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Like many Microsoft products, Hotmail's real name has changed a time or two and caused a great deal of confusion. I'll try to make sense of it all.
Is there no longer a hotmail.com? I am so confused. I sign into hotmail and it automatically sends me to hotmail live. It would not take my old password, so I had to change it. But, there is nothing in the account. How do you retrieve information that was in hotmail.com. This is crazy!!How can I get my messages from my old account or is this really something that has happened. Is there no longer a MSN hotmail.com? or is this a joke of some kind.
It's no joke.
Microsoft continues a long history of confusing the heck out of us with the names they choose for their services - and then changing those names as they go along.
Hotmail is MSN Hotmail is Windows Live Hotmail. That's easy. But there's more to it than that.
For the record: none of it involves losing any email. That's something else entirely.
The email service we typically refer to as Hotmail was originally called ... Hotmail. Imagine that. More correctly it was called HoTMaiL - for HTML mail. The moniker "Hotmail" is what stuck and is what we call it today.
After purchasing Hotmail, Microsoft integrated it with their burgeoning line of on-line services, and branded them all with "MSN" - the MicroSoft Network. Thus what we used to call "Hotmail" was technically renamed to be "MSN Hotmail".
Part of that integration involved developing a "single sign-on" for all MSN properties. The idea was that a single account - your MSN Hotmail account, for example - could be used to login once and gain access to all the other MSN services like MSN Instant Messenger, MSN Money, your own custom MSN home page and more. So as part of the login process you might see domains fly by that included msn.com, passport.com (the single-sign-on provider), hotmail.com and perhaps even hotmail.msn.com. It wasn't really too confusing, though, unless you were watching those domain names fly by. When all was said and done you landed on "MSN Hotmail" and there would be your email, as before.
In recent years, Microsoft has decided to de-emphasize the "MSN" brand, and dreamed up the new "Windows Live" brand to take its place - presumably to emphasize "Windows" everywhere they possibly could.
So, it's deja vu all over again: what we had come to know as "MSN Hotmail" has been renamed "Windows Live Hotmail". As part of that, the domains that you might see as you login and use email changed as well: you might visit "hotmail.com" but you'll quickly be taken to "login.live.com" to login to your single "Windows Live" account (which includes your Hotmail). Thereafter, you'll go read your Hotmail at something on "mail.live.com" - you'll see the Windows Live brand on top, and the "Hotmail" brand just below it. It's your same old Hotmail, just with a new name and being delivered on a new domain.
Hotmail became MSN Hotmail which then became Windows Live Hotmail. Same service, just three different names over time.
Folks using MSN Messenger have the same issue. Many of them refer to it as simply "MSN", which is of course wrong - MSN was the name of the umbrella service - Messenger was only one part of it. Now not only do they download "Windows Live Messenger" to access the old MSN Messenger service, "MSN" is nowhere to be found. It's all just a service - the Messenger service - that's part of "Windows Live".
Similarly MSN Instant Messenger is now called "Windows Live Messenger". Same service, just a different name.
If you're missing email, there's something else going on. None of the name changes above should result in any lost email - period. It's just a name change.
Unfortunately, I do hear of missing Hotmail email from time to time, and not necessarily in conjunction with a name change. Here's what I've seen as a cause:
Windows Live Hotmail temporary failures: you may not get a message at all, but check in again in, say, 24 hours. Your email may magically have reappeared.
New Account Hack: I've begun seeing a relatively new type of account compromise where the hacker doesn't change your password (meaning you can still log in), but they do wreak havoc on your account. Change your password - and everything else that might be used to recover your password - immediately.
Traditional Account Hack: you indicated that you had to reset your password to regain access to your account. This feels very much like a more traditional situation where a hacker has gotten into your account, changed your password and deleted your email.
In any case, it might make sense to visit the Windows Live support forums to see if others are experiencing the same, or to post your own experience with the hope of getting some help.
Ultimately, however, I do have to fall back on my standard position regarding free email accounts: if your email disappears I believe it's extremely unlikely that you'll ever get it back.
I hope you had it backed up somewhere.
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