Do you remember using Microsoft Hotmail? Over the years, Microsoft has offered many cloud-based email services that have been renamed several times.
This rebranding becomes even more confusing when you trace Microsoft’s transition from Microsoft Hotmail to Live Mail and finally to Outlook for the web.
MSN Hotmail – What Happened?
In 1996, when web-based email services were just gaining popularity, Sabir Bhatia and Jack Smith launched the Hotmail web service. America Online (AOL) was the only other major postal service at the time.
It was one of the first cloud-based email services that allowed users to log into Hotmail through a fully functional web client that they could use through their web browser.
In 1997, Microsoft acquired Hotmail and renamed it MSN Hotmail.
MSN Hotmail has amassed a huge user base. Then, in 2005, Microsoft completely redesigned the entire webmail service and renamed it one product in its Windows Live offering. It was called Windows Live Hotmail.
For so many users, the transition took some time. Many users have complained about the changes. And for years, users kept searching Google for their Hotmail Login page, confused by the drastic redesign of Windows Live.
To complicate matters further, Microsoft dropped support for Windows Live Hotmail altogether (along with all Windows Live) in 2012.
In terms of cloud-based webmail, Microsoft has completely renamed Outlook.com again.
Outlook.com versus Outlook Desktop
Outlook.com, often referred to by users (erroneously) as Outlook Online, is Microsoft’s latest attempt to unify email services under a single brand known as Outlook.
Unfortunately, this confused users who were already accustomed to Microsoft’s desktop client, already known as Outlook.
Microsoft tried to simplify the transition by supporting all the different email accounts that users have used in each generation of their products, including:
- @ hotmail.com
- @ live. com
- @ passport.com
When other Microsoft users received emails from people with these accounts, they assumed they could also create their own email accounts with the same service. When they searched for the login page for Hotmail or Microsoft Live, they could no longer find those websites.
Even today, if you type “hotmail.com” or “live.com” into your web browser, you will be redirected to outlook.live.com, Microsoft’s current email service branded as Outlook.com.
Office 365 webmail
To complicate matters further, in 2011 Microsoft released a product known as Office 365.
This product was specifically marketed to companies looking for an easy way to provide employees with all the Office products they need through a simple enterprise subscription plan.
The confusion arises from the fact that in 2015, Microsoft merged desktop office products and its collection of web apps under a common Office 365 branding. Those web apps included the Outlook Mail web app.
If you were to go to Outlook.com and only sign up for an Internet email account with Microsoft, you will see the same web client interface that you will see if you sign up for an Office 365 subscription and use Outlook Mail Web App.
In fact, if you sign in with the same Microsoft account, you will see the same email inbox.
This is because ultimately the web-based email service that handles incoming and outgoing emails is called Outlook.com, and the web application itself is known as Outlook Mail, which is accessed through Office 365 or simply by visiting outlook. com.
Either way, the final URL you end up on is outlook.live.com.
Read email from your Outlook.com account using Outlook
If all this confuses you, then you are not alone.
Fortunately, there is one way to keep things tidy – just use the Outlook desktop client to receive all the emails that arrive in your Outlook.com account.
You can do this by enabling POP access in your Outlook.com account and then connecting your Outlook desktop client to receive email messages from this service.
Configure Outlook.com to allow POP connections
Sign in to your Outlook.com email account. Click on the gear icon next to your profile picture to enter your account settings. At the bottom of the Quick Settings pane, click View All Outlook Settings.
On the navigation bar of this pop-up window, click Sync Email. Scroll down to the POP and IMAP settings section.
In this window, configure the following settings:
- Set Allow devices and applications to use POP to Yes.
- Turn on Allow apps and devices to delete messages from Outlook.
- Pay attention to the POP and SMT settings.
- Click Save to confirm your changes.
Your Outlook.com account is now set up so that the Outlook desktop client can receive email messages from your web account.
Configure the desktop Outlook client
Open Outlook on your desktop PC.
If you are prompted to sign in to your Microsoft account, click Advanced options and select the Allow me to manually set up my account check box. Then click the “Connect” button.
In the pop-up window, select POP from the list of connections.
Note : Why not choose Office 365 or Outlook.com? If you do this, you will be able to read emails from your Outlook on the web account, but you won’t be able to force your email client to delete emails from that account.
Enter the password for your Outlook.com account and click Connect.
You will see a window where you need to enter your POP account settings. Enter the POP settings for POP and SMTP that you wrote down when you enabled POP access above.
Click Next to continue. Enter the password for your Outlook.com account.
You should see a notification window that the account was successfully added. Click the Finish button to complete the configuration.
The Outlook desktop will open. The next time it refreshes, you will see your Outlook.com emails arrive in your inbox.
If you find that your mailbox is not updating quickly enough, you can increase the frequency of receiving your emails in Outlook.
To do this:
- Click the File menu.
- Click Options.
- In the Options pop-up window, click More in the left pane
- Scroll down to the Send & Receive section and click Send / Receive.
- In the All Accounts section, change the Schedule Automatic Send / Receive Every setting from 30 minutes to a shorter interval.
Go to Outlook.com
If you are one of the many people who still have a Hotmail.com or Live.com email address, you can start switching to using an Outlook.com email address by adding an email alias to your account.
You can add this new Outlook.com account as follows:
- Click your profile picture and click View Account.
- On the account page, click Your details.
- Click Manage Login Email or Phone Number.
- In the Account Aliases section, click Add Email Address.
Here you can enter an alias for your new outlook.com email address and click Add Alias ??to add the new email address to your account.
To make sure emails are sent using this new alias:
- Click the gear icon to enter your account settings.
- Click Options or View All Outlook Settings.
- In the left pane, select Mail, click Accounts, and select Connected Accounts. If this option is not present, select “Mail” and then “Sync Email”.
- Find the drop-down list to change the From address and select a new Outlook.com email address.
This will change your default email address from Hotmail.com or Live.com to your new Outlook.com address. This small change will complete your migration to the same Microsoft email account everyone else in the world is using right now!