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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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338 Responses »

  1. To anyone locked out of their account who get the security code wait thing read on.
    Firstly let me tell you if you have gone through the help system and have been told to use a form and it hasn’t worked you will never ever get back into your account give up don’t bother open another.

    I had an account for many years it was linked to all my websites I used including youtube and even used for my ebay and paypal. At some point put in my password incorrectly a few times this was helped by the fact that when you change your email you cant ever use one you used before. I was told I needed to verify my account and it wanted to text me on a number I had 8 years before. After jumping through many hoops I got through to a support request so I messaged a actual person. They sent me a link to a form.

    The form is awesome. what you have to do is put down lots of information like address and previous passwords but you must not guess or it wont work.
    needles to say in ten years I have moved a few times so no idea what address they want I had about 3 accounts which passwords should I put/guess?
    Went back to the support team explained this they told me I had to use the form.
    I advised them in my account is my cv full name and address i can send them copies of id also on my youtube channel my username is my email address and my account uses the same email as does my paypal on my youtube is videos of me which again tie into my Id also all my emails are addressed to my name. I also explained that since i couldn’t sign in no one has ever signed in again ie the only person who is trying to use the account is me probably because its mine their reply was really helpful.

    “use the online form”

    months later many requests and messages the answer is always as above it doesn’t matter what i have lost to them or that the form cannot use common sense or logic.
    awful service so don’t bother trying. if they send you to the form its game over

  2. How do I get the old E-mail messages that I ha before it transition to outlook?

  3. My browser is Google Chrome. I mostly use Gmail for my mail, but I also
    use Hotmail for some business correspondence.
    For the last several week, when switching from Gmail to Hotmail,
    some strange data, looking like a core dump, appeared, followed by a
    “Refresh” request. Then things seemed to be normal for one session.
    For the last 2 weeks, not matter how I try to access my mail for Hotmail/Outlook.com,
    I get the message “this webpage is not available”.
    Thank you for any advice.
    Dorothea.

  4. Can t open my ps3 sign id in outlook it told me doesn t exist. But on playstation network i can go online.any help??

  5. locked out of hotmail 15 weeks of their security crap round and round in circles
    outlook is crap without buying up hotmail it would not survive

  6. how come when I send attachment, then go back and look at them they have all of the attachment’s linked together from every email that I have sent?

  7. i am trying to log in to Hotmail on my iphone. it says that the imap mail is wrong so I cant log in – how do I log in any ideas?

    • When you set up the account, try entering the following IMAP settings:

      Host name: imap-mail.outlook.com
      User name: [your hotmail email account]
      Password: [your hotmail password]

      Hope this helps!

  8. In my opinion, MS Outlook is better than Hotmail or Outlook web access. It stores all kind of information like contacts, emails, attachments and calendars in Outlook PST file.

  9. I must have tried to log in about 50 times, and everytime I have to go through security, codes, last four digits, new code etc. it has been 4 months and I give up! Just when I get in the next time same bs.

  10. I had similar problem on an HP laptop but could sign in on another PC without a problem. Read every forum going and tried their suggestions without success. In the end I went into control panel, internet properties, security and clicked on “Reset all zones to default level”. Re-signed into msn.com and followed sign-in procedures. Problem solved.

  11. I am missing a whole bunch of folders that I stored past correspondence in. Is anybody experiencing that? I need this stuff!!!

    • I am missing everything that was in my email account!It is completely wiped out all of my folders emails and pictures! I am frustrated and upset just like you and I am waiting on an email back from administrators because I don’t know what happened

  12. Hello everyone , if i type in at the top, Hotmail.com or outlook ,it says the page is loading,then it says its done, but the page is just white,,i cant get to the page were u enter your email and password,,anybody els have this problem?? anyone know how to fix it? i need to get to my emails!!!
    thankyou!

  13. Nice post, i have got lots of information from here. good work. Thanks.

  14. 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?

  15. 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.

  16. 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 !!

  17. 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

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

    • I meant my old and current e-mail

      • If you didn’t log in with your @hotmail address for over 1 year, it’s possible that Microsoft may have deleted your account. Do you think this was the case?

      • Bill, this could be the case for me as I rarely used it, but have sent a test email to that address and got no error message back. Any suggestions on how to reactivate it?

  19. 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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