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Transferring information out of a Hotmail account can be difficult. It's impossible if you don't have access to the account.

I am unable to enter my e-mail acct ***** I guess I have forgotten some of the information it requests. Therefore, I opened a NEW hotmail account (***** I need to know how to transfer my contacts from the first e-mail account into the present e-mail account. I have not been able to locate the information to help me.

I'm actually not surprised that you can't find the information. To the best of my knowledge, it doesn't exist.

You're running into at least two limitations. I'll look at them both, and give you my (rather bleak) outlook on what you might be able to do or not do.

To the best of my knowledge there's no automated way to transfer emails or contacts from one Hotmail account to another.

"In order to get anything out of an account, you need to be able to login to that account."

What many people like you are looking for simply doesn't exist.

While there may be a workaround for many folks, for some information, you've got bigger problems.

Limitation One: Logging In

In order to get anything out of an account you need to be able to login to that account. There are no workarounds for this. If you can't access the account - which seems to be where this started for you - you can't get at the data that's associated with the account. Period.

You might try contacting Windows Live Hotmail customer support to help you regain access to the account, but I have to be honest and say that the success rate is very low from what I hear. It's worth a shot, but mostly because it's the only shot.

Without access to the original account containing the information you want to recover, you're done. You can't even get to a point where the next limitation kicks in.

Limitation Two: Copying Data

Let's say you were able to somehow regain access to the first account, but you still wanted to copy the data out of it. It comes down to this:

  • Email: you can't. Sure, you could forward each message individually from one account to another, but that's not what most people are looking for. What would be most helpful is a way to bulk-move email from one account to another. Doesn't exist.

  • Contacts: You can't bulk transfer, but Hotmail does allow you to "export" and "import" contact lists. Click on the Options menu (upper right in Hotmail's window), then More Options. On the resulting page you'll see options near the bottom to Export contacts and Import contacts. Export from the one account and import into the other.

It's a bit of a hassle, but it should work.

No Limitations

The issue at hand is that the information you want is kept by someone else, namely Windows Live Hotmail. If you lose access to your account you can't get it, and you're further restricted by the functionality that they choose to implement or not implement - like bulk moving email between accounts.

The approach that many people use is not to use the web interface at all, but rather use a desktop email program like Windows Live Mail, Outlook or Thunderbird. By using these programs, your contact list and your email is maintained on your own computer. You have control. If you create a new account all of your email and all of your contacts remain available to you regardless of which account you choose to use within the program. If you lose access to the account you've still got all your information stored safely on your PC.

The drawback, of course, is that you need to be at your PC to see that email. (And of course you take responsibility for backing up your email - but you already back up your machine, right?)

But sadly for your specific situation I have no direct solution. Everything hinges on having access to that original email account.

Article C4331 - June 2, 2010 « »

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?

June 12, 2010 2:29 PM

Actually, it is quite easy to get information from one hotmail account to another. My husband forgot his password on his account. From my account (upper right hand corner) I have the option to "link to other hotmail accounts". I added my husband's hotmail addy to mine and presto. I click on his address and he gets to read his mail, without having to remember his password. Then I simply click back on my own to get "home" again. I suppose it would be just as easy for him to contact hotmail and request a new password, via his security question... but I can't count on him remembering that one either! LOL... But just to let others know ahead of time, link your account to someone else "you trust" for easy access to your account in emergencies!

I've not heard of, nor do I see, this link other account option. Perhaps it's not rolled out to everyone. It seems very scary, though ... could a hacker "link" their email account to yours to retain access after you regin "control" of your account?

Eli Coten
June 13, 2010 7:53 AM

If I'm not mistaken it is possible using Windows Live Mail (that's the download from Windows Live Essentials) to tranfer emails from one Hotmail account to another. Configure both Hotmail accounts with Windows Live Mail, and you should be able to copy and paste or drag and drop from the inbox of one account to the inbox of another. I'm not sure if this works for Sent Mail as I don't regularly use Windows Live Mail but there's a reasonable chance that it would.

June 28, 2010 9:38 AM

OMG!!! How can people be so hard headed? Hotmail is simply the least secure e-mail around! Get over it folks! Get a real e-mail account!

November 22, 2011 12:06 PM

Hi. Can anyone tell me how I can select some of my contacts and copy their addresses and send them to someone else? I only see how to export them all.

February 18, 2012 12:12 PM

I'm trying to transfer my Contacts from Microsoft Outlook 2010 to Windows Live Mail. It's a long story, but I bought an iPhone, and when I backed up my Contacts from my Blackberry, they went into Outlook. I use the Live Mail. If someone has an easier option transfering contacts from BB to iPhone I would appreciate it.

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