Miss Hotmail? Microsoft Outlook Email Services Explained

Do you remember using Microsoft’s Hotmail email service? Throughout the years, Microsoft has offered a variety of cloud email services that it has rebranded several times.

These rebrands become even more confusing when you follow Microsoft’s transition from Microsoft Hotmail, to Live Mail, and finally to the Outlook web app.

MSN Hotmail – What Happened?

In 1996,when web-based email services were just gaining popularity, Sabeer Bhatia andJack Smith launched the Hotmail web service. The only other major email serviceat the time was America Online (AOL).

This was oneof the first cloud-based email services that let users sign-in to Hotmailthrough a fully-functional web client they could use through their web browser.

In 1997,Microsoft acquired Hotmail and rebranded it as MSN Hotmail.

MSN Hotmail amassed a huge user base. Then, in 2005, Microsoft redesigned the entire webmail service, and rebranded it as one product in its Windows Live offering. It was referred to as Windows Live Hotmail.

Thetransition for so many users took some time. Many users complained about thechanges. And for years, users continued searching on Google for their “Hotmaillogin” page – confused by the dramatic design change to Windows Live.

To makematters even more complicated, Microsoft discontinued Windows Live Hotmailentirely (along with all of Windows Live) in 2012.

As for theircloud-based webmail offering, Microsoft completely rebranded again withOutlook.com.

Outlook.com vs. Outlook Desktop

Frequentlyreferred to (incorrectly) by users as Outlook Online, Outlook.com wasMicrosoft’s final attempt to consolidate email services under its single brandknown as Outlook.

Unfortunately,this became very confusing for users who were already well-accustomed toMicrosoft’s desktop-based client, already known as Outlook.

Microsofttried to ease the transition by maintaining all the various email accountsusers had used throughout every generation of its products, including:

  • @hotmail.com
  • @live.com
  • @msn.com
  • @passport.com

When otherMicrosoft users would receive emails from people with these accounts, theyassumed they could also create their own email accounts with the same service.When they searched for the sign-in page for Hotmail or Microsoft Live, theycouldn’t find those websites anymore.

Even today,if you type “hotmail.com” or “live.com” into your web browser, you’ll getredirected to outlook.live.com,which is the current Microsoft webmail service branded as Outlook.com.

Office 365 Webmail

To makematters even more complicated, in 2011 Microsoft launched a product known asOffice 365.

This productwas especially marketed to businesses looking for an easy way to provideemployees with all the Office products they need, under a simple enterprisesubscription plan.

Theconfusion comes from the fact that in 2015, Microsoft combined desktop officeproducts as well as its collection of web apps under the common brand umbrellaOffice 365. These web apps included the Outlook Mail web app.

If you wereto go to Outlook.com and sign up for just a web-based email account withMicrosoft, you’ll see the same exact web client interface as you’ll see if yousign up for an Office 365 subscription and use the Outlook Mail web app.

In fact, ifyou sign in under the same Microsoft account, you’ll see the same exact emailinbox.

This isbecause ultimately the web-based email service handling the incoming andoutgoing emails is Outlook.com, while the web app itself is known as OutlookMail, accessed via Office 365 or simply by visiting outlook.com.

In eithercase, the final URL you’ll find yourself on is outlook.live.com.

Reading Email from Your Outlook.com Account with Outlook

If you findthis all confusing, you aren’t alone.

Thankfully,there’s one way to keep everything sorted, by just using your Outlook desktopclient to pull in all emails that arrive in your Outlook.com account.

You can dothis by enabling POP access on your Outlook.com account, and then connectingyour Outlook desktop client to pull emails from that service.

Set up Outlook.com to Allow POP Connections

Log intoyour Outlook.com email account. Click on the gear icon near your profile picture to enter account settings. Atthe bottom of the Quick settings panel, click on View all Outlook settings.

In thenavigation pane of this pop-up window, click on Sync email. Scroll down to the POPand IMAP settings section.

In thiswindow, adjust the following settings:

  • SetLet devices and apps use POP to Yes.
  • EnableLet apps and devices delete messagesfrom Outlook.
  • Makenote of the POP setting and SMT settings.
  • ClickSave to confirm changes.

Now yourOutlook.com account is configured to allow your Outlook desktop client to pullemails from your web-based account.

Configure Outlook Desktop Client

Open Outlookon your desktop PC.

If you’reprompted to log into your Microsoft account, click on Advanced Options, and select the checkbox next to Let me set up my account manually.Then, click the Connect button.

On thepop-up window, choose POP from the connection list.

Note: Why not select Office 365 or Outlook.com? If you do this, you’ll beable to read emails from your online Outlook account, but you won’t be able tohave your email client delete emails from that account.

Type thepassword for your Outlook.com account and click Connect.

You’ll see awindow where you need to enter POP Account Settings. Fill in the POP settingsfor both POP and SMTP that you recorded when you enabled POP access above.

Click on Next to continue. Enter the passwordfor your Outlook.com account.

You shouldsee an Account successfully addednotification window. Click the Donebutton to finish setup.

Outlookdesktop will open. When it refreshes next, you’ll see your Outlook.com emailsarriving in the Inbox.

If you findthat the inbox isn’t updating fast enough, you can make the frequency thatOutlook retrieves your emails more frequently.

To do this:

  • Clickthe File menu
  • ClickOptions
  • Onthe pop-up Options window, click on Advancedfrom the left pane
  • Scrolldown to the Send and receive sectionand click Send/Receive
  • Underthe All Accounts section, change theSchedule an automatic send/receive everysetting from 30 minutes to a shorter time interval

Transitioning to Outlook.com

If you’reone of the many users who still have a Hotmail.com or Live.com email address,you can start to make the transition to using an Outlook.com email address byadding an email alias to your account.

You can addthis new Outlook.com account as follows:

  1. Clicking on your Profile picture andclicking on View Account.
  2. On the account page, click on Your info.
  3. Click on Manage your sign-in email or phone number.
  4. In the Account aliases section, click Addemail.

Here, youcan type an alias you’d like for your new outlook.com email and click Add alias to add the new email to youraccount.

To make sureemails get sent using this new alias:

  1. Click on the Gear icon to enter your account settings.
  2. Click on Options or View All Outlook Settings.
  3. In the left pane, choose Mail, click Accounts, and select Connected Accounts. If this option isn’t there, select Mail, then Sync Email.
  4. Find the dropdown box to change the From address and choose your new Outlook.com email.

This willchange your default email from Hotmail.com or Live.com to your new Outlook.comaddress. This small change will complete your migration to the same Microsoftemail account everyone else in the world is now using!