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How to Survive the Hotmail to Outlook.com 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: Outlook.com. While there’s nothing fundamentally different about the way you’ll use Outlook.com 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 Outlook.com 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 @hotmail.com, @msn.com or @live.com email address, you don’t have to change it. Some users may have the option to start using an @outlook.com email address instead, but this isn’t required.

I Don’t Like Outlook.com. Can I Switch Back to Hotmail ?

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

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 Outlook.com 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 Outlook.com 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 Outlook.com 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 Outlook.com run more smoothly. You can find it here: http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/

3. We understand your frustrations with Outlook.com, 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 Outlook.com. Inconvenient as it may be, Outlook.com 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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320 Responses »

  1. Why when I try use my hotmail address to buy things online for a number of thing off different websites it tells my my email address is not valid?

  2. Have you introduced a way to “manage folders?” I need to change some folders to sub-folders and there does not seem to be a way to do this.

  3. Hello
    I have trouble while sign in to hotmail
    From the first time i did put the correct password and now because I am signed already on my iPhone ,iPad,samsung and laptop it tell me that maybe other is using my email
    but no
    and now it gave me a date 19\9\2014 until that if I didn’t know my information I cannot sign !
    but I really don’t use my recovery email because I forgot the password years ago
    what should I do
    and it send me a code on my phone when i put it it says wrong code !!

    please help !!

  4. Could someone call me and tell me how to have my email back without trying to con me out of money 5033685220 you all have highjacked my account by asking me for a code and then sending me on a merrygoroud that never ends. Why do you keep screwing with us old dinasaurs who don’t understand this crap and just want to have their email account

  5. how can I get my mail from my Hotmail over to my outlook a/c

  6. I tired of verify my acc, my phone number 0168362571 I been block. So now I’m using new phone 0168170751. U can’t verify it, because need my los number to verify it. How to I do. Can you help can you change this verify number can you do it can you please.

      • Jason,

        I have the same problem, can you help me please?

        Someoe hacked my hotmail account, when i tried to recover, they asked to enter my last phone number, but i lost, or someone who has hacked may have changed with this / her number

        Please help. and thank you very much

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  1. Outlook.com versus Outlook Online in Office 365 « Tom Resing's SharePoint Blog

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