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With a little work, it is possible to transfer Hotmail contacts into another account such as Outlook Express.
How do I transfer Hotmail contacts to another account?
Transferring Hotmail contact information turns out to be slightly difficult, and certainly not obvious. While Hotmail allows you to import contacts, there doesn't appear to be any way to export them.
That's where we need to get clever.
If you can, the easiest approach is to make use of Outlook Express. If you have a premium (read: paid) Hotmail account, then you can use Outlook Express to access Hotmail accounts. Unfortunately you can no longer use Outlook Express for free Hotmail accounts. What a lot of people don't know is that you can use it to download your Hotmail contacts into your Outlook Express address book. This about.com article, Import Contacts and Email Addresses from Hotmail, gives instructions on doing exactly that.
Once you've got the contacts in Outlook Express, you can then export to a ".csv" file. (Instructions also covered in, or pointed to, by the aforementioned about.com article.) The "gotcha" here is that contacts which have been organized into groups or sub folders within contacts may not export properly. You'll need to place them at the "top level" within the contacts folder.
And finally, you log into your new or different Hotmail account, and import the CSV file into its contacts.
Another approach is to use MSN Instant Messenger as your contact management tool. Messenger contacts appear in the Hotmail address book for the same account (though not all Hotmail contacts will appear in Messenger - only those whom you've added to your Messenger contacts). Messenger includes both import and export functions for the contact list. Just log in to Messenger using one account, hit the Contacts menu, Save Contact List and save to a file. Then login to Messenger with a different account, hit Contacts, Import Contacts from a Saved File, load up the file, and you're done.
Both approaches have drawbacks, but with a little patience the task can be accomplished. And, as with most things, there are probably other approaches as well.