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Microsoft has undergone a number of rebrands over the past several years, and it probably would’ve been a good move if their resulting product names weren’t so confusing. When someone refers to something like “Outlook”, what exactly do they mean?

These days, “Outlook” can refer to a desktop email client You Should Ditch Webmail for a Desktop Email Client If... You Should Ditch Webmail for a Desktop Email Client If... A few years ago, webmail was all the rave. Wonder whether it's time to switch back to a desktop email client? Look no further. We show you the merits of a local mail service. Read More , a Web-based email client 6 Reasons Why You Should Stop Using Desktop Email Clients in Favour of Web-Based Options 6 Reasons Why You Should Stop Using Desktop Email Clients in Favour of Web-Based Options I know that suggesting desktop clients have had their day around the MakeUseOf crowd is like preaching to the choir. Most of us use Gmail, our own mail servers or some form of cloud backup... Read More , and an online email service. And as if that weren’t perplexing enough, you also have to juggle terms like “Hotmail”, “Live Mail”, or “Outlook web app”.

We’re here to clear it all up. Which terms should you be using? By the end of this article, you won’t have any doubts anymore.

Microsoft’s Email Services

Next to Gmail, Hotmail was one of the world’s most recognizable email services. Back in 1997, when Microsoft had bought it from the original creators, Hotmail offered something unique from most email inboxes: independence from ISPs like America OnLine (AOL).


This version was called MSN Hotmail and it no longer exists.

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Now fast-forward to 2005. Microsoft announced a new set of services and products that were designed to extend the user experience on Windows. This new suite was called Windows Live, which you might recognize in products like the now open source Windows Live Writer Microsoft Continues Open Source Move with Live Writer Microsoft Continues Open Source Move with Live Writer Microsoft continues its bold move into open source by transferring Windows Live Writer -- now Open Live Writer -- to the .NET Foundation. Does this herald the resurrection of many neglected niche applications? Read More and Windows Live Essentials Windows Live Essentials For Windows 8 - What You Need To Know Windows Live Essentials For Windows 8 - What You Need To Know Microsoft is in the process of phasing out Windows Essentials, formerly known as Windows Live Essentials. Microsoft has included Modern-style replacements for many of the Essentials applications in Windows 8 – email, calendaring, contacts, messaging,... Read More .


Here’s where it starts to get confusing. As part of this movement, Microsoft planned to phase out Hotmail and replace it with a new mail system called Windows Live Mail. But when beta testers complained about the change and how they preferred the Hotmail brand, Microsoft backtracked and settled on Windows Live Hotmail.

The Windows Live brand was discontinued in 2012. Some of the services and products were integrated directly into the Windows operating system (e.g. apps for Windows 8 and 10), while others were separated and continued on their own (e.g. Windows Live Search became Bing), while others were simply axed.


Around that same time, Microsoft introduced, which was essentially a rebranding of Windows Live Hotmail with an updated user interface and improved features. Many people incorrectly refer to this as Outlook Online. (There’s no such thing.)

To add to the confusion, current users were allowed to keep their email addresses, but new users can no longer create accounts with that domain. Instead, new users can only create addresses, even though both email addresses use the same email service.

So as of right now, is the official name of Microsoft’s email service, which was formerly known as Hotmail and Windows Live Hotmail.

Microsoft’s Web Email Clients

Back in the golden days, the Hotmail website was the web interface for the Hotmail email service. There was no brand mismatch. The services were one in the same. Whenever you said “Hotmail”, people always knew what you were talking about.

Unfortunately, things just aren’t that simple anymore.

In 2011, just one year before Microsoft discontinued their Windows Live brand, they introduced Office 365. At the time, Office 365 was geared towards business and corporate users, but over time it was expanded to include regular consumers as well. In a lot of ways, Office 365 is what Windows Live should’ve been.


As part of Microsoft’s push for Office 365, they released a collection of web apps called Outlook on the web (formerly Outlook Web App) in 2015. This suite included four separate tools: Outlook Mail, Outlook Calendar, Outlook People, and Outlook Tasks.

The important one is Outlook Mail, which is the modern analogue to the Hotmail interface from years ago. Remember how Microsoft rebranded their email service as Outlook Mail is the front-end while is the back-end.

As with, many people incorrectly refer to Outlook Mail as Outlook Online. There’s no such thing as Outlook Online.

To make it abundantly clear, Outlook Mail is the web email client while is the actual email service that Microsoft provides. The former is used to view the latter.

Microsoft’s Desktop Email Clients

Microsoft’s confusing brand strategy has also spilled into their desktop products. After all, up until recently, “Outlook” has always meant “Microsoft’s desktop email client”. It wasn’t until they went crazy with rebranding, that everything became overly complicated.

Outlook debuted way back on MS-DOS — even before Windows 3.1 — but didn’t really gain traction until Outlook 97, which was packaged as part of Office 97. With every subsequent version of Office 20 Historical Microsoft Office Facts You Forgot Or Never Knew 20 Historical Microsoft Office Facts You Forgot Or Never Knew The Microsoft Office suite turned 25 this year. The world has changed since digital presentations, word processing, and spreadsheets became a thing. Do you remember how it all began? Read More , up to and including Office 2016, the Outlook desktop client has also received updates.


Sometimes, this desktop version is referred to as Office Outlook, but the official name is Microsoft Outlook How to Blast Through Your Emails in Microsoft Outlook How to Blast Through Your Emails in Microsoft Outlook Don't let your emails monopolize your day, use these Outlook tips to take back control of your Inbox. Read More  (or simply Outlook). You can see how that could be confusing given all of the different Outlook-related products and services out there today, but that confusion isn’t just a recent thing.


Consider the now-defunct Outlook Express, which was an email client that came packaged with Internet Explorer starting in 1996. Despite similarities in name, Outlook Express wasn’t related to Outlook in any way (except for its use as an email client).

Outlook Express was succeeded by Windows Mail in 2005, around the same time that Windows Vista was released. This was most likely due to infrastructural differences between Windows XP and Windows Vista, which is why the two are similar, but Windows Mail can’t be used on versions prior to Vista.


Just two years later, in 2007, Windows Mail was succeeded by Windows Live Mail. Remember how Microsoft wanted to rebrand Hotmail as Windows Live Mail? This has nothing to do with that. Hotmail became Windows Live Hotmail while Windows Mail became Windows Live Mail.

On Windows 10, none of the above-mentioned programs are relevant except for Outlook (which can also be called Office Outlook if you want to differentiate it from all the other Outlook-related products out there).

The Bottom Line

If you got this far and your head is spinning, don’t worry. That’s normal. Microsoft really shot themselves in the foot with rebrand after rebrand, and it’s almost impossible to keep up anymore. If you’re still confused, here’s what you need to know:

  • is the current name for Microsoft’s email service, which was formerly known as Hotmail.
  • Outlook Mail is the web app that let’s you browse your email account. It’s part of the Outlook on the web suite of web apps.
  • Outlook, or Office Outlook, is Microsoft’s desktop email client. It can be used with email addresses or with any other email addresses.

Everything else — including Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and Windows Live Mail — are no longer relevant unless you’re using outdated versions of Windows 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Running The Latest Windows Security Patches & Updates 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Running The Latest Windows Security Patches & Updates The code that makes up the Windows operating system contains security loop holes, errors, incompatibilities, or outdated software elements. In short, Windows isn't perfect, we all know that. Security patches and updates fix the vulnerabilities... Read More .

Did this help? Are you still confused? Know something that we missed? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Image Credits: MSN Hotmail via Wikipedia, Windows Live Hotmail via Wikipedia, via Wikipedia, Outlook on the Web via Wikipedia, Outlook 2016 via Wikipedia, Windows Mail via Wikipedia, Windows Live Mail via Wikipedia

  1. Jan A.
    October 14, 2016 at 7:23 am

    Nice article.

    Confound it - and thats apparently the guiding principle that Microsoft apply to all of their work. I've had my Hotmail since 1998. At some point I even added a subscription for it, which I kept until 2012 where I had a switch of credit cards and erm.. That subscription service was apparently dismantled. Since then each new upgrade has been a very convincing and unwavering leap towards the Abyss. Windows 8, which is completely off-topic, was the light at the end of the tunnel even though you had to spend a few minutes replacing the Start menu with an actual menu and flip a few switches to turn off the Tablet mode, but it was apparently not where they wanted to be. Windows 10 is a giant leap backwards, downwards, free fall to the bottom of the bottomless pit, I guess. It's not getting any lighter or anywhere I would define by anything else than nowhere. And now this.. I've already been spending more than an hour trying to read a mail from last week. Every time I scroll, a little or a lot, I get the void, that big empty space in my face and always too much. I hate Google, but at least their mail client works a little better, unfortunately that beast is as useless and bloated as their search engine and I just can't get used to the break away from freedom even though it's been gone for so many years. I really like choice, but for some reason everything is dumbed down and stupe.. stu.. stupefaction.. stupendous.. stupid.. stupidity.. stupor.. ???, ?????????. All useful words and together they are like the.. Erm, I mean a fellowship of the ring, but I need the ring itself. Nostalgia and old bad habit keep me going back to Hotmail, which is actually Outlook and now not even that anymore. If the Sun went Nova I would be like: Pfttttth!! Been there, done that. Go away. Well.. not that big really, not even close, but I liked the idea and your own personal imagination has never been as important as now.

  2. Exhausted
    October 8, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    The latest Outlook change of w/s design and structure is a pain in the neck. It's totally incoherent, the pages too pale, and poor structure means you have to hunt around for Inbox mail, and the rest. I could go on. What was wrong with the previous Hotmail?

    Overstressed, UK

  3. CJ H
    October 7, 2016 at 12:02 am

    I liked the old way of finding data using the Go To…(certain date). I used this often. I liked hitting a delete the page box at the top of the page to quickly tidy up the inbox. What the…. heck? Can't use this. Too messy, to difficult to use folders, too, well, stupid. I will DEFINITELY be looking for another email provider!

  4. audrey
    September 17, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    I logged into my hotmail account and I'm in outlook but NONE of my email is there. How do I get my email that was in hotmail?

    • Joel Lee
      September 27, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      I'm sorry Audrey, I've never run into that problem. You find better results by asking the support team over at Hotmail /

  5. K Patel
    September 16, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Above article is the best way explained,
    Hotmail, to Outlook - front engine to to rear Guard Man.

    • Joel Lee
      September 27, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks K Patel, I'm glad you found the explanations useful. :)

  6. Not Happy At All
    September 14, 2016 at 11:08 am

    My hotmail template changed in real time - I thought someone was taking over my computer - on 11 September 2016.

    Now I cannot discern a junk mail the connection with Microsoft Outlook 2010 has been severed.

    I prefer hotmail.

    • Joel Lee
      September 20, 2016 at 12:47 am

      Wow, that must've been confusing to have everything change in real-time, haha. Have you switched to a different email service then? If so, which one?

  7. Uh-uh
    September 13, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Outlook is now, by far, the most useless of my email accounts.
    It's a good thing I started driving people to my other email address years ago!

    You dun goof'd, Microsoft. Goof'd.

    • Joel Lee
      September 20, 2016 at 12:47 am

      The recent change seems like a big misstep on Microsoft's part, according to user reactions. Which email services are you using instead, Uh-Uh?

  8. KS
    September 12, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Yesterday my, signed in through home page, looked the same way it always has. Today, the template totally changed. I don't like anything about it. The font is light, the organization of topics or headers in the left hand vertical pain is different. The right message oain looks different. It appears as if some command or button was accidently hit to cause this change. Please tell me how to get back to my original display for my email at, Thank you.


    • Joel Lee
      September 14, 2016 at 3:41 am

      Hi KS, I don't think it's possible to revert the web layout of It is what it is, unfortunately. Is it so bad that you might consider switching elsewhere?

      • JingYuxiu
        September 30, 2016 at 11:45 pm

        It is. Why do they keep doing this? Do they really never think of the users?

  9. Rhonda
    September 12, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    I don't like the new My Junk mail folder is now in alphabetical order with all my other folders and not at the top on my iPhone. Moving emails to folders is still good on iPhone but on my desktop I have to go through three steps to move a file to a folder instead of the one step it used to be! The new format is harder to read on my desktop too...Overall, I would say it is a dismal failure in how they have changed

    • Joel Lee
      September 14, 2016 at 3:40 am

      On the one hand, it's good of Microsoft to give all of their apps a unified look... but yeah, if you don't like the look, then it really sucks. Sorry to hear that the new look is hard to read, Rhonda. Are you thinking of switching to something else?

  10. Connie Soch
    September 12, 2016 at 12:46 am

    I am getting alot of junk mail in the last several days. These are the type that I have not seen before. I haven't changed any settings so what has changed?

    • Joel Lee
      September 14, 2016 at 3:38 am

      Hey Connie, have you signed up for any new accounts lately? If so, it's possible that your email address was collected and sold to spammers. Or if your email address was ever made public, it's possible that a bot scraped your address off of the internet and added it to a list of emails to spam.

      Other than filtering everything to your junk folder or starting a new email account, I'm afraid there isn't much you can do after the fact.

  11. julia mccown
    August 26, 2016 at 1:43 am

    I now have no e mail account and assume that I can have no e mail account..........I have had no warning and now have no idea what to do? J

  12. Fran
    August 19, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Awful! What's happened to the check boxes so you could select a number of emails to delete? The navigation is clunky and the font way too big so you can't look at a long list of emails. What a nightmare. Why do they have to keep changing things that work fine?

  13. Denzil
    August 15, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Look at all the comments and see how many people are unhappy and if that makes you happy I feel sorry for you

  14. Natalie B.
    August 14, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    sadly outlook is so expensive, so I agree with the recommendations below, I use and then I connect it to outlook email client and it works perfect, I can use the webmail interfase too because it works in all devices. it is perfect for us and our customers,I endorse it.

  15. Manuel
    August 14, 2016 at 5:32 am

    how do i retrieve all my messages?

  16. apa
    August 12, 2016 at 3:27 am

    address book doesn't identify names just the email address.
    This will not work for our small non-profit.
    This has taken countless hours to try to work around.
    Microsoft should be ashamed of itself.

  17. no
    August 7, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    This new layout absolutely sucks. Hotmail was so easy to navigate and it did what was needesd. This outlook looks dreadful and way too busy for the eye, and as other people have mentioned prior it has lost a number of useful functions. Why mess with stuff that doesn't need it?

    • gerinator
      August 21, 2016 at 1:08 am

      Totally agree with 'no'. Further, performance is degraded. Maybe they're about to spring something else on us that will improve things - da ya think?

  18. Steve
    August 2, 2016 at 5:31 am

    It seems impossible for Microsoft to use their brain. People are using the same layout for years, and Microsoft simply changes everything. Now you loose a lot of time searching for stuff. It's not logical anymore. Just like the changes made in Office. It's so annoying, I destroyed my laptop at work out of pure anger, having to search for everything and cannot finding it.
    My email addresses in Hotmail are also mostly gone, because Microsoft decided to only save the email addresses that were liked to a telephone number, because they assume that in the "people" tab you only have people that you need to call ?
    Lost most of my contacts because of this.
    Thank you very much Microsoft (sarcasm... recognize it !)

  19. Ella
    July 28, 2016 at 10:34 am

    I hate the new look, cannot find anything, cannot mass delete on andoid, the old style was clearer. Not flipping happy

  20. Lynda
    July 27, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    There are things I like better about Hotmail, and there are things I prefer having seen Outlook in Office 365. That being said, what I despise is that they don't communicate so that I can't clean up my mail box in one way or another and have it be in the same status simultaneously in both places!!!!!!!!!

  21. PB
    July 25, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Your new system sucks, it is unresponsive and ridiculous- give us a clue how you expect to keep us as clients

  22. Karen
    July 19, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I have had the same email address "Hotmail" since the beginning in the 90's. I had decades of saved documents in different email folders. I was proud that people who knew me over 20 years ago could still locate me. I loved that the look and feel did not change and was one of the few things in this modern world I could count on. I'm greatly disappointed in the new look and feel and worse. I'm disappointed that all my data I had stored is gone and I have no one to call to correct this. I was even more disappointed that I received a request to authenticate in my Junk mail and I dismissed it as spam. I should have been redirected to an authentication site when I tried to log into my account or when I logged into my account an automatic authentication should have occurred. I would have preferred an option at that time to keep current "legacy" look and feel or update to new look. I hate the new look and I mostly hate that decades of data , I stored no where else is now gone. To the wise...go back to printing out everything, including pictures and documents and put it in a fire safe box. Technology destroys history.

  23. Judy
    July 2, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Unable to access my hotmail address without putting the Old password worked but it's all blank no older mails or history like starting new but at least it did login. Question is whether the entities you set up to us a @hotmail accept the @outlook.

  24. erwin zimmermann
    July 1, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Personally, I don't care if naming caused world ending thoughts in a few people with all the confusion you have created. As far as I am concerned you can call it all peekaboo I see you. What is important though, is the ease of use for the product. Hotmails appearance was user friendly. It was quick, EFFICIENT. Isnt that is what we all are trying to achieve here ? Now I have an inbox page with a scroll bar that makes me dizzy and all the time I have saved, now makes me look for 1 fish in the Pacific ocean with the name Charlie. You termed it LEGACY. Why did you force the change on those who don't like magically appearing or disappearing themes when the pointer passes over it ? I like simple. Put it back, thank you.

  25. Sherry
    June 5, 2016 at 3:21 am

    in my case is perfect for us and our customers, I found them because of the tons of recommendations through the internet everywhere and I am very pleased with the service.

  26. Dean
    May 31, 2016 at 9:02 am

    If it ain't broke don't fix it everything takes so much longer biggest one scanning through and not being able to delete multiple mail in junk folder is super painful

  27. fed up
    May 25, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    I feel that I might be safe through this transition. The saying goes" It's clear as mud", thanks Microsoft. I understand it's business, but leave thing well alone "when their working" especially when no one is complaining. Now people are complaining with the confusion they created.
    Ah the corporations must have their blood money, so no matter how they get it or where it comes from we're on the hook.

  28. Tony
    May 25, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Outlook Mail or Outlook Web App, wasn't only for browsing email addresses. I had an email address from a private institution with their own domain which was accessed this way. Only just realized a few minutes ago that it has now changed to the redesigned blue colour instead of the familiar light orange colour. Can't get in to the account at the moment, but I'm not sure if that's because of the changes.

  29. Jean Lalonde
    May 9, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Good paper! Question: if someone owns an address and an account using this email address, can someone else create an address using the same xyz name? If yes, the possible confusion it creates makes a nice gift for phishing makers...

  30. Curious
    May 2, 2016 at 1:33 am

    I agree with the person who said the current way to store emails into folders is terrible, any chance of bringing the old way back?. Also, when you receive emails sorted by "date" they appear similar to how they did before - one email after another. But when you sort by "from" the emails get broken up with a blue bar repeating the name of who the emails came from - that's really not necessary and is a visual impediment. Can I get rid of that format?

  31. Alfie
    April 16, 2016 at 3:35 am

    The new system of storing e-mails in folders is EXTREMELY time-consuming and inconvenient.

  32. Robert
    April 10, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    I work at Deloit and we adquire business email of and it could be linked with any email client like outlook for pc and it is optimized for any device.

  33. james
    April 1, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Yes I got this and am aware of the history but to add injury to insult Microsoft have now eliminated outlook web access serve page and it just comes up with microsoft as of 1/4/16 (is this a Microsoft April fools preso?) Dumb-and-dumber too!!

  34. kim-in-melb
    March 12, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Great post Joel. I've been so confused about all the changes and the branding. You really cleared it up for me. Appreciate it.

    • Joel Lee
      March 14, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      You're welcome, kim. I'm glad it was helpful! :)

  35. Lorna Smith
    February 16, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    I just wrote a comment, albeit an angry one, but no curse words, I might add and when I went to upload it they said they were 'moderating' it. Really! What on earth does that mean. I'm tryng to get an answer to my intial post

  36. Lorna Smith
    February 16, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    I produce a newsletter for my community of 1000 plus homes. I have approximately 600 residents who receive the newsletter. Throughout the month I also send residents pertinent information for the community. I use Groups for these 600 residents which are divided into 67 groups and pay a subscription so that I can send out bulk emails to bulk addressees. This stopped working at the weekend and I was told by their Support to make my groups smaller - I said I would do this if they could tell me where the Group pulldown was now because it had disappeared. They sheepishly said that they were moving to a new platform and some features were not yet fully installed!!!! And that day by day things were changing and I would just have to keep trying to send emails to multiple addressees in Groups. As new residents are moving in and want to be put on the distribution list I can't yet add them because THERE IS NO GROUP FEATURE!!! CAN ANYONE HELPME!

  37. Timothy Skinner
    January 28, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    I still use windows live mail, I hate the new mail app in windows 10! It is ridiculously limited. I can't even have html signatures. There are other problems with it, but I add a signature to my emails with links to my photography websites - easy advertising. Windows 10 mail is worse than the basic email app you get on your phone. It doesn't belong on a pc. I got an email from Microsoft saying that windows live mail will cease to work soon and I have to use the mail app. I really hope they wake up and leave it alone!

  38. Mike
    January 20, 2016 at 4:38 am

    Question: Are there any plans at Microsoft to port the Outlook PST file from the desktop to Outlook Mail? I have used Outlook for ages on my PC and do not care to lose all of my calendar history and would want to port over all of my old email and the email folder structure.

    - Mike

  39. Eddie G.
    January 17, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    @George Schwarz: Did you ever get a reply,? I for one don't even use Microsoft anymore, its All Linux, All The Time! And while there are those who will say Linux is "hacking" software, or that its not secure because its "open" I can earnestly say that having been using it since 2003/4 I've never had any problems with it! I've already "converted" me mum, my sister, and my two younger brothers to Linux and they also have not turned back. I would suggest to you, that you look into LibreOffice, as this office suite is more than capable of keeping up with a day-to-day usage quotient. From spreadsheets to Power Point presentations, you'll not have many issues with it. Add in the fact that you can customize the entire office suite form icons to themes, and you have on heck of a powerful suite that doesn't require you to shell out a hundred and ANY-dollars in order to install it. Matter fact, this entire office suite is FREE!!!

  40. Dulcie
    January 17, 2016 at 5:56 am

    How long does keep my emails? They seem to disappear after a couple of months, which means I cannot store those I need to indefinitely - re-enter paper copies which I'd rather not do.
    Thanks you, Dulcie

  41. RT
    January 16, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    You might mention that the Outlook email client auto sign in has to be changed from to or it will mysteriously quit working without explanation.

  42. Alex
    January 16, 2016 at 5:42 am

    To me the best email program is Eudora v7.1 I have been using earlier verisions up to the final v7.1 Since Windows 95 ( I think)
    It has worked on all the Windows upgrades 95, 98, Vista, XP, 7, 8 and now 10
    I prefer to have all my emails and attachments on my computer, easy searching no down time.
    I can save emails and attachments with no trolling by the likes of Microsoft and Google.
    The Eudora program has not once crash on over all these years.
    You can keep someone elses servers where you store your personal info for all to hack.
    Go Eudora

  43. SKY
    January 15, 2016 at 10:30 am

    "To add to the confusion, current users were allowed to keep their email addresses, but new users can no longer create accounts with that domain. Instead, new users can only create addresses, even though both email addresses use the same email service."

    On this..! I checked and observed even at present creation of option is there while sign up as a new user..

    Looks homework was not done completly before posting the article... :(

  44. A41202813GMAIL ..
    January 15, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Many Companies Use The Music Chairs Name Change Dance - I Hate Them.

    I Am Still Using Lots Of Legacy Software And Hardware - POP3 OUTLOOK 2003 PRO With GMAIL Being One Of Them.

    It Still Works For Me - Thank You Very Much.


  45. Larry
    January 15, 2016 at 3:39 am

    Don't forget I still use that.

  46. George Schwarz
    January 15, 2016 at 12:35 am

    Oct. 1, 2014

    Satya Nadella, CEO
    Microsoft Corp.
    1 Microsoft Way
    Redmond, WA 98052

    Dear Mr. Nadella:

    I have held off writing this letter for several months, but today have reached the point that I must call an ongoing problem to your attention.

    Because Microsoft discontinued support for Office 2003, I “upgraded” to a combination of Word and Outlook 2013. I put quotes around “upgraded” because, since spending $189.99 in March, I not only have to contend with a client that doesn’t work as well as the older model, but also because I have had to call for support several times. In fact, that the applications work so poorly so often, I spent another $170 for the “Assure” support services.

    However, that hasn’t provided smooth sailing either.

    First, unlike Office 2003 and despite what Microsoft states on its website, Word and Outlook no longer work together. With the 2003 client, when I wrote an email, I wrote and edited in Word 2003. The interface was seamless and the macros and other settings worked — believe it or not — perfectly. That is no longer the case in Word and Outlook 2013. My own solution is to write in Word and paste the content into an Outlook email. It’s an extra step that contradicts the efficiency Microsoft touts for its customers.

    But second, and perhaps more importantly, Word 2013 fails to retain the default settings or macros — shortcuts I have built and used since 2003. About every three weeks or so, I have had to call the Assure line for help. I recorded the most recent interaction with Assure tech support, and saved it so I need not call again for this particular problem — which arose again today and which prompts the use of my valuable time writing you. The fact that this is a recurring problem indicates a patch or fix of some sort is necessary.

    And that brings me to the final point: I recorded the last two conversations with Assure support, with the most recent phone call Sept. 21. If you only take the time to listen to the most recent interaction, I wonder if you would find the support satisfactory. Here are some of the points from that interaction I’d like to emphasize:

    • There are long wait times. I truncated the wait and hold times of the entire episode, but I spent about 70 minutes, all totaled, for this interaction.

    • There is an endless loop of (I wish I could say this nicer) stupidity with respect to macros. The continued and repeated claim that I need to be referred to some other support operation has to be rectified with each call. Listen to the conversations and you will see what I mean.

    • There is a language barrier. I am sorry to bring this up and in other areas I have been vocal about my dislike of off-shoring American jobs on general principle. But in this case, the off-shoring results in less-than-adequate customer support and satisfaction.

    Finally, I would like to note that over the years of using Microsoft OS and clients, I have been frustrated that there is no way to “lock in” settings. Once I have my personal (emphasis on the word personal) computer configured, I’d like it to stay that way — desktop icons where they are, defaults as I want them, etc.

    I hope you or someone at Microsoft can address these issues.


  47. Matthew
    January 14, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    I use the Thunderbird e-mail program. I can access both hotmail and g-mail. Works awesome.

  48. John Wohlscheid
    January 14, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    I hate Outlook. Every time I try to search my emails, I get a message "cannot connect to Outlook. Try again later." This usually happens when I desperately search for an email from my boss. #verypissed.

  49. Marty Monroe
    January 14, 2016 at 8:35 am

    One thing that I find interesting is if I logon to with an email address, it nags me that I've got ad blocker on, but if I logon to with my trusty hotmail address it doesn't.

  50. Susan
    January 11, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    I'm still using as my main email. Each time Microsoft decides to rock the boat, I just scroll thru the lunacy until I see "ya, you can still use your hotmail address" and I soldier on. I've had the address for so long, it would take me years to change all my sign ins and contacts.

    • yo
      January 14, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      Same here. I do prefer my gmail, but it would take so long to change everything...

  51. Michael
    January 11, 2016 at 12:37 am

    I am 90 and I am looking for some INTELLIGENT FLEXIBILITY from Microsoft, not AUTOMATED RIGIDITY, even with their best intent.
    I am traveling for over some three months using an Asus touch-screen laptop with (I now discover) the quirky MS Windows 10 OS. It will sometimes take charge, switching between different Windows with the type fonts zooming from 4pt to 72pt or larger, and back, for minutes at a time, while an uncontrollable cursor skitters all over the different screens.
    I use a land-line phone at home, but only a local disposable phone appropriate to the country where I am when away. I use the laptop for communication through Skype and Hotmail. My movements have frequently had me out of reach of ISPs.
    In the midst of a travel communication using Hotmail, Microsoft interrupts with a screen that asks me to confirm my password for my security. I have a list of over fifty different account passwords of growing size and complexity. The computer hangs on to some of them, but it appears that in a similar scenario using Skype I had used Hotmail to confirm who I was, and changed the password. “Error.”
    “Account security password request, account security password reset, account security password error, account security code, account recovery request,” REPEAT, and Windows 10 goes spastic ! Argh !
    I am now locked out of Hotmail, my address book, my friends, my travel correspondence.
    “Your security is important to us”
    “Recently, we received several requests to gain access to Unfortunately, we were unable to verify your ownership using the information that was provided. Microsoft takes the security and privacy of our customers very seriously. We are committed to protecting your personal information, and our careful account recovery process is intended to protect you from any possible malicious activity.”
    “Now what?”

  52. Roland
    January 10, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Their new lay-out really sucks? Too crowded, too hard on the eyes, and it shows too much personal information (contents of the emails). Could be bordering on invasion of privacy.

  53. Cathy
    January 10, 2016 at 7:47 am

    I'm still using my Hotmail address as well and it still works. However, I miss the old format because I can no longer delete emails in mass from my iPad or mobile. I haven't tried logging into the new "Outlook" from a PC but I'm hoping that I can update the message views to remove the preview of an email on the far right and delete in mass. Horrible design...I really wish these email services stayed simple with the old school email formats. Some of us want simple and quick...not this tedious and frustrating crap. So annoyed!

  54. claire
    January 9, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    I had both gmail and I only use the hotmail now and have no plans to change that... if forced I guess I'll start using PM on facebook for my email... sinnce I don't use FB anymore that should work... all these changes are just noise... stop the change for change sake...

  55. Rebecca C. White
    January 9, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    I can't find the addresses for frequent people contactedl. How do I get my address book back!!!!!

  56. Dianeoforegon
    January 9, 2016 at 2:03 am

    You didn't even mention Outlook for Mac. While it has the same name it's only a similar product to the Windows version. When you search for help even specifically entering Outlook for Mac and it's version info, Microsoft will direct you to it's Windows help.

    They posted an online video on using tags in OneNote. Didn't bother to mention the directions were not applicable for Mac users.

    All these Outlook names reminds me of "This is my bother Darrell and this is my other brother Darrell" from the old Bob Newhart show.

    Now we are plagued by I use Office365 as the name of the email, service or app.

  57. Muzza
    January 8, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Is it just me .... I want something simple and bullet proof like Hotmail. If it aint broke dont fix it Microsoft. Look at what happened to Coke when they stuffed around with the recipes, the company gurus and marketing people got it wrong and they had to re-invent Coke Classic after loosing a huge share to the competition. I have a camera that's a camera, a computer that's a computer, a phone that,s a phone, if something breaks I can still use all the other things till I get it fixed ... please simplicate things, its a lot less stressful for real ordinary people.

    • Larry Dickman
      January 9, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Agree ONE MILLION PERCENT with this comment. I've been using Hotmail for around 15 years and just sigh when these changes occur. I have a new desktop computer and Windows 10 has issues, such as the Media Player doesn't let me rip CDs. With "hotmail", on Dec 6 allof a sudden that live tile stopped updating. I just now removed it, and will have to figure out how to add a new link/tile.

      I was thinking, you can buy a new Mason (Ball) jar lid today and it fits a jar that is 40, 80, or 100 years old. Something to be said for standardization and backward capability.

  58. Kathleen
    January 8, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Love my hotmail address. Wasn't allowed to access it when I worked in the Middle East. It had connotations! In the interim, I had to open a Gmail account, but back to Hotmail when I returned home. Now it has memories for me.

  59. Doug
    January 8, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Theres been 100s of times over the years that I prayed to God to be able to reach through the screen and beat the **** out the morons that came up with all this Hotmail garbage

  60. Deborah Soto-Green
    January 8, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    My original email address ended which I still use to this day Will I be able to continued using that email address as I do now in

    • dizzyspak
      January 9, 2016 at 9:23 pm


  61. Andy_G
    January 8, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    What I do not understand is why the performance of Outlook Mail is so slow? Or is it the back end,, whichhas suffered the dramatic performance reduction? Hotmail used to be brilliant because it was fast and functional. If gmail was not as bad, I would have left by now. What happened, and why can neither Miscrosoft or Google replicate the performance of the old hotmail service? (And please do not parrot the line that it is because they are throwing so much effort into 'security'.)

  62. R.J. Roybal
    January 8, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    I do not like the NEW Microsoft outlook it is too cumbersome. Bring back or at least give the option to use hotmail.

  63. JB
    January 8, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    This is the last straw. i am switching over to gmail.

  64. Ritchie
    January 8, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Part of the journey included the MSN platform, which I subscribed to some time ago. I realize the discussion is related to all those "outlook" names mess, but msn stayed for a reasonable time to be ignored... by the way, still works nicely regardless of the mail client name do jour.... :)

  65. Sean Rampton
    January 8, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    I think the idiots in HR and branding employed by Microsoft need to take a good long look at themselves and ask the question: do I really know what I am doing? I think we all know the answer to that one.....

    • Linda
      January 8, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      HR has nothing to do with products and branding.

      • dizzyspak
        January 9, 2016 at 9:25 pm

        Well yeah they kinda do Linda... They are the ones who hire these morons who make all the changes.

  66. Linnea Hanson
    January 8, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    i only get half a screen; this is bs

    January 8, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    This microsoft email sucks!! Bring back hotmail !!!!

  68. trismos
    January 8, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    When using Microsoft "anything", use with caution. its a mud trap. VB code just to write a up a button to open something like a page, regular code would be 4 lines long with a memory clear.... Microsoft code? 20 lines long and no memory clear... hate to see how bloated the coding for the operating system is... would explain a lot of the errors, glitches, and need for security patches.

  69. DaveT2611
    January 8, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Heck I've had an account with them for so long my email address is It still works and I use it daily and its the only one I have.

  70. Kingsbury
    January 8, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Its difficult to read my emails because I only get half the screen

  71. mike
    January 8, 2016 at 5:57 am

    Do yourself a big favor and get for added security. I dont mind paying 5 bucks a month for added security. Stay away from free email accounts. The reasons are explained on Q and A at

  72. jim
    January 8, 2016 at 1:53 am

    then why the ^&$%# is my sign-in URL

  73. Tim
    January 8, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Since it has been changed to Outlook, opening my emails now seems to take forever, sometimes I just give up waiting.
    Then a pop up window appears saying it can't load do I want to wait or kill.

    This didnt happen before with

  74. ukukrman
    January 8, 2016 at 12:20 am still works and will always work unless microsift want a revolution on their hands....the next new thing is alsways on the horizon always there to take center people and developers want the limelight for their creations before thinking of something even more radical...they are not the end of line users...WE ARE....and when something isnt broken you dont tell your clients you are going to fix it leave the name the same and you improve the product....

  75. Davin Peterson
    January 7, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    I still have a account from 1997 and a

  76. Sonic Jensen
    January 7, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    I think i remember something standart in windows called outlook.. But its always been hotmail for me. I just hope i can keep my @hotmail. And not be forced to migrate it to @outlook or whatever the new name is gonna be ( its microsoft, ofcourse there will be a new name ;D )

  77. Read and Share
    January 7, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    My head is spinning. :)

    I remember using Outlook Express, then switched to Oulook (part of Office 2003) - before finally switching to Gmail and never looking back.

  78. makeuseof14
    January 7, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    To make things more confusing, email addresses still work, and Microsoft still uses the domain when you sign in. Once you're signed in, the address for Outlook is I wish Microsoft would streamline all their services and domains like Apple did. Even though I still have .mac and .me email addresses, I use to sign in to my Apple account.

  79. Bob Duncan
    January 7, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    I have had a Email address for what seems like 20 years and have been notified that it will be going "away". What I am not very sure of is what it will become, since Microsoft has never been very good at explaining their vagaries!
    I have decided to transfer my Email account to and "giveup" on Microsoft! I also am using Win7 Ultimate and may go to some version of Linux before I use Win10!

  80. Roi
    January 7, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    I really like this post... Nice One!! Kudos to you!!

    YES! It did really made my head spinning!!

  81. me
    January 7, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    I'm still using my hotmail address. Hey it works for me.

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