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.
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.