Tips, tricks and tutorials for the technology you use everyday

How to Survive the Hotmail to Transition

If you’re one of the over 300 million people who use Hotmail, you’ve probably noticed a lot of big changes in the past few weeks. Microsoft has recently upgraded its popular webmail service to a new interface and a new website: While there’s nothing fundamentally different about the way you’ll use to send and receive emails, the transition has been difficult for many users.

The new design presents a number of challenges. The flat, or modern, user-interface can make it hard to know exactly what to click. Contacts have been moved to People. Even worse, some old features may initially appear to be missing.

If you’re struggling with these recent changes, don’t panic! In many ways, the new is a much more powerful tool than the old Hotmail, but it may take a while to adjust. We’ll do our best to answer some of the most common questions about the transition and direct you to resources that can help you get started.

Do I Have to Get a New Email Address?

No. If you already have an, or email address, you don’t have to change it. Some users may have the option to start using an email address instead, but this isn’t required.

I Don’t Like Can I Switch Back to Hotmail ?

Unfortunately, you can’t. If you use Hotmail, you’ll need to access it through

Where Did My Contacts Go?

You contacts aren’t gone—they’ve just moved to a different place. To access your contacts, click the drop-down arrow in the toolbar and then select People.

Navigating to your Contacts

Navigating to your Contacts

From there, you’ll be able to manage your existing contacts, add new contacts, and create groups. Check out this lesson on Adding and Managing Contacts from our Microsoft Account tutorial to learn more about using the new contacts interface.

Where Can I Go for Help?

If you still have questions about the transition, you may want to refer to the Migration FAQ page and the Microsoft Community Forum. There, you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions about the transition.

What are your concerns about the migration? Is there something you need help with? Let us know in the comments below!

UPDATE: August 19, 2013

I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone for all their comments and feedback below—as of last week, this article has received the most comments ever on our blog. We’re always really excited to hear from you, so please keep those comments coming! I know that we haven’t been able to answer all of your questions, but we’ll do our best to help when we can!

I’d also like to add just a few points that I think will be helpful to those reading to this article for the first time.

1. If isn’t working correctly for you, make sure you’re using a modern web browser, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer 9 or 10, if possible.

2. Make sure you have Microsoft Silverlight installed on your computer. This will help run more smoothly. You can find it here:

3. We understand your frustrations with, and we’re happy for you to post them below. However, I’d like to clarify that we are not affiliated with Microsoft—there’s nothing we can do or say to make Microsoft reconsider the switch to Inconvenient as it may be, is here to stay.

If you have a specific criticism that you’d like to address with Microsoft, please direct it to the Microsoft Community Forum.

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301 Responses »

  1. Where can I find my old emails that are much needed,

  2. I can no longer access my hotmail account. My access to my account, which 6′veI had for about 12 years, has been pretty sketchy for the past few months. And now I hotmail has thrown me into an endless “security check” loop. It’s impossible for me to get out of it. SO I guess it is no good bye hotmail. I will not try to open another Outlook based or Hotmail based account. If this is what MS Corporation does to clients, why bother?

  3. I agree with the census of opinion in that I also believe Outlook to be rubbish. In my case it appears to be complicating my email accounts and even saying it is sending code numbers to a Hotmail address that ceased to exist when Hotmail was replaced by Outlook.

    Even if that email address still exists I cannot sign in to it.

  4. How can I access my old hotmail accounts? The sign in area keeps saying that email address doesn’t exist. I tried it with the on the end as well as the original

  5. I personally dont like how hotmail had to change to outlook :( I mean hotmail was fine on its own :/ So now I just changed to using gmail, and I can tell you all its WAY better then the new outlook. c:

  6. I’ve had my Hotmail account for as long as I remember… since AOL! I am now blocked from trying too many times to get in. 24 hrs! Another thing I tried was to say I’d been hacked. That takes 30 days! I worked with a computer expert to the tune of 199.95 and we have to wait until 4:00 tomorrow after when she calls me back to help me get in. This is making me sicker than I already am. I’m elderly and disabled and my computer is my best friend as I’m mostly sitting or laying in bed. No family around and that is rough! At least I could go on email and get copies of stuff I order, mail I send and receive, all my genealogy which is in a folder. I have tons of personalized folders! They include very personal info. I pray they aren’t gone forever. Well, will try tomorrow to see how it goes and will check back in. I’m going to use my Hotmail address so that may help…. will keep you updated after I get into the account!


  7. 5 degit security number .
    Who can help
    e -mail address who will gelp

  8. Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my
    facebook group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your
    content. Please let me know. Thank you

  9. Where is my picture folder in outlook it was in hotmail.

  10. Outlook has caused me nothing but trouble. I am constantly not receiving emails from certain people – PEOPLE ON MY SAFE LIST FOR CHRISSAKES. Hotmail worked. IDIOTS.

  11. Workround for the Call us overprotective… problem.
    select ‘I cant verify my account’
    Select no
    select cancel
    select edit (dosn’t matter which one)
    from the pulldown at the top select outlook
    this gets you onto your Hotmail account
    I hope Microsoft don’t read this and use the info to block us more effectively!
    If they do, open an account with gmail!

    • Tried it it didn’t work I wasn’t offered outlook pull down

      • Additional to my last message, I decided to try the work around again, but when I signed in to hotmail in my normal way it opened as it used to and gave me access to all my mail. I dealt with it then signed out and tried to sign in again and it went straight in again.

        Have they suddenly realised what a cock up they had made and reverted to the old system – I don’t know but I’m getting everything out of there while I can.

    • Dear Pete
      This workaround worked for me – thanks!

    • Thank you so much, I have been checking forums and trying lots of ways in the last 2 weeks to get my hotmail account back and this is a complete success … and so quick. You are a true star :).

    • I tried and no work for me!!!! :(

  12. I too have had the “Call us overprotective…” problem as well as being asked some unanswerable questions when I tried to access Hotmail or outlook or whatever the current name is from a remote computer. Until I visited this site I assumed that I was the victim of a malware attack, well I guess I am! Microsoft are trying to persuade me to let them have all of my data on the cloud, I would have to be crazy!!

  13. this is very confusing I haven’t been able to get my mail for over a week now and I try to log in and its always telling me its the wrong email or password and its what ive LWAYS USED. im so pissed at this and then they ask you to put in a number on the account to send message to it say your last 4 digits PLUS 50 that’s 6 numbers only let ya put 4 whats up with that !!!!!!!!!! NOT IMPRESSED AT ALL AND NO the contacts are gone I cant get them ive done everything to retrieve them but NOPE

  14. No solution yet anyone ? for the ….over protective infamous 4-digit Microsoft code which does NOT work ?? as it then tells U as you enter it that it should be 5 digits; tried and tried and tried to no avail. I am climbing walls .how can I possibly talk to or contact microsoft. I tried once, it transferred me to Omnitech who wanted $349. No thank you.

    • If I don’t get some satisfaction, I am going to go to yahoo and Gmail. It will take some work, but right now, I am willing to get started. Right now my iPad says I am using the wrong password and I haven’t changed it. Also, when I put in “Mary” for my name it calls me “Microsoft”.

  15. Call us overprotective – cannot get into hotmail/outlook even when providing security question and changing password!!! getting to be 2 weeks!!!

  16. I also Can not access my Hotmail account via computer or any other “log in” I get emails to my smart phone but can not access the desktop site. I get the message “Call us overprotective” I fill out the information I get the verification codes sent to my alternate email but none of the codes work. today it has said I used too many codes try again tomorrow. This is soo frustrating I have been trying to access my account for 2 weeks. Seems the only option I have to to select suspend my account for 30 days which is utterly ridiculous since I have provided all the necessary info and the alternate email and received the codes but nothing works. Please fix this, how inconvenient.

    • same problems – but I don’t have an email that is not associated with outlook so they take me back to the same spot – call us overprotective…

  17. I’m can use my email can’t log in my hp number to verify not in use +60196001089 already change to +601118662622. How is want to activate my acc cause my facebook account also using this email in can’t log in please help me … Thanks n given me solutions for this matter.

  18. I cant get to my long time hotmail account or my contacts. It says to sign in and when I do, they say my password or username and address is wrong. It is the one I have had for years. I am really disgusted about this. I use windows vista home baasic.

  19. Bill, how do I get all of my previous hotmail contacts back when they switched from hotmail to Outlook. All I see on here is that they have Bern moved to the people section in Outlook but there is nothing there except for some Facebook contacts.

  20. Please allow me to access my hotmail account in order to retrieve my contacts and very important email messages that were kept for a reason, also pictures I need. Is there any way you can forward my contact list to my new outlook account. This will be highly appreciated. My hotmail account is the same as the outlook account

  21. How do I sign in? Do I go to outlook .com on the title bar, then enter my hotmail address and password ? Then carry on a usual? Because if I change email address to outlook , then all my official docu with hotmail address will b bill n void. !! I can’t afford that to happen .PLEASE HELP. I HAVEN’T HAD ACCESS FOR THE PASS WEEK…

  22. Today we are unable to access our account. They eMailed us, to another account a 4 digit CODE but that one only takes a 5 digit Code. Frustrating! I guess the only solution is to forget HOTMAIL and go with G-Mail.

  23. Same as some other complainers, I keep getting a 4 digit code and it asks for a 5 digit. Dont give me the excuse about telephone numbers, the code is clearly labelled in the body of the mail.
    You have obviously made a complete mess of this, fortunately I am able to get in on the 4 day delay and am transferring everything away to gmail. If hotmail is not sorted out soon I will close my account (after 15 years or more).
    I will have to give my gmail address for contact Hotmail is too unreliable.

  24. im trying to verify my account on my new laptop , i actually bought another laptop but took it back and got another one instead cuz i thought the problem was with the laptop but im having the same problem .
    “out look” wont send me a code when i try to verify my account on my laptop, i thought that i might not have my settings to where i get emails from microsoft , i signed in on my tablet , had to go through the process and it worked on my tablet but it wont send me a code , how do i get past this ???????

    • I’ve seen other comments saying tablets work ok and mine does, so I guess those “clever” people at microsoft haven’t realised that a large proportion of hotmail users use it on laptops/desktops.

      As you can see I have moved to gmail and using the 4 day stay of execution am transferring my archives, I’ve already moved all my Yahoo groups from hotmail – although Yahoo are4 making stupid changes as well.

      What is wrong with these people have they never heard the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

  25. I can’t get into my Hotmail and I think this is the worst change made without making it easy for people to recover their information. HOW WRONG CAN YOU TREAT PEOPLE.

  26. i cannot access my e – mails since outlook has taken over. I do get the ‘drop down for people contacts etc. but the red e-mail ‘drop down’ just shows a blank screen – please help.

  27. I was trying to find out how to change my phone number on my hotmail account and clicked ‘change security info’. instead I messed up big time and now I can’t access my mail or microsoft account at all. i get re-directed to answer if ‘it was me’ and then they ask for the 4 digits of my phone number and they will send a code. I cant get passed this step because the number is not in use! i know the digits but they are sending the code to a number that does not exist. whatever I do I get back to this same thing. even when i try click contact, i get re-directed there. please help, i need access my mail .taxes are soon due and i have all my info on mail

  28. Emais can appear on my phone anymore. i go on internet and see my mail but cant open them up.

  29. Please allow me to access my hotmail account in order to retrieve my contacts. Or you can forward my contact list to my new outlook account. This will be highly appreciated. My hotmail account is the same as the outlook account.

    • Your old Hotmail contacts should appear in your new Outlook account, as long as you’re signing in with your old Hotmail information. To access your contacts, click the drop-down arrow in the toolbar and then select People.

      • Hi Bill, I have tried to log on to hotmail, lets me log on but the screen is blank. I dont have any pop up or the like to enter any number and I havent been given an number to enter. How do we get to see our screens again? I have bills to pay that are in there and I dont have details to pay. Thanks Donna

      • If isn’t working correctly for you, make sure you’re using a modern web browser, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer 9 or 10, if possible.

        2. Make sure you have Microsoft Silverlight installed on your computer. This will help run more smoothly. You can find it here:

  30. what’s this ask for a code and you give 4 digit when you want 5. Tried 8 time to reset password
    what is up??????? Can’t get anywhere or any help. Also had for 20 year and not had so much
    problem recovering password. Microsoft hacked my Hotmail!!!!! You know it’s me you know that.
    where do you get answers???????????????

  31. I don’t use Hotmail often but I’ve just tried to log in…I’ve been asked for my Microsoft account number. I didn’t know I had one! Where would I find this? Help appreciated

  32. I cannot access my Hotmail account at all and I am not happy. I go through the whole procedure of “call us overprotective” and I ask for a code which they send as a four digit code. When I try to input this code it says it should be a five digit code. HELP as I need to access my emails

  33. I cannot access my hotmail account, from a different computer without playing 20 questions, several times & without success. I have had this account for nearly 20 yrs. & have not had these problems until recently. I do not have any top secret stuff in there, only email, junk & a few jokes. Do they not want my business anymore? I will enter my email below, but cannot access account! Is there someone who can help?

  34. i logged into my hotmail account after a looooong time becoz my facebook account wanted to confirm my email address. WTF! i cant see any email at all

  35. Spent all day trying to find my contacts in Hotmail and e-mails. Can’t get into e-mail, can’t move contacts. This stinks

  36. Hi I can’t log in to my Hotmail. I have tried several times. I have had codes sent but they are always 4 digits & it always tells me I need to enter a 5 digit code. How do I fix this? Thank you.

    • Hi Jane,

      Make sure you are entering the code that’s found in the body of the text message, not the phone number in the header of the message. Take a look at the picture in the link below from Microsoft support to see the difference:

      Please let me know if this works!

      • Bill, I use internet explorer, windows 7. I cant get access to Hotmail acct either. No matter what I try I don’t get anywhere wont even accept my phn # for a code. There is no support anywhere for this terrible issue along with others for a crappy up grade. Thanks for your help..

      • Hi
        Thank you. I am using the one given in the body of the email. It says your code is but it always is a 4 digit number. It does say if you are having trouble to have it come to your phone but I can’t see where it gives you the option to do this.


    • Same problem for me, a hopeless situation: a 4-digit code was sent to my alternative email address (in the body of the text), but Outlook/Hotmail wants a 5-digit code to let me log in. When I try to log into my Outlook account, it says: “Call us overprotective…” Indeeed, overprotective they are, and pathologically so. At every new request of my code I now get the response that I have already asked too many times for a code this week, and that I should try again next week. Do they really expect me to live without Hotmail access for a full week? They must be braindead!

      Clearly a case of utter incompetence from Outlook/Hotmail. They should get rid of this extra code BS altogether. I have been using the same hotmail address for over 20 years, and never had any problem that would have required this “security” code BS. Also, I don’t see why I should be forced to give Outlook/Hotmail more ID information than, well, my Hotmail address. If someone really looses his/her password, they should be able to request a new password via a Hotmail website; no need to share with Outlook/Hotmail additional email addresses, phone numbers, other ID information, etc.

  37. I cant get into my hotmail account on my computer, but I can on my laptop, it wants to send a code to my phone….am I going to have to pay for this? I just want to get into my account, I don’t want microsoft or anyone else dictate if I can get in or not….if I get hacked then it is on my shoulders….i HATE the new look…..I don’t want multiple emails attached to one…I try and forward an email and they get to see what else I have said.

    • Hi Linda,

      No, you shouldn’t have to pay for anything with your account unless you’ve previously signed up for extra storage. At this point, phone verification will be the best option for getting into your account.

      • The phone verification didn’t work for me. Still gave me a 4 digit number but requires 5. No sense replying by email, since I can’t get in. I wonder if Google did this?

  38. I have been all the time trusted hotmail, but now I discovered hotmail really did stupid thing to me. I HAVE LOST ALL MY OLD CONTACT, AND NO IDEA HOW TO GET THEM RECOVERED!!!!!!!

    • i have the same problem but unfortunately,i have lost all my contacts thanks to there stupid change to outlook.I have asked for help but nobody seems to know how to fix this and get all my old contacts back.All i am seeing is my facebook contacts.

  39. Pls help me out, its very URGENT and IMPORTANT, i tried to log into my outlook email account and it says my account doesn’t exist.

  40. How do I log into this new Microsoft outlook version using my old hotmail address? I have important emails in there I need asap!!!

  41. I am a new Outlook user. I have set up an account and moved my contact list to Outlook, but When writing an email I don’t have access to these email addresses. What do I have to do to make the contacts list available the Outlook email function?

    • Hi Leanne,

      When you’re writing an email, try clicking the To: field. This will open your Contacts list and any contacts you’ve added should appear there. Please let me know if this works!

      • that doesn’t work. any other way to get the addresses from “People” into the address book for Outlook?

      • Hi Rick,
        It’s possible that this may not work on some older web browsers. Are you using a newer web browser, like Google Chrome?

  42. Gracias por este post, de verdad que estaba buscando esto desde hace un tiempo y no lo encontraba tan bien explicado, saludos y excelente el sitio.

  43. This is ridiculous, I cannot get into my hotmail address at all. I have tried three different devices, to get into it and it will not download what so ever I am so furious about this I had pay stubs and emails that I need and my resume was on there so I could save it. What the hell do I do now? Thanks not very happy with this….

    • I have the same problem. help? I assume a response will be sent to the Hotmail account I can’t open.

    • I am NOT happy about this either, Sheena. I came home from a trip abroad yesterday and I am unable to get into my Hotmail account. I feel very angry about this! I had no warning whatsoever that this would happen. My whole life is stored in my Hotmail account. You can bet that I won’t be using an Outlook address. Microsoft is just TOO big to care. It seems ridiculous that there are boxes to check below that ask if I want to be notified of follow-up comments via e-mail. What e-mail?


  44. I can open my msn Hotmail live account — but cant read my emails help

  45. Hi! I can’t access my hotmail, when ever I sign in it doesn’t open & it looks like someone else is using as hotmail says so what can I do please? Help soon. Ok.

    • I have got the same problem. I’ve been trying for over a week now to get my Hotmail back and I am at breaking point. this is the 2nd time its happened to me. The email address they say is using my address is my son, Microsoft say they have sent him a code for me but he says he hasn’t received it. My friend is a computer expert it’s his job but still can’t get it back.

      • Absolute nightmare. I too have had my account for 20 years now I have to wait 30 days for Microsoft to get its finger out.
        All my bill and baking payments are linked to my account. All I can say is that I will be migrating elsewhere as soon as I can

      • I hired a tech and after three hours and 195.95, nothing!!!!! She is going to try to help me tomorrow again. I’m going to use my Hotmail addy and use new password! That should work

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