back to article Hotmail is dead! Long live Hotmail!

Microsoft's Hotmail has blossomed into a Web 2.0 service after going through an 11-year ugly duckling phase. The transformation has changed MSN Hotmail into Windows Live Hotmail. The company calls today's public relaunch of its free email service "the most significant upgrade" since its inception in 1996. The web-based client …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a pig by any other name...

    I liked hotmail because it used to integrate into outlook express quite nicely... But nooooooooooooo! Some moron at M$ gets a chubby for Outlook (which still sucks ass and I don't care what anybody says) and they ruin a fairly decent product. The f-ing thing looks more like AOL than it does HoTMaiL... Anybody else remember the original pre-M$ product?

  3. matt

    Something mysterious

    Has anyone ever noticed that the word Hotmail contains the letters H.T.M.L in correct order.

    I've never been able to find a source for how this came about.

    Maybe I haven't tried hard enough?

  4. adrianm


    The interface might look like outlook, but it doesn't feel like it.

    First impressions.... overrun with ads and can't resize the preview area.

    Doesn't work in Safari.

    Even Apple managed to do a better job of AKAXing their webmail.

  5. Ralph B

    No POP

    > Hotmail's much-needed makeover puts it in line with email > service offerings from Google and Yahoo!.

    Actually, Google mail gives you POP access for free - not as a $20/year extra.

  6. Jason Togneri

    Re: "Has anyone ever noticed that the word Hotmail contains the letters H.T.M.L in correct order."

    Hmm... "Has anyone ever noticed that the word Hotmail contains the letters H.T.M.L in correct order."

    I believe this was deliberate. There was a kind of fashion in the mid-1990s when the web and designing your own website and HTML in general was the 'in' thing and so fashionable, and every company and product had to have HTML in it somewhere. HoTMaiL was intentional. As was a web-design program of the time (is it still going?) called HoT MetaL Pro - again, HTML in it. There's no mystery to it and yes, it was completely deliberate. To be honest I'm surprised you never noticed it before, I've known about it for the last ten years.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hate new interfaces

    Hotmail has always been uglier and slower than the competition, and that's why I'm a keen user of Yahoo email. But am I the only one who hates web-based interfaces that try to look like Windows programs?

    When Yahoo offered me to try their new, outlook-like interface I politely declined. Especially on a slow connection it was almost impossible to do things, as the web interface was always one or two steps behind your fingertips.

    Long live good-old web based email UI!


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "When Sabeer Bhatia came up with the business plan for the mail service, he tried all kinds of names ending in "-mail" and finally settled on Hotmail because it included the letters "HTML" — the markup language used to write the base of web pages. It was initially referred to as HoTMaiL with selective upper casing, which is still styled in that format within part of the URL of the user's email inbox when signed in." - Wikipedia (

    No source given though.

  9. Halcyon

    live hotmail with your own domain

    yeah, i've never actually been a fan of hotmail, but since they've started with the live domains, i kinda changed my mind. you change your mx record for your domain to point to hotmail and then you can use that for as many mailboxes for your domain as you like (each with 2gb), also you get a little advert you can post on your website and users can signup for free to a 2gb mailbox with your domain name. pretty nifty i thought.

    as for the interface, i've been part of the beta for months now and there was one stage when there were issues with scrolling, but they've been resolved it seems. the integration with msn is also very nice for receiving alerts on new mail messages, contacts, etc...

  10. Chris Matchett


    What do you mean 'no source given'? You got it from wikipedia didn't you ;-P

    I've been using Live Mail for over a year and I like it. I've even ditched using Outlook 2003 in favour of it despite owning Outlook and having a hotmail account that still qualifies for free Outlook sync.

    So there

  11. Rob D

    Come on!

    ah come on! The new hotmail interface is good! It's a massive improvement, it's clean and it works really well. I must say I'm very impressed.

    You guys just throw your toys out of the pram because it's MS.

  12. Marc

    GMAIL's POP3 doesn't work

    It removes email after you read it. Not good for a PDA that downloads the first 2kb, because when you go to fetch the whole thing, it's gone!

  13. Nick Palmer

    To adrianm:

    I'm looking at the new UI now, and can resize the reading pane perfectly well. Also, the only ad I'm seeing is the usual banner at the top of the page. What's the grief? Can't speak for the Safari problem, however.

  14. Franco Milazzo

    Better <> Good

    To Rob D: a new UI does not a great system make. Hotmail still has a long way to go on two fronts: spam and POP3 access. Both these areas are crucial to the success of any web-based e-mail system and Hotmail fails on both counts.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About Live Hotmail

    Halcyon writes in glowing terms about "live hotmail with your own domain"... guess what, Google has had it for nearly a year.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plain text mail

    I tried this new interface when it was in beta and I reverted to the standard old Hotmail one because I could not find a way to send plain text mail. The new Yahoo interface is similar but at least there's a way to set mail to go out as plain text. Have I missed something?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About that GMAIL POP3...

    Marc, you may want to check your GMAIL settings for POP3. Set it to ARCHIVE your mail, not delete it, then you always will still have a copy in your Archives. You can then always manually delete it from there. I'm particularly sensitive to my data disappearing, and that's the way I deal with it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gmail spam

    "Another feature of Hotmail from way back was its poor spam trapping, which often sent real mail to the spam folder. I've never experienced that with Gmail"

    I have, many times, often with legitimate messages from a address oddly enough.

    False positives are a problem with all automatic spam filters, it seems.

  19. Christos Georgiou

    GMAIL's POP3 is broken?!

    Actually, when in GMail, there's a link strangely called 'Settings'. In that settings page, there's an obscure "When messages are accessed with POP " setting, which can randomly be set to "keep GMail's copy in the Inbox".

    Weird stuff, computing.

  20. Matthew Anderson

    It's all bunged up

    As usual it's all bunged up, hotmail is incredibly slow as it is, now a new client which is every bit as slow, has anyone used Microsoft adCentre? It takes me 30 minutes of pure frustration to load a few pages and change some keywords, so much so that I have just stopped using it.. The same will happen with their email client as more and more people realise their is life outwith microsoft...

    How do they ever expect to compete with anything other than OS and their standard software packages??

    Gmail - simple, sweet & lovely. It offers everything I need for a free web based email account.

    Hotmail - slow, cumbersome, useless, pathetic & adbased, plus they try and charge me money for what gmail gives for free. Spam filters???? HAH... Other than a few newsletters getting wrongly diagnosed as spam now and again, gmail seem to have got it right.. So why MS0ft cannot is beyond me..

    I just do not understand how they do it, I'm sure they must have a bright bunch of guys working for them, they much surely test the speed of their cumbersome clients... Surely??????

    Failed again microsoft, I send you to the spam bin forever!

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Steven Walker

    ah come on! The new hotmail interface is good! It's a massive improvement

    A massive improvement does not necessarily make it any good!

  23. dominic pain

    hotmail and pop3 access

    POP3 collection was a feature of HoTMaiL until, approximately, 2000/2001. It was turned off for reasons I can't remember.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Glitter, turd

    Matt says, "Has anyone ever noticed that the word Hotmail contains the letters H.T.M.L in correct order." Yes, as does HaTeMaiL.

    How does that old saying go... "You can sprinkle glitter on a turd..."

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no hotmail in outlook (express)

    What I think is lalso very important is the fact that I don´t get to read my hotmail in Outlook(express) anymore because they blocked access for the new ones and for the ones that go over to live.

    It´s their own mail!!!

    Google does everything, from left to right and up an down with mail. I love it

  26. Steve Mason


    ahhh the old message preview... the simplest and most effective way to integrate malicious code in an e-mail without the user having to open it *sigh*

  27. shane fitzgerald

    Ugly duckling

    Its plain ugly. Well it is on Firefox with a slightly larger than normal font (looking at this from my couch on TV). One third of the screen is just a big blank box!! On IE with a normal font it looks ok. Big deal? It looked 'ok' to start with, before the tinkering. Still won't change me back from g-mail.

  28. adnim

    all your emails....

    belong to m$.

    Is anyone silly enough to use hotmail for anything private or personal?

    If you must use hotmail then Firefox and the adblock extension will sort out the ad intrusions with hotmail advertising. In fact all advertising. I never see any adverts on those websites I visit more than once.

    If Firefox will not render the hotmail site correctly because it is not W3C standards compliant, then there is an IE tab extension for Firefox. This embeds IE in a Firefox tab, allowing the opening of sites that only work with IE.

  29. Mike Silver badge

    IE embedding in Firefox


    If Firefox will not render the hotmail site correctly because it is not W3C standards compliant, then there is an IE tab extension for Firefox. This embeds IE in a Firefox tab, allowing the opening of sites that only work with IE.

    How's that work on a Mac, or *nix box?

    For those who say "on a Mac it could use IE", note that it would be using an older IE, which, given MSFT's level of dedication to backward compatibility, would be the worst of both worlds, neither standards compliant nor bug-for-bug compatible with whatever the HotMail weenies have on their desks.

  30. Phil Endecott

    If you're looking for a 'Web 2' webmail for your own server...

    If any readers are looking for a "Web 2" webmail app for their own server, may I suggest my own creation, Decimail Webmail? (

    It is an IMAP mail client written in Javascript that runs entirely on the browser. The IMAP communication is wrapped in HTTP by a simple proxy on the server, so server load should be kept low while responsiveness should be high.

    It does, however, have plenty of bugs - not least of which is not working at all on Internet Explorer! More users would help accelerate development.

    (If you're looking for something more stable, I think that Zimbra is probably the best of the rest.)


  31. Keith Doyle

    Their spam filter is a complete joke

    Week after week, for months and months I get the same crappy spam messages from the same sources, always mark as "junk" but Hotmail NEVER recognizes it. They obviously don't even try to learn from what you mark as "junk"-- so what's even the point of doing that? I've now transitioned most of my Hotmail mail to gmail, and only use Hotmail for those immediate registration confirmation emails that I then expect to send junk. Which means even more junk is getting sent to the box, but that's all the service is worth, as a spam bit-bucket...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why bother?

    Why bother buying a subscription when you can get the same thing <roughly> for free (GMAIL)?

    Is it just me or M$ didn't think this through to carefully...

    Oh wait... they never do...

    oh well.

    Besides... hotmail has been trash for how long? I seriously doubt <in light of the release of Vista in comparison to XP and beyond> that "Windows Live" would be any better short of new graphics.

  33. steve lampros

    RE: It's all bunged up

    >>> I just do not understand how they do it, I'm sure they must have a bright bunch of guys working for them, they much surely test the speed of their cumbersome clients... Surely??????

    sorry Matt, you've no idea how it works up at M$: if you're having a problem with a computer on their campus, their only "fix" is to reimage the box. now HOW MANY companies do you know that take care of their computer issues that way?

    and another thing: every box at M$ is a top of the line, faster than crap box; they have no idea what REAL PEOPLE with REAL COMPUTERS do with their products.

    sorry to burst that bubble :-)

    can anyone up there prove me wrong? no i don't think so.

  34. adnim

    With Mac or *nix


    I see your point, my appologies to Mac and *nix users for not thinking it through. However, If I used a Mac or a *nix OS on my regular PC, a micro$oft site would probably be my last port of call. Especially with the existence of Gmail an Yahoo mail amongst others.

  35. john Jones

    offline OUTLOOK suport when ???

    when oh when are they going to do offline outlook support

    one of the reasons people are STILL using outlook express

  36. john

    It still is mediocre

    The new interface and functionality is still way behind GMail. Oh, I love the huge adds too.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another nail in the coffin

    I've used hotmail from the very beginning and can still rememebr the bragging that went on as the user count grew.

    I remember the sell out to MS and the promises that were made about no degradation, continue to be free and so on.

    Within a few months, the enter key no longer worked when using netscape to enter your id/password, you needed to click on the button, but enter still worked in ie.... Then came many emails trying to get me to upgrade - and pay for the priviledge, the main plus was the extended mail box size... Then came the logoff forcing you into MSN and the blocking of pop3 access, and linking hotmail access to the generic MS userid. Not to mention trying to get me to convert from to a local hotmail address. The crap spam filter, although played up by MS, was just that - crap, many senders, despite being reported hundreds of times as spam remained as direct entrants to my in box and continued to cost me time as I junked them for the nth time.

    Well the new user interface is crap, wastes a lot of space on my laptop screen and insists in sending the mailbox in a strange order. One thing seems to be an improvement - less spam, but it doesn't go into my junk folder - so either hundreds of spammers are now defeated - or MS is trashing many emails arbitrarily. The previous comments about false positives worry me - in the past they went in my junk folder, now they disappear. I wonder what I'm missing?

    It's getting a lot worse - slow and crappy. The new interface is a clear downgrade - goodness knows what the beta testers have been thinking - or if MS listened to them. Eventually it has to die...

    Even so I'll continue with hotmail - it's accessible worldwide - and it's part of the social tax MS needs to pay for ripping us off for their other software for so long. Crap it may be, but as a fixed, constant email address across country moves, ISP moves and so on, it's served me well & I'm proud that I signed up in the really early days when hundreds of thousands of users was a big thing.

  38. Marc

    Something is odd...

    I've been using Hotmail, with my '' address, for a number of years. I think I got pulled into Hotmail when MS bought them out. Either way - I have not once seen anything even close to being an ad displayed when viewing mail...

    I've got a friend who was recently complaining about ads he gets "in hotmail". This was over IM, and I didn't get a chance to have him elaborate. Either way, he's got a '' address.

    Are there differences in peoples experiences based upon whether or not they have an address registered under msn, or under hotmail?

  39. Jenny


    I don't care what people say, Hotmail is still arse.

  40. Mike

    Lovely Spam....

    I moved away from hotmail (eventually to gmail) because of the spam. Hotmail were either selling my email address, or just not providing good enough security. I confirmed this when I set up a random (unguessable) hotmail account, told no-one about it, and it still filled up with spam. This was before they had spam filtering, so things may have changed.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like