back to article Hotmail holdouts grumble about 'pathetic' new interface

Microsoft isn’t having much luck with the redesign of Hotmail, which is currently playing havoc with thousands of user’s emails. The software giant has, er, “thanked” nearly 2,000 frustrated Hotmail peeps who have complained about the new interface. Some are unable to view their inbox, while others have lost their sent items …


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  1. Steven
    Thumb Down

    Thanks Microshaft

    I use live mail at home but cant at work so check my email through the web interface which I normally have open only on a small portion of the screen. The new 'framed' look messes this up as I cant scroll down to see my actual emails without making the window bigger, rater frustrating. You also cant just empty your junk email with one click like you used to you now actaully have to go into it to delete it (great security guys)!

  2. Anonymous Coward

    We expected different?

    Let's face it, they are only doing what they always do. Sling a new product out into the market without adequate testing or real, tangible feedback and let the users make sense of it all. At least Microsoft are being consistant!

    The difference here is that Hotmail didn't start life as a Microsoft product and its users are not necessarily Microsoft devotees. If it goes wrong, the howl is that little bit louder. It has been many years since they broke the original interface and they never really learn from their mistakes.

    Sounds like another bit of Microsoft kit we are all familiar with, doesn't it?

  3. Simon C

    Have MS poached Sonys PR staff

    Seems to be another conglomerate joining the line of those royally shafting their consumer base, either intentionally or unintentionally.

    Still has to be said, alls fair in love and war, and given that hotmail is a free service, you've been awarded the pea-shooter as your weapon of choice.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    It's free...

    so what possible influence do people think they have over what Microsoft decide to do with it? No amount of blogging, whining, question and exclamation marks is going to change MS's mind.

    No doubt there's a Facebook group demanding they put the old version back, just like there's a Facebook group of people demanding that that site revert to its former appearance. Ain't gonna happen.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Hotmail on Linux

    How's that work then? I've tried to get into LukewarmMail using my moby equipped with Opera For Mobiles, and it just fails to display anything once logged in. I guessed because it was IE-tied.

    And I use only HM as a spare account for dubious surfage, not for my PRIMARY email (which I pay for). Anyone who whines about it's inadequacies should consider how much they pay for it... :-O

  6. Laxman

    I like it

    and noone cares about the people who like MS products, so... whatever.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    I've had to install firefox 3 on my wife's Aspire One netbook for her to be able to send emails from the new hotmail interface. Firefox 2 allowed reading of some emails but not replying to or creating new emails. Of course she thinks it's all linux's fault but she also dislikes the new interface quite a lot.

  8. Chris G

    Short of money?

    Microshaft must be getting a bit short, on my hotmail now It is impossible to scroll away from the banner ad at the top of the inbox page which is obviously what the whole thing is about. No improvement for any one's benefit but MS. I wouldn't mind but it looks crap and old fashioned, is slower so massive FAIL for MS.

  9. tuna
    Dead Vulture

    The Newest T'bird/Webmail Patch Works...

    with the new Luke-Warm Mail.

    TGFT, cuz I had hundreds of mails to download/backup(25@ a time?). I'll continue to inform my correspondents of the move away from my long-standing('98) HM account.

    Hello darkness, my old friend...

  10. thomasthetanker
    Paris Hilton

    There's always one...

    And this time its me!

    Nice features, I've had a bash, quite happy, works well for me,

    Paris - because she also got "Nice features, I've had a bash"

  11. Barry

    Bad? It's unusable (for me+Ubunutu+Firefox)

    If you try to use and your O/S of choice is Ubuntu, and your browser of choice is Firefox, then hotmail is entirely broken!!

    You can browse/read your email. But, you cannot 'click' in the message area for newmails.

    Apparently, if you 'fake' your useragent as IE it works fine. Go figure.

  12. RW

    Reminds me of eBay

    eBay has changed the semantics of its search so a carefully tailored search argument for very specific items now throws back in your face all manner of non-hits. If the object of your desires is uncommon — and the longer the argument string, the more likely it is — you end up having to scan the hits visually, thereby eliminating the utility of a search function.

    I hardly bother with eBay since they did this. Yes, you can invoke the old search, but it requires clicking through multiple screens and simply isn't worth the effort.

    Hotmail and eBay both violate a fundamental rule of website design: design it for the users, not for your own internal needs. No one cares about those!

    Fuck eBay. And fuck Microsoft.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    <<“We're reading all of your comments, and we’re working on fixing many of the issues that we're hearing matter most to you,” wrote Windows Live Hotmail program manger Ellie Powers yesterday.


    I love these responses. From experience I've found it means "you all can go $$£$% yourselves, we'll put in what we can get away with; now leave me the $$%$£ alone. Luser."

  14. John Young
    Paris Hilton

    Oh dear

    Why can't people stop moaning, its free ffs. Ok, the paid customers should have a choice, but us peeps who use it as a free service shouldn't moan about it...

    PH: Cos I Can !!!

  15. fixit_f
    Thumb Up

    My missis uses hotmail and I have it working fine under linux.

    You have to look at the general.useragent.vendor parameter that your browser reports itself as. Needs to be set to "Firefox" rather than a distro specific version. This fixed the problem for us - although the problem was simply certain components (like the message pane) not working.

  16. djh

    boohoo I've lost my business critical information...

    To all those complaining about lost business critical data on a free mail hosting service - TOUGH. Maybe now you'll learn the importance of paying for continuity and take responsibility for your business critical assets.

    using hotmail for business is a ridiculous idea...

  17. Richard Porter
    Thumb Down

    I wouldn't touch hotmail with a bargepole

    but I still have to put up with broken replies from other people using this godforsaken service. The quoted text comes out on one line with indent strings inserted where the newlines should be, but no newlines.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    @Hotmail on Linux

    It works just fine in linux (apart from it telling me I need to upgrade my browser, but I've gotten used to ignoring that message).

    And as AC stated above, it wasn't the spawn of MS when I signed up (and, unlike my experience with gmail, was able to get a sensible looking e-mail address!!) so yes we are a little entitled to be miffed MS are taking it further and further under their live wing!

    If I'd had my clairvoyant hat on the day I signed up I'd have gone for another free alternative (although how far away from the MicroHoo! conglomerate are we?), but it was at the dry cleaners.

  19. Michael
    Dead Vulture


    "Those rare creatures out there who use Linux and have a Hotmail account can only currently access the full working version of their email via the mobile version..."

    Fedora Core 9, Firefox 3, just opened my hotmail inbox and it displays everything fine. Or as fine as it gets with the new design anyway.

    Still insists that I need to upgrade my browser every time I sign in though.

  20. Bruno Girin

    @AC Hotmail on Linux

    I don't know about mobiles but on a Linux laptop, hotmail will open in Firefox. However, it complains that FF is not the latest version, even though it is (which means they are sniffing the use agent string and getting it wrong). There have been reports that it's broken with Opera though. Nothing new there: as usual MS have completely ignored any web standard in designing their new interface and have been using their own standards instead. If they can't build a browser that follows web standards, what are the chances they can build a web site that does?

    That said, I don't particularly care, I moved my main web email away from HM a long time ago due to their pathetic spam filter. I only use it as a spam honey pot now.

    And as for people who say that because it's free, MS doesn't have to care, think again. The basic service is free but they have extended features that you pay for. Also, if they start losing users (note, I didn't say customers) through something stupid like this, that's one less avenue they can use to lock people in and cross sell other products so they'll want to make sure they limit discontent.

  21. Inachu

    ARRRRGH! I hate it too much!

    Not only the redesign but ever since Microsoft took over they made it mandatory to sign in using an email address....... That is like so lame.

    Major props to microsoft for being a N00B.

  22. Jodo Kast

    Great response from MS

    "because of these performance improvements it is no longer necessary to offer the classic version."

    Nice excuse there! Too bad nobody buys it!

  23. Peter Simpson
    Jobs Horns

    I suppose

    "just leave it alone" isn't an option for MS? Hotmail was fine for years. It was a good, basic, web mail service. Now that MS has bought them, it's one "improvement" after another. You'd almost think they're *trying* to break it in as many ways as possible...

  24. jim
    Thumb Down

    I've seen the future, and it's advertising

    Ultimately, all "free" services like Hotmail are about pushing ads. The idea is that the longer you use the service, the harder it would be to leave, hence the more ads you'll put up with. The ad banners will continue to get bigger and more intrusive.

  25. Captain DaFt

    RE: It's free...

    "So what possible influence do people think they have over what Microsoft decide to do with it? No amount of blogging, whining, question and exclamation marks is going to change MS's mind."

    Maybe when the users leave in droves, they'll pay attention?

    Actually, the only users for years now have been the die-hard old timers, newbies, spammers and people just wanting a throw away address to feed the "you must enter a valid email here" line.

    Way back when, I had a hotmail address for about a month, and the spam on my other email accounts went through the roof! So I abandoned it, and eventually, the spam dropped back down.

    As for the complaints about hotmail's spam filters, I thought they were excellent.

    I always found all my legitimate mail in the spam folder, and all the spam in my inbox! (I wish I was joking here, but I'm not.)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trust me I know what we are doing

    Of course this is the same Microsoft that promises us that Windows 7 will be ever so much better than Vista. We have learned lessons they claim ...... NOT!

  27. Stuart

    Hold the boos, but congrats to Microsoft

    As someone commented above you are out of luck with least...I was until yesterday. It appears that all those fine, upstanding, dilligent, incredible bods at Microsoft worked and solved this one. Yes, we may complain about the lack of testing AKA the Google beta release approach, but Props are due, for once. I love you Microsoft - a phrase I thought I'd never utter. Oh BTW the new interface's suckiness is only highlighted by it working:-)


  28. J
    Gates Horns

    @It's free...

    "so what possible influence do people think they have over what Microsoft decide to do with it?"

    True, although that happens when you pay (too much) for their stuff too.

  29. Will

    To those who say "it's free - you get what you pay for"

    While perhaps it's in some ways a reasonable argument, email addresses are increasingly becoming part of our identity. It's no trivial thing to change your email address, so if you've signed up for a service, then someone else comes along and buys that service, then screws with it, it means you're locked into something you didn't sign up for.

    Personally I think it will be interesting to see how personal email address ownership develops. Unlike your phone number, you obviously can't take it with you when you go somewhere else as it's tied to the domain. However a personally owned transferable email address (possibly have some kind of digital signature and an overall "email address routing service") would be quite an interesting prospect. It would be good if we could jump our accounts between yahoo, hotmail, gmail etc. dependent on who was offering the best deal.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A Microshaft product that doesn't work? Whatever next?

  31. Adrian Esdaile

    If you don't like it...

    ...why not ask for your money back?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Replace "Hotmail" with "Vista" or "Office 2k7's interface" and you've got the same whining you get EVERY SINGLE TIME MS makes a change to a service. I expect we'll get the same whining when the new 360 interface is released too.

    If you don't like the way MS does business, why are you using their service? It's not as though hotmail is even that good. If you've seriously got important mail in a hotmail account, and you can't figure out how to retrieve it, you deserve what you get.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If you change an email interface for a set of users, even if it's for the better, a small but loud minority will bitch about it. This *always* happens. Thankfully, they all shut up about it in the end. People don't like change.

  34. Oliver
    Paris Hilton


    On the subject of eBay, I've had several angry Email exchanges with them about the new search functionality and my listings not being returned against sensible search criteria. It stinks! Why do these numbnuts always ignore the golden rule - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. For Webmail I use Yahoo! and still using the classic interface, I'd drop it quick if they ever forced me to use the new interface.

    Paris, because she ain't broke.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I'm a paid customer and...

    Well, I'm a paying customer, paying £15/year. (Long, long story as to why)

    I can use it just fine in Firefox and I see no ads.

    But the new interface is shite although I can live with it. But like others I'm a pre MSN-out user of Hotmail and I would love to go back to that. It worked so much better then.

    I used to use it on a 56k dialup (averaging 3K/sec), now I use it on 256K/sec broadband and it's slower, I think.

    Anonymous as I didn't want to be lynched for owning up to paying for it!

  36. bob_blah
    Thumb Down

    Software is supposed to improve over time right?

    When I first connected to the net in 1997, one of my first actions was getting a take-anywhere email address, so I signed up for a hotmail account. It was still owned by Jack Smith then, and it was great - fast, reliable and did everything you could do in PINE.

    How is is that after eleven years of development, they have only managed to make it slower, more frustrating and difficult to use?

  37. Antoinette Lacroix


    Never had a Hotmail account, but all the fuzz made me curious. So I registered, and used it with Opera on FreeBSD, and Opera Mini on a Motorola Z8. It works perfectly and the UI makes sense. Can't see what's so bad about it.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Definate step backwards

    I use hotmail on Mac OS running Firefox and it "works" fine. The new inferface is much harder to read than the old one and definately has less functionality. I have been using it for years as a convenient free mail address that doesn't need to change when switching ISPs but the new interface is so bad I'm thinking of putting up with the pain in the arse of moving contacts to a new address rather than put up with the new interface.

    Microsoft's new font looks awful, it looks terribly compressed and there is no real visual distinction between the various frames on the page so it looks very messy and confused. It's like Microsoft's approach to "clear type" on some of their products along the lines of "our surveys say its better so we're not allowing you to switch it off".

    Microsoft are completely losing the plot on interfaces, if I remember rightly they even change the display properties screens in XP (nice use of tabs keeping all options together) to totally separate control panel items with, how is that better also?

    Microsoft = f'ing idiots

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Possible work around for some people

    As one of the rare Linux/Hotmail users ..

    Provided a user has had a hotmail account for a certain amount of time prior to MS removing web-dav access, there is a workaround to avoid using the horrible UI of hotmail.

    If your account was created after this time, the following won't work, however if your account *predates* the switch over, your`re in luck.

    [Receiving mail]

    Hotwayd provides a pop3 interface to hotmail, configured as part of Xinetd

    You'll need to configure it, here is my /etc/xinet.d/hotwayd

    service hotwayd


    # comment out following if you want other hosts to access your gateway

    only_from = localhost

    socket_type = stream

    wait = no

    user = nobody

    port = 6667

    server = /usr/sbin/hotwayd

    # uncomment following if you're behind a proxy

    # server_args = -p http://quadbrsprx:8080

    # -u proxy_user -q proxy_password

    log_on_success += USERID

    log_on_failure += USERID

    disable = no


    Now that you have this you can configure any pop3 client to grab your mail from localhost:6667 , you can't send mail via hotmail's smtp gateway for some reason, so this is only a partial solution.

    [Sending Mail]

    I tend to use my isp's smtp gateway and forge the headers on the mail using nbsmtp which has all params passed on the command line, here's mine with user/pass changed.

    I just added this to my ~/.muttrc

    set sendmail="/usr/bin/nbsmtp -U -P myisp-password-with-special-chars-escaped -d -h -f"

    Hope it helps


  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    and I will change the interface as much as I want. I like it and no matter if there are thousands of you I will keep it how it is


    MSN Designer of the wonderful new user interface that everyone will love, you will obey, you will obey

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS not the only ones having such problems

    Yahoo have also managed to make a huge bungle with their 'Profiles' - - upwards of 2500 user comments, almost universally negative. Excite e-mail (also managed to vex what little users they may still have with their 'upgrade' back in the summer. Surely there are rick pickings here for a Jakob Nielsen et al case study.....

  42. Anonymous Coward

    who cares

    all the whingers and whiners out there jumping on the 'lets say MS are cr@p' bandwagon, ITS FREE YOU DON'T PAY ANYTHING

    don't like it go to another free mail service or flying spaghetti monster forbid, pay money.

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