yahoo and AOL and now, MSN is no better. We got our 'old' home page back at home, but perhaps only because we are MSN paying subscribers there. If you're using it for free, like we do at work, I think we are stuck.
As of today, MSN does not get to use my opinion and track my usage. I'm changing to another news oriented home page and I'll come back to MSN when they come back to their senses. If you REALLY want to protest this, YOU MUST NOT USE THE PAGE-- AT ALL.
No activity on the page means no feedback. No feedback means that people have abandoned the page and maybe then they will recognize the loss of millions of users and connect the dots, so to speak.
Not all 'change' works out for the better...And, that's all I'll say about that.

Billy Metcalfe'
November 19, 2009 11:26 AM

It sucks ... I am now using AOL but will look at google .... color me gone ...... MSN .....

Gordon
November 21, 2009 8:01 AM

When I clicked on Safety and went to in-private
browsing, I got the old homepage back. Maybe
for just a little while, but at least I can
now enjoy the old style. Hope it works for you.

Nicole
November 21, 2009 11:07 AM

The New version is taking me a while to get used to, but what I miss is the weather option. The last one gave us four cities to choose from and did a rotating cycle and this one only gives you one option. Otherwise, I think it's not so bad, but another change to get used to.

ben zink
November 22, 2009 4:40 AM

They should fire the entire team who made the new MSN. Where's all information that I had on the front page, like my WX list! Could they have made fonts be any lighter. I can hardly wait to try to read them in a coffee house on a 10" screen. Very Very ugley!
Hate it! These are the same people who bought us Vista. To bad Apple didn't put them out of business by making their prices realistic. They missed a great opportunity.

Jeannette C. Perkins
November 22, 2009 11:58 AM

I want my old home page back. This new page is ugly, and can't live up to the old MSN home page. What happened to the old MSN videos? There was such a great selection. The new doesn't compare. I will be shopping around for something better.

jerry
November 22, 2009 10:11 PM

I got the "preview" MSN I can not find anything.
If they keep this I'll have a new homepage!!!!!

Constantine
November 23, 2009 9:17 AM

The new homepage is cold, ugly. They could have designed something else, if they felt it necessary (why actually?) to change the page. But not this one for God's sake! If I cannot have my old home page back, then please design something tasteful.

L
November 23, 2009 9:46 AM

don't like the new home page, I'm finding a new one...

Dorothy
November 24, 2009 7:23 AM

I don't like this new page. It's disorganized and cluttered. I usually don't mind change, but this one seemed to be poorly done. Next time ask for user suggestions on what we want the page to look like.

Moshe
November 24, 2009 8:52 AM

I don't like the new MSN look either. However, I believe it DOES have all the same information as before - just rearranged a bit. To all the people complaining - it is THEIR web site - they can do what they want. If you want the old one, make your own!

Lee
November 24, 2009 10:29 AM

My homepage is about:blank. Nothing there to offend anyone. ;)

Margaret Louk
November 24, 2009 1:44 PM

I don't like change, but I live with it, I don't like it when they move everything in the market, or on a web page. I stopped reading the news on one TV site it got too flashy and not enough substance. Now I have a different homepage on 3 browsers. I love the BBC one. I have one that is a local news station and the third is the msn, which I spend the least time on. I really hate what they did to CNN. Oh well.

Steve Sturgill
November 24, 2009 2:42 PM

They dare NOT change mine unless I give them permisssion - which I WON'T! I've been with MSN since 2003 and I pay an annual fee to have it just as it is. Should they tamper with it illegally, I'll have no recourse but to drop them, and tell everyone else to as well.

jpChris
November 24, 2009 3:04 PM

This just goes to prove what I've been saying for decades: There's waaay too many MBA's at the top of the Corporate Food Chain looking to justify their salaries.

John Valerio
November 24, 2009 4:00 PM

This new and improved bersion is simply horrible. I am switcuin to a local area web page. too bad. I have been with MSN since I can remember.
Good - bye

Elise Mcclintick
November 24, 2009 5:26 PM

Horrible. I spent 4 hours trying to see what was "wrong" with my computer after they sprung the new version on me. I don't like the white background color or the expansion of the page. In fact, I just switched over to Yahoo for tonight but am sure that isn't going to last. Oh my, CNBC is a possibility but no fun stuff there and too much of it on the new MSN. Too bad. They lost me. Also, John Valerio, do you have a son named John Hyde?

julie B.
November 24, 2009 8:29 PM

I don't like it either. It looks washed out and boring. Please give it some color. Too much white bothers me.

Karl
November 25, 2009 10:54 AM

I had just got use to the last change, now they go and change again. I know that everything will change at some point. The fact is that most sites will give you a warning that a change will be made, not MSN they never have, not that i can remember. I also have to agree i don't like the color they should have left it to where you could change it. They may still be working on it time will tell. This will in no way stop me from using msn. It will just take time for me to get use to the new look again. By the time i get use to this look they will change it again lol.

Atilio Parodi
November 25, 2009 11:45 AM

So...MSN changed their web site...BOHOOO !!

GROW UP and LIVE WITH IT !!

Sandy
November 27, 2009 1:59 PM

I would love to go back to the old MSN homepage. Is their even any way to customize the new one like you could the old one?

AGG
November 29, 2009 10:54 PM

I'm exhausted fighting with the Microsoft bully software in IE8. Leo, you have just barely toughed the surface. Sure, you can change your hompe page with the internet tools, then manually set your favorites and those quick links to appear on the favorites bar (I have Vista basic 32). The problem is this: RunDLL32IEDKCS32.DLL,BrandIE4 SIGNUP is triggered when you sign in (It doesn't matter if, like you said, IE8 was downloaded without defaults and only with a custom installation as you proposed). This causes a folder called SIGNUP to be accessed. Inside of SIGNUP is an infernal file called INSTALL.INS which contains all the MSN web links, home page hijacking and orders to knock google out as a search engine and replace it with bing. The MSN butterflys are forced into your favorites bar and list (about FIVE of them). Then some MORE MSN sites are added along with "suggested sites", bing traffic and other junk.
I opened the INSTALL.INS in a text editor, saved a copy with a different name and modified the branding to my home page and wiped out the MSN, MSNBC and Fox news favorites packing as well as keeping the welcome page from coming on. I saved it and reloaded it an it had been changed back to the "optimized"IE8 with all the defaults even though I downloaded a custom settings version. What now? Do I have to alter the registry so the guilty DLL won't run?

Ruby Blumenfeld
November 30, 2009 1:59 PM

Don't like the new MSN page one iota! I will now use a google home page....

Abby
November 30, 2009 2:27 PM

I agree with all above, the new MSN homepage is absolutely aweful!!!!! Too washed out looking, way to much white, looks like a boring news paper, please listen to the people and bring back the old version. I too will give it a couple weeks to see what happens with MSN and if nothing I will consider Yahoo and others, too bad, not recommending MSN to anyone at this time.

David Flammia
November 30, 2009 4:12 PM

Adios MSN. Hate the new layout. Would rather see just about anything else.

Jay
December 1, 2009 7:55 AM

Time for a change too. I don't like being controled

derek
December 1, 2009 11:16 AM

new msn page is garbage. first time i saw it i thought i had timewarped back to 1996 or something. the old one was better for one simple reason-- everything was there "above the fold," with no scrolling down required. the way it's arranged now is RIDICULOUS. HUGE images? why??!? to make us have to pgdown 5 times to see it all?? no thanks. i was close to eliminating msn from my life after the recent horrible redesign of hotmail, and this is so much worse even than that... definitely the end of the line for msn and me. i'll go with yahoo or something.

and for notenboom to say "Personally - I actually prefer the new look. I find it cleaner and simpler." shows that either he is A) a microsoft suck-up or B) has absolutely NO taste. "simpler"..?? after smoking what?? having to scroll down and down and down and down to see what used to be immediately visible is the farthest possible thing from "simple." notenboom is either shilling or is blind.

Mrs. Wilds
December 2, 2009 4:14 PM

I agree with all the people who HATE the new MSN page as I do too!!! I'm VERY computer literate and live online constantly. MSN has ALWAYS been my homepage and I've been very happy...until now. I really don't want to switch homepages but I really hate this new layout and design...I'm considered one of the new "previewer's" but I don't want to be...I really really wish someone I could get my OLD classic view, everything in the right place for me, home page...MSN if you're listening or reading PLEASE think of myself and ALL these other people who want the version they've become accustomed too back!!!!

Denise
December 4, 2009 7:24 AM

I hate it!!! One viewer suggested switching to "in private viewing" and got her old MSN homepage back. I just tried it and although I got the old page back, there are no photos and they will not load. The new page is very confusing, I'm going elsewhere.

mark
December 5, 2009 9:23 PM

Easy fix. I just did it. Didnt like the new look. What you need to do is clear/delete browsing history. Under tools, internet options. Select Delete and Delete all.

Cheers

Eric
December 6, 2009 5:16 PM

I am all for change, especially when the change is for the better. Not only is the new MSN homepage different, it is inferior to the previous homepage. The changes may appear "simplified" but to me it looks a bit chaotic and washed out. The white page looks so simple it is akin to something a beginner would create at home. Someone needs to "Bing" these executives back into reality and fix this fast, because my personal hompage will no longer be set to MSN.

Janice Wood
December 6, 2009 7:58 PM

Please, Please give us back the old homepage. It is much easier to read and visualize. The new page is very bland and hard to read.
Thank you.

Linda
December 7, 2009 4:54 PM

To change it back do what the guy above said. It's Dec. 7th 2009 and I just did it to. It WORKED! Go to Tools at the top, Go to Internet options, and delete all. Close your wedpage, open it back up and it' OLD BLUE :-) To keep it go to tool's again and click on "use current" Thats it. I hat the new one two and will fight to keep old blue :-)

Speedymarie
December 8, 2009 12:44 PM

Adios, MSN. I do not like the new look and don't have to stay around. For those interested, I'm changing to iGoogle and adding FoxNews and FoxNews Headlines to it. May add more later to really customize it for me. So long MSN...it's been a pretty good 6 years.

rocco catrambone
December 10, 2009 11:43 AM

i have being with msn for ever. Simple the new home page is bad and i will change to another that i like. good by and to the people responsible, good luck you will need it when you are going to be out of the job.

Sherry
December 13, 2009 6:45 PM

I do not like the new MSN homepage and have already switched to another homepage. I read your article that you will be changing to this new format eventually no matter what anyone else wants because you find this change demanding to keep up with the changing internet. But if your old page wasn't good would so many people have MSN as their homepage? The older version with the blue background was easier to read, I had everything setup I needed, now I can't find anything on this new home page. I'm sorry MSN, I love the hotmail live, I love MSN messenger but will no longer have MSN as my homepage.

"I read your article that you will be changing to this new format eventually..."

Please understand I am not MSN, I am not Microsoft. I am not changing anything. Microsoft is. This web site is not associated with Microsoft and/or MSN.
Leo
14-Dec-2009

Dianne Bowers
December 14, 2009 3:48 PM

I was so glad to see the comments on how to get the old MSN.com home page back. Will definitely give the suggestions a try. I agree that the new look only looks cluttered; the old was so simple and easy to use. I hate to lose another favorite thing.

bobby
December 16, 2009 6:46 PM

I also don't like the new page. tried the deleting cookies same new page Dec. 16.

Rob
December 17, 2009 6:38 AM

Well, I appreciate the honesty of the article as I know I must now "deal with it." But, like many others here, the MSN Preview looks so dull and plain.

Yuck
December 18, 2009 10:52 AM

Here is one way to save money --- don't change the homepage look, and you will save tons for graphic artists, program to maintain two separate sites, and PR issues associated with change.

Keep the old look -- it have more info and was as interesting as reading a newspaper.

I doubt this message will get through Microsoft's thickhead, given the terrible Microsoft Office 2007 interface that will be maintained in the 2010 edition.

It really is sad that a company would feel so inferior that they would pursue the last 2-3% of the population that cannot just adapt to the current interface. Instead, MS continues to put out garbage products in an effort to make things 'simpler'.

I have changed to Google for my homepage, and am using Google docs as much as I can - even though I own Office 2007.

Eleisha Barnett
December 19, 2009 11:01 AM

The new page is chaotic and washed out. I also have vision problems which prevent me from seeing the gray font whis is used instead of the crisp black font. Did MSN consider this at all? I'm afraid that unless that issue is addressed, MSN has lost themselves a loyal customer.

Sharon
December 19, 2009 8:53 PM

To get your old MSN homepage back, just delete your cookies. It will work until Microsoft decides everyone should have the new one and the old one is no longer available.

JV
December 23, 2009 12:13 PM

Old one is: http://msnmember.msn.com/

JOANN
December 24, 2009 6:45 AM

I HATE YOUR NEW HOME PAGE I WILL CHANGE IT TO YAHOO HOME PAGE

RoutyRastus
December 24, 2009 10:06 PM

Change is NOT inevitable and it is also NOT desirable at all times. By the time I get rid of the things I don't want, there is nothing left to see. Google search is my page of choice.

derk kooda
December 26, 2009 10:54 PM

Forget changing homepages. All you have to do is visit derk.yolasite.com/acess-it to get full instuckions from to get it back!

Pete
December 28, 2009 6:18 PM

Leo,
I read your response as to why the MSN Homepage changed. I have this same problem using IE7. However, when I open the Firefox browser on my computer, I get the old DellNet.MSN homepage. Why is this the case?

jesseb
December 28, 2009 7:35 PM

the white page hurts my eyes.the past selection of color selection was more relaxing to the eyes.......

Dan Pasch
December 28, 2009 7:49 PM

The new home page absolutely SUCKS. That is the trouble with the young minds. They lack insight. Leave this page alone. If not then I will move on like you said. Take a hike Bill.

Thomas Holland
December 29, 2009 7:41 AM

Don't fix it if it ain't broken - Remember Coke's rollout of NEW Coke ? Wake up MSN ! Listen to your users - not your designers.

Terry Purcell
December 29, 2009 10:13 AM

I dont like the new MSN.home page. It lacks the info I had at my finger tip on the old one. Its is stark! What a waste of time and money on the new one.The all white is hard on the eyes! Bring back the old one!!!

LILLIAN
December 29, 2009 10:21 AM

I dont like it either. I cant find things. And logging on to hotmail from here is a pain in the behind, as opposed to a simple click on the hotmail link.

Sharon Green
December 29, 2009 12:25 PM

I hate the new page and your attitude. I don't hate change, just THIS change. Like another post said, it burns my eyes. So if I can't get the old page back I will find a new home page. Yahoo here I come!

alliee brown
December 29, 2009 1:08 PM

This new page format sucks! I really prefer the old one and I feel Microsoft should give us a choice. Foisting it on us without our consent, is really unfair. We should have the option of retaining the old layout. Nuf said!

Migdalia Waters
December 29, 2009 4:15 PM

I do not like the New look... "SUCKS" ....

Debbie
December 29, 2009 6:36 PM

I found a way that works for me. I don't know how long it will work but it DOES work. Go to your tools bar, then go down to internet options. When the window comes up, click on delete temporary files. I delete cookies, temporary internet files and websites that I've visited. After that is done, hit the refresh button. The old MSN comes back. I hope this is helpful for some of you.

Leo
December 30, 2009 10:17 AM
I hate to do it, but I'm closing comments on this article. The vast majority of the comments here are just complaints about the new msn.com homepage. Fair enough, but complaining here doesn't really serve any purpose. I think we have enough now that you can rest assured you're not alone in your dislike for it (if, indeed, that's you). You can complain to Microsoft, but as I've stated in the article my belief is that those complaints will fall on deaf ears. If you don't like the new home page then your only recourse is to choose another ... as so many of you have already done.
Leo
30-Dec-2009

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