Hotmail was one of the first public webmail services that could be accessed from any web browser. It debuted in 1996 and was acquired by Microsoft in 1997. Microsoft phased out Hotmail in 2011 and relaunched the service as Outlook.com in 2012. Outlook.com is a personal information manager web app from Microsoft consisting of webmail, calendaring, contacts, and tasks services.
Prior to Hotmail, email could only be accessed from a device with an application specific to the email provider, or required an Internet Service Provider (ISP) service agreement. Although many users today have @hotmail.com email addresses, the hotmail.com address now redirects to Microsoft‘s outlook.live.com site.
While users can still select @hotmail.com when creating a new email address, the service itself is still via Outlook.com. It’s worth mentioning Outlook.com is the free, web-based mail account and is not the same as Outlook, the mail client application of the Microsoft Office suite.
Open a web browser and navigate to Outlook.com’s sign-in page: outlook.live.com/owa/.
Select Create free account.
Enter a username this is the part of an email address that comes before the @outlook.com. For easy identification, most people use their name, such as [email protected].
On the far right of the username field, there is a dropdown arrow. If clicked, this dropdown arrow will reveal the other domain that can be used for an email address, hotmail.com. If the Hotmail domain is preferred, select it from the dropdown menu. The default domain will be outlook.com if not specified. Select Next.
On the next page, create a password. Ensure this password is difficult to guess and has a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Outlook.com requires that passwords have at least eight characters and contain at least two uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, or symbols. After you’ve created a unique password, select Next.
On the following page, enter your first and last name in the fields provided. Select Next.
On the next page, choose your country/region and enter your birthdate. Select Next.
On the next page, enter the correct characters from the CAPTCHA image or rotate an image until it’s the right side up. Select Next.
Outlook.com will then set up your email account and display a welcome screen. From this screen, you can set up other account features and settings, such as color themes, time zones, and contacts.
To access your email account, select Sign in and enter your credentials on Outlook.com’s homepage specified in Step 1.
Hotmail features in Outlook.com
Outlook.com uses Ajax programming techniques and supports later versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. Main features of the webmail service include sending, receiving, and managing emails, scheduling and managing meetings and events with Outlook.com’s calendar, getting detailed information about contacts when their name is hovered over, managing tasks with Microsoft To Do, and locating messages, people, and documents with the search function. These features are located all in one place for easy access.
Outlook.com also adds travel itineraries and flight plans from emails to the calendar. It can attach files from Google Drive, DropBox, and OneDrive. Microsoft Office files can be edited straight from from an inbox. Other, more specific, features of Outlook.com include:
Email scheduling: Outlook.com allows an email to be written and then scheduled to send on the day and time you want it to go out. Once the email is written, navigate to Options>Send later.
Fill in the date and time you’d like the email to be sent.
Template: For emails that are sent repetitively, the template feature allows users to save the text of an email, similar to a template. In future messages, the text can easily be inserted. To create a template, go to the three dots>My Templates.
Customizable email organization: Emails can be color coded according to keywords or content. For example, instead of unread emails marked in bolded font, they can be highlighted red, green, or any other desired color. Users can specify a keyword, and Outlook.com will highlight the keyword in a specified color if the subject line includes the keyword. Emails from specific contacts, such as a coworker, can be highlighted for easy visibility. Click the cog in the right hand corner > View all Outlook settings > General > Categories.
How to access old an Hotmail account
To gain access to your old Hotmail mailbox and contacts, Microsoft has an Account Recovery Form available. This method is only available if you’ve enabled two-step verification. If you’ve disabled the option, you won’t be able to use the form or recover your account.
To use the form, go to account.live.com/acsr. Enter in the email address you want to recover or the phone or Skype username associated with it. Type in an email that Microsoft can use to contact you. After completing the security test, press Next. Microsoft should get back to you in 24 hours with your old account information.
Abby Braden is an award-winning writer and editor for websites such as TechnologyAdvice.com, Webopedia.com, and Project-Management.com, where she covers technology trends and enterprise and SMB project management platforms. When she’s not writing about technology, she enjoys giving too many treats to her dog and coaching part-time at her local gym.