What Is Hotmail?

Hotmail, launched in 1996, was among the pioneering webmail services that allowed users to access their emails through any web browser. During its peak in the early 2000s, millions of email addresses ended with “@hotmail.com.”

What Came Before Hotmail?

Before Hotmail and its competitor, Four11 RocketMail, email could only be accessed through devices with specific software or required an Internet Service Provider (ISP) agreement. Even though many users still have @hotmail.com addresses, these addresses now redirect to Microsoft’s outlook.live.com site, leaving users curious about the fate of Hotmail.

Microsoft Outlook in 2022

While users can still choose @hotmail.com when creating a new email address, Hotmail was replaced by Outlook.com in 2011. Outlook.com is a web-based personal information management service that includes webmail, calendaring, contacts, and tasks features. It’s important to note that Outlook.com is a free, web-based mail account and is different from Outlook, the mail client application of the Microsoft Office suite. Some statistics about Outlook.com include:

  • Users: 400 million
  • Date launched: July 31, 2012
  • Languages supported: 79
  • Owner: Microsoft Corporation
  • Maximum attachment size: 20 megabytes

Hotmail Features in Outlook.com

Hotmail is now outlook.
Outlook.com utilizes Ajax programming techniques and supports the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. Its main features include sending, receiving, and managing emails; scheduling and organizing events with the calendar; obtaining detailed contact information; managing tasks with Microsoft To Do; and easily searching for messages, people, and documents. These features are conveniently located in one place for easy accessibility.

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Outlook.com also allows the integration of travel itineraries and flight plans from emails into the calendar. It supports attachments from Google Drive, DropBox, and OneDrive, and enables the editing of Microsoft Office files directly from the inbox. Other notable features of Outlook.com include:

  • Email scheduling: Write an email and schedule it to be sent at a specific date and time.
  • Quick Parts: Save frequently used email text as a template for easy insertion in future messages.
  • Customizable email organization: Color-code emails based on keywords or content, and highlight emails from specific contacts for better visibility.

Hotmail & Outlook.com Benefits


Outlook.com provides a high level of security with features such as junk mail filtering, blocking of external content, and the ability to disable live links and block senders. It also features a built-in email scanner, alerts for untrustworthy sources, and offers multi-factor authentication.


Outlook.com’s calendar is a useful tool for collaboration. Users can easily share their calendar with colleagues or clients, create and manage online calendars for clients, and send text messages directly to a contact’s phone.


Outlook.com incorporates Microsoft To Do, a task management tool that allows users to organize tasks by adding them to the calendar, marking them as important, or creating custom lists. It also features smart lists and integrates with other Microsoft tools.

Hotmail & Outlook.com Costs

The basic version of Outlook.com is free, but users with advanced email and calendar needs can opt for a Microsoft 365 subscription. The subscription offers premium Outlook features such as custom domains, ad-free experience, enhanced security options, and 1 TB of storage.

What Is the History of Hotmail Accounts?

Hotmail was launched in 1996 by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, with support from venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Initially offering free accounts with benefits like spam filtering and enhanced virus scanning, Hotmail gained popularity quickly and garnered over 8.5 million active users. Within a year and a half, Microsoft acquired Hotmail for approximately $450 million.

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Hotmail used a combination of FreeBSD web servers for its front-end and Sun Solaris on Sparq to support its back-end. Migrating to a Windows-only environment proved to be a challenging task, leading to delayed back-end migration until 2004.

MSN Hotmail

Following the acquisition, Hotmail was relaunched as MSN Hotmail, retaining its existing features.

Windows Live Hotmail

Microsoft introduced Windows Live Hotmail in 2005 to compete with Gmail. This version of Hotmail offered improved speed, enhanced security, increased storage space, and better user experience. It was closely integrated with the Windows Essentials suite and OneDrive.


In 2012, Microsoft rebranded its webmail services as Outlook.com, leading to initial confusion about the fate of Hotmail email addresses. However, Microsoft continued to support Hotmail email addresses alongside other domains like @live.com, @msn.com, and @passport.com. Users can still select @hotmail.com when creating a new email address, and existing Hotmail accounts were automatically updated to Outlook.com.

What Is Hotmail Now?

In 2015, Microsoft consolidated its desktop and web applications under the Office 365 system. This integration resulted in the unification of Outlook.com and the Outlook Mail app, providing a consistent user experience and shared login credentials.

Today, users can either download the Microsoft Outlook application or access their @outlook.com or @hotmail.com email accounts through outlook.live.com. Existing Hotmail accounts have been transitioned to Outlook.com automatically.

If you are an old Hotmail user trying to access your account, refer to Microsoft’s support resources for assistance.

Three Hotmail Alternatives

After Hotmail reached its End of Life (EOL), many users migrated their accounts to Outlook. However, there are several feature-rich alternatives to consider:

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Zoho Mail

Zoho Mail provides a unified dashboard for secure email, contact management, tasks, notes, and calendar. It is available in consumer and business versions and accessible through web browsers, iOS, and Android apps.


ProtonMail prioritizes security, offering end-to-end encryption and robust user authentication protocols. It integrates email with secure storage and a calendar and is available for both individuals and businesses via web browsers and mobile apps.

Mozilla Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird is an email client developed by the Mozilla Foundation. It combines email, calendar, newsreader, and chat client functionalities and is built on an open-source code base.

How to Create an Outlook Account

Creating an Outlook.com account is free and allows users to access email, calendar, tasks, and contacts from anywhere with an internet connection. Here’s how to create a new email account with Outlook.com:

  1. Open a web browser and visit the Outlook.com sign-in page: outlook.live.com/owa/.
  2. Click on “Create a free account.”
  3. Choose a username, which is the part of the email address before @outlook.com. Most people use their names, such as jane.doe@outlook.com.
  4. On the right side of the username field, click the dropdown arrow to choose the domain for the email address. Hotmail.com is an option in the dropdown menu. Select “Next.”
  5. Create a secure password with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Select “Next.”
  6. Enter your first and last name. Select “Next.”
  7. Specify your country/region and enter your birthdate. Select “Next.”
  8. Complete the CAPTCHA verification by entering the characters shown in the image. Select “Next.”
  9. Outlook.com will set up your email account and display a welcome screen.
  10. To access your email account, click “Sign in” and enter your credentials on the Outlook.com homepage.

How Can I Log Into My Hotmail Account?

Hotmail, which became Outlook.com in 2013, remained accessible as long as users logged in at least once a year. After 366 days of inactivity, Microsoft deactivated the account, and after five years, the Hotmail account was deleted. If you previously logged into your Hotmail or Outlook.com account, there’s a chance it is still accessible. Attempt to log in using your credentials on Outlook.com’s login page.

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