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Every so often the Windows Live Hotmail interface changes and it's easy to miss where certain things went. I'll point you at Reply and Forward.

My Windows Live Hotmail changed a few days ago to a new version; a slightly new look according to them. I can't see how to forward messages and I can't reply them. I do not see any button to perform this task.

Reply and Forward are pretty fundamental, so they certainly didn't disappear.

As the message from Hotmail said, they're just slightly different.

And perhaps in a different place.

"As a result, if you're a Hotmail user you should be prepared for periodic changes ..."

The biggest difference to me is that they no longer look like buttons, so that it's very easy to miss them. Here's a picture, with the new location and look highlighted:

Windows Live Hotmail Reply and Forward Buttons

If you happen to be looking at your message in "Full view":

Windows Live Hotmail Reply and Forward Buttons in Full View

Hotmail is in a constant state of change as it tries to both catch up with it's competitors as well as perhaps even innovate with new features. As a result, if you're a Hotmail user you should be prepared for periodic changes, it's just a fact of life.

Some changes are subtle, such as this one, and they can be easy to miss.

But there will be change.

Update: I've posted a new article discussing the recent changes to Windows Live Hotmail, and your options in dealing with it: How can I get the old Windows Live Hotmail back?

Article C3559 - November 8, 2008 « »

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?

November 9, 2008 5:29 AM

I clicked the SEND button, but I cannot start to write my message. Please advise.

Ed Lieber
November 11, 2008 7:52 AM

I use Windows Live Hot mail and the new version is much slower than the previous version. They have eliminated the "Check for New Messages" button. When clicking on reply or New there is a delay of between 5 and ten seconds before I can begin typing the to name or my reply. I liked the older version better and I may be forced to use Office Outlook or Windows Mail in its place.

Gary Cox
November 11, 2008 9:07 AM

I too, dislike the new mail system. Before, I merrily hit "forward" and began to fill the line with my "shortcut" nicknames. Now, everytime you enter something in the box, a window opens up below, giving a selection of all addresses containing those letters, and you have to make a selection. Needless to say, it has made a pleasant experience into tedium.

November 11, 2008 9:39 AM

The inbox/junks etc on the RHS of the screen disappear (actually, kind of merge on top of each other) when using IE, but are OK when using firefox.. I did all flash, java etc updates but still no go with IE. You'd think the one browser that 'Hotmail' would work with would be IE!

Glenn P.
November 11, 2008 9:41 AM

It's just a guess, Agus (since I don't use HotMail), but judging from the pictures I think you probably need to click "New" (as in, "start a new message") and then compose your E-Mail there. Try that and see what happens to you. Mail clients differ, even from version to version. [Shrug.]

November 11, 2008 3:04 PM

I looked and looked but cannot find the Reply or Forward buttons. Hotmail FAQ does not have an applicable response.

November 11, 2008 3:19 PM

I must apologize. A few minutes ago I sent an email saying that I could not find a Reply or Forward button. Well, these buttons appear when one opens an email to read the message. I used these buttons on the old Hotmail but never gave them much attention until reading the question on forwarding Hotmail email in your informative newsletter.

Cindy W.
November 11, 2008 4:09 PM

I had to chuckle when I saw the question about where the Reply/forward button because I too missed that at first and spent quite a bit of time looking. Glad I wasn't the only one tricked! LOL.

November 11, 2008 5:01 PM

Microsoft bogging down useful software with useless clutter, once again.

November 11, 2008 6:50 PM

I found the newer version of hotmail to be faster whether opening, composing and sending email. Deleting emails seems twice as fast as before.
I also like the new free skydrive feature with 5GB of free storeage space.

Reynald Medor
November 11, 2008 7:32 PM

I certainly prefer the new look of Windows Live Hotmail. It is faster and more user friendly. One can get access to most of his/her E-mail accounts with one click, something I didn't Know before. Just look at the upper right-hand corner of Hotmail page where one has his name and click on the down arrow to set things up.

Lyn Perry
November 12, 2008 1:02 AM

Took me a while to figure out how to mail to groups - you now have to open the group (also pointlessly and longwindedly renamed Categories)name on the address bar which was not required before. It would save everyone inc MS a lot of time and aggravation if they published details of exactly what they've changed before just inflicting them as a test to see how long it takes for us to work it out.

I dislike not being able to view as many entries per page as hitherto and find the deletion of the total number of entries in folders and groups unhelpful. Adding photo thumbnails to every contact just takes up space, necessitating more scrolling. Overall this latest change is costing me a lot of time. I had to repopulate my Favourites list as it had been emptied during the changeover.

seval nver
November 12, 2008 1:46 AM

i hate it because i cant compose and send a message via the new version live messenger!! so i cant use my hotmail address or cant reply my mails. i am getting crazy! some of my friends are in same situation of me, however some of them are not! i cant understand:((

noobie guy
November 12, 2008 6:46 AM

I found them easily, but when I try to write a reply it won't let me. Why?

November 12, 2008 4:00 PM

My new hotmail look lost the list - Inbox, Junk, etc. It appears like a shadow and if I am fast enough I can open the box. I replied to "feedback" and as of today, no answer.

Ken Purucker
November 12, 2008 7:09 PM

Dear Leo, I have been using hotmail and it's revisions for almost 9 years. I think this newest version is much cleaner, just as easy to use and haven't missed anything from the previous version. My experience over the years has been quite satisfactory. Ken Purucker

Robert Coley
November 13, 2008 3:27 AM

I think the new Hotmail is great, but why is the log off so small?

November 13, 2008 1:18 PM

I have used hotmail ever since MS acquired it and made it free. Since I changed my ISP and employment several times, a constant personal email address that hotmail offer is a real convenience.

Hotmail changed a few times in this period and I liked the change every time. They have not yet got to change my account yet as they seem to be doing it in stages. I have another account that they converted and I already am liking the new format.

My question to MS is only this - since you can't seem to please every one with changes, why not keep both the versions available and let the user choose what he/she wants? Unless of course, it is a big operational difficulty. After all new features available under changed format will have to be blocked in the old version and so on.... Still worth considering as displeasing an existing customer will add one to the competitor.

- Rahul.

You said it yourself: "it is a big operational difficulty". I'd recommend reading my newer article How can I get the old Windows Live Hotmail back?, where I link to the Microsoft FAQ on the matter. To quote that FAQ from Microsoft: "We cant provide two fast, secure, reliable experiences, so we have decided to just keep the new version".
- Leo
Marty Petersen
November 13, 2008 2:15 PM

"My new hotmail look lost the list - Inbox, Junk, etc. It appears like a shadow and if I am fast enough I can open the box. I replied to "feedback" and as of today, no answer."

Same thing happened to me. I have no Inbox. It only lists Today, Contact List and Calendar! My writing pane only allows me to see 3 lines, so I can't view the whole message that I am composing.

November 13, 2008 5:49 PM

when try to reply my mail, it does not allow me to write any thing apart from subject

November 20, 2008 7:43 PM

am I the only one for whom the reply menu area that's circled above in red doesn't show up anymore? It used to, I've had no problem using the Live version until about two weeks ago when that reply line wouldn't show up 90% of the time...

December 4, 2008 2:31 AM

My reply button disappeared!! Am i the only one who still cant find it?? It was there when i replied a few messages yesterday..

December 15, 2008 5:51 PM

the reply and forward buttons are not where you have illustrated in your highlighted pictures, instead I have a blank white empty space/box without the damn buttons???!!!

I am not ranting at hotmail, maybe its my Vista that's acting up all over the place!!!

George wong chiong ching
December 28, 2008 6:53 AM

Hey Leo, Merry Christmas to U. The button is not shown as marked Red circle as suggested. Where should i find them? I need to click NEW to reply my

Paul Winterhalder
January 14, 2009 3:00 PM

I'm missing several buttons including re[ly, send, forward, inbox, junkmail etc. and etc. What can I do? Paul W

J Nimmons
January 14, 2009 4:28 PM

I am an elderly internet novice. I want any system I use to fulfil clear functional needs. I do not want to have to resort to these forae for help with that which should be bleedin' obvious to those who "enhance" their facilities. What idiot saw fit to change an already satisfactory offering to one that is, to me, a useless frustration?

March 16, 2009 4:47 PM

I cannot find how to set the preference to Reply-With-History from the new Hotmail. Could you tell me how?

September 4, 2009 8:34 AM

you guys aren't the only ones... my reply, forward buttons are all missing... got a mac and runs beautifully - get rid of everything microsoft and your life will be much better - i promise.

October 19, 2009 12:39 PM

hello, if I reply in Hotmail i loose the initial message??? HELP!!

October 31, 2009 9:36 PM

its not there, the hotmail in the image shows the reply button, mine doesnt have the buttons help!

November 3, 2009 2:30 PM

This is a great way to get Windows Live IMAP support on your MAC

February 21, 2010 2:57 AM

It seems the buttons are missing at least when using IE8, so this is bug. Try using another browser (FireFox, Opera).

February 21, 2012 2:59 PM

Hello Leo, I sent a reply to an associate and I would like to view the reply. How do I look at the reply I sent to my associate?

February 22, 2012 7:53 AM

If you have your Hotmail set to save sent mail, you should be able to find it in your sent folder.

garry dent
February 28, 2013 10:53 PM

Where has the forward, reply button gone on new hotmail?

Mark J
March 1, 2013 2:10 AM

I'm assuming you mean the new which is replacing the Live Hotmail interface.
They've hidden the Forward button behind the Reply button. If you click on the little arrow to the right of the reply button on the top toolbar, you will get a pull down menu with the options of Reply, Forward and Reply All.

March 27, 2013 12:58 PM

Thank you thank you Thank you
Just spent too much time looking. Should have looked here awhile ago!

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