Outlook.com: Random thoughts and first impressions

By Kip Kniskern | In News | Posted July 31, 2012 96 comments

outlook metro logo smallWhile we’ve been expecting the arrival of “NewMail” for quite some time, (and maybe precisely because we’ve already shown you “NewMail” Winking smile ), we didn’t have much notice on today’s news, and so like you we’re scrambling to get our heads around what may be the most significant change so far in terms of the move from Windows Live/ Hotmail branding, to the new world of Metro, Office, and a more unified Microsoft.

We had one minor issue that may affect a few of you – for years we’ve used Windows Live Admin Center to administer our @liveside mail, but we were unable to log in to Outlook.com with those addresses.  Turns out that having “co-branding” turned on in WLAC, which put our (by now quite old and outdated, by the way) logo into our Hotmail header and the login page, didn’t play nice with the new Metrofied Outlook.com.  Deleting the logo got us back up and running, thanks to a bit of help, which we really appreciate.

Now on to the more important things.  The easiest way to get to the new look is to log in at www.outlook.com.  We’re expecting more ways to upgrade to the new experience (something in Options might be one possibility) to show up, but for now, just log out of your Hotmail, go to Outlook.com, and log back in.

We were finallya able to create a new Outlook.com address (but hey, we barely use the @live.com addresses we rushed for back in the day, as it turns out), but the problems we had getting in earlier are to be expected, and it looks like Captcha is a bit of a bottleneck.  Keep trying, and expect things to get sorted out soon enough.  Even though this is a new preview, it’s still the biggest webmail on the planet, and now with the power of Office behind it it’s only going to get more popular.

You can also either change your email address (be careful, it’s permanent and may affect your Windows Phone setup, etc.), or as you’ve been able to do for over a year in Hotmail, create an alias.  You can do both in Outlook.com settings, just click on the “gear” icon in the upper right hand corner.

Overall, we’re very impressed with what is going to prove to be a bold rebranding move by Microsoft, and one that really begins to make sense of the move away from Windows Live.  One minor detail, for those of you who obsess over things like logos and icons: the move neatly solves the riddle of why we had a new SkyDrive logo, but not a new Hotmail one.  Now it’s all Outlook:

image

But in the bigger picture, there are really very few branding changes that would work for Hotmail.  If you’re here in the United States, “Hotmail” has quite a negative connotation: it’s that email service you use for junk mail, or when you’re asked to provide an email address to a service you don’t want filling up your “real” address.  A name change is welcome and almost necessary.  But in many parts of the world, where Hotmail is the defacto webmail service, just changing the name isn’t that easy.  Microsoft tried once before, attempting to change the name to “Windows Live Mail”, but never made it out of beta with that change, and instead kludging together “Windows Live Hotmail”.

Outlook is different, though. Everyone knows Outlook, and this rebranding neatly solves the question of what to do about an email component for Office Web Apps.  As Chris Jones says in the blog post announcing the preview:

You already know Outlook via the Outlook desktop application-for PCs and Macs-as the world’s most popular application for reading email, managing a calendar, and connecting to people. And you may have used the Outlook Web App connected to Exchange Server in your organization. Now, in addition to a desktop application and a service for businesses, we’re offering Outlook as a personal email service – Outlook.com.

So mail from Microsoft becomes Outlook, Outlook Web Access for business, and Outlook.com for personal use.  While changing the look and feel of Outlook Web Access will be another challenge as it will require retraining corporate customers and the help services that requires, we fully expect that at some point Outlook Web Access will be “Metro-fied” too, bringing the Microsoft Mail experience even closer together.

outlook web access

The promotional video included in the blog post gives us a hint at what will be the next big change for Microsoft, and that’s the integration of Skype:

skype

We get a glimpse of what Skype will look like in Outlook.com, and the new look “Messaging” we showed you last week is live:

messaging

Speaking of that promotional video, we had to laugh at the “creepy ads” bit:

creepy ad

… but the whole ad experience (with Bing Shopping and deals replacing those “creepy” ads), and a contextual experience with the ads either replaced by “messaging” or the like, or just gone altogether when composing a new email:

new email

… makes the ads much less intrusive, while still providing some opportunities for Microsoft. In addition, we have to note the bit of a snipe at Google in Chris Jones’s blog post:

We don’t scan your email content or attachments and sell this information to advertisers or any other company, and we don’t show ads in personal conversations.

So what to do think of Outlook.com?  We have to say we’re very impressed: not only by the clean new look for Hotmail, but by the direction making this (obviously huge) name change does for the future of consumer services at Microsoft.

Posted July 31st, 2012 at 12:13 pm
Category: News
Tags: Hotmail, Outlook.com
  • http://twitter.com/corlikowski Christian Orlikowski

    I love the new service fast, fluid, and clean.

  • http://twitter.com/corlikowski Christian Orlikowski

    I love the new service fast, fluid, and clean.

  • http://www.contino.com/ Andrea Contino

    Well done Kip.
    I’m seriously thinking to leave Google Apps to join Outlook.com and personal domains.
    Do you think that Calendar will be updated soon too?

    • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff Kibuule

      They are working on it. Check out the Reddit AMA for more info: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/xgjrw/we_are_the_team_behind_the_new_outlookcom_service/

    • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

      Yes, fully expecting a revamp to Calendar, soon.  No timetable or insider info, but it’s coming, and should be here well before the launch of Windows 8, we would expect.

      • http://www.contino.com/ Andrea Contino

        Cool! Well Kip, I need some help here. I got x@domain.com address email with Google Apps. In the meantime I also have x@domain.com as Windows Live Account. Do you think that switching from Google Apps to Windows Live Admin Center the account returns a possible conflict. Moreover, do you know if it’s a easy switch between the 2 services?
        Thanks,
        Andrea

        • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

          Looking into this for you.  Will have more soon

          • http://www.contino.com/ Andrea Contino

            Kip, sorry for the bother. So keeping in mind what the team posted on Reddit, it seems that IMAP it’s not barely a dream anymore. That said, I coud start my switch to Windows Live Domain anytime soon to take advantages of Skydrive and Outlook.com. That said I’ve a couple of questions since you’ve been using the service.
            – Are you able to create one letter email i.e. a@domain:twitter .com ?
            – Do you know if know Mac OS X Mountain Lion supports calendar as well as contacts with Outlook account?

            Thanks,
            Andrea

          • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

            I just tried and yes single letter domain names are possible – from WL Admin Center: “The account name can contain only letters, numbers, periods (.), hyphens
            (-), or underscores (_)”

            Don’t know anything about Macs, sorry.

  • http://www.contino.com/ Andrea Contino

    Well done Kip.
    I’m seriously thinking to leave Google Apps to join Outlook.com and personal domains.
    Do you think that Calendar will be updated soon too?

    • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff Kibuule

      They are working on it. Check out the Reddit AMA for more info: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/xgjrw/we_are_the_team_behind_the_new_outlookcom_service/

    • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

      Yes, fully expecting a revamp to Calendar, soon.  No timetable or insider info, but it’s coming, and should be here well before the launch of Windows 8, we would expect.

      • http://www.contino.com/ Andrea Contino

        Cool! Well Kip, I need some help here. I got x@domain.com address email with Google Apps. In the meantime I also have x@domain.com as Windows Live Account. Do you think that switching from Google Apps to Windows Live Admin Center the account returns a possible conflict. Moreover, do you know if it’s a easy switch between the 2 services?
        Thanks,
        Andrea

        • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

          Looking into this for you.  Will have more soon

          • http://www.contino.com/ Andrea Contino

            Kip, sorry for the bother. So keeping in mind what the team posted on Reddit, it seems that IMAP it’s not barely a dream anymore. That said, I coud start my switch to Windows Live Domain anytime soon to take advantages of Skydrive and Outlook.com. That said I’ve a couple of questions since you’ve been using the service.
            – Are you able to create one letter email i.e. a@domain:twitter .com ?
            – Do you know if know Mac OS X Mountain Lion supports calendar as well as contacts with Outlook account?

            Thanks,
            Andrea

          • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

            I just tried and yes single letter domain names are possible – from WL Admin Center: “The account name can contain only letters, numbers, periods (.), hyphens
            (-), or underscores (_)”

            Don’t know anything about Macs, sorry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/reportered Ed West

    Went the whole hog and set-up a new outlook.com address….Mail in Windows 8 stopped working for a while and then sprung back into life showing my outlook.com address….same for my Windows 8 sign-on – phew

    Windows Phone 7 Hotmail not longer working…adding Outlook account using new details and now running fine…everything else seems to be working fine!

    • http://profiles.google.com/abrahamvivas Abraham Vivas

      You will not be able to buy anything form the marketplace now since it’s associated with the hotmail account. I had to do a hard reset to set that up again.

    • http://www.facebook.com/reportered Ed West

      Correction to above….it does break things on Windows Phone 7….so factory reset for me unlike I can rename my outlook address back to my old hot mail one :-(

  • Ed West

    Went the whole hog and set-up a new outlook.com address….Mail in Windows 8 stopped working for a while and then sprung back into life showing my outlook.com address….same for my Windows 8 sign-on – phew

    Windows Phone 7 Hotmail not longer working…adding Outlook account using new details and now running fine…everything else seems to be working fine!

    • http://profiles.google.com/abrahamvivas Abraham Vivas

      You will not be able to buy anything form the marketplace now since it’s associated with the hotmail account. I had to do a hard reset to set that up again.

    • Ed West

      Correction to above….it does break things on Windows Phone 7….so factory reset for me unlike I can rename my outlook address back to my old hot mail one :-(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548946468 Bryan Tran

    Damn it Outlook. For once, me experimenting with the new MS products have gotten me in a bit of trouble:
    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windowslive/forum/hotmail-signin/account-sign-in-changed-without-confirmation-how/116207a7-d188-42a2-97f2-5f2656699938

    • Breakingillusions

      its a Preview version not the final version :)

  • Asovse1

    Damn it Outlook. For once, me experimenting with the new MS products have gotten me in a bit of trouble:
    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windowslive/forum/hotmail-signin/account-sign-in-changed-without-confirmation-how/116207a7-d188-42a2-97f2-5f2656699938

    • Breakingillusions

      its a Preview version not the final version :)

  • Chen Ye

    Ahaha, love the promo video.  Anyone else notice the people in gchat?  Apparently Leia uses gmail…

    • Antioch18

      Oh, can you chat with Google contacts in Outlook.com now? If so this will make transitioning SUPER easy.

      • Chen Ye

        Unfortunately not.  I was talking about the Chalkboard “Oldmail” shot which was shown before the Outlook introduce in the video. 

  • Chen Ye

    Ahaha, love the promo video.  Anyone else notice the people in gchat?  Apparently Leia uses gmail…

    • Antioch18

      Oh, can you chat with Google contacts in Outlook.com now? If so this will make transitioning SUPER easy.

      • Chen Ye

        Unfortunately not.  I was talking about the Chalkboard “Oldmail” shot which was shown before the Outlook introduce in the video. 

  • Scott Howell

    If I use the domains.live.com feature, does that link my account with my new outlook.com address? Or does my domain become an entirely new Microsoft Account? (Meaning I’d have to sign into my domain name email in Windows 8, Windows Store, etc and get my email.)

    • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

      We use Windows Live Admin Center, too, and they’re treated as regular Hotmail accounts, you won’t have to do anything special (with the one caveat that if you set up a “co branded” logo for your accounts, you’ll have to remove it – it doesn’t play nice with the new Metro experience.  You can do that from domains.live.com)

      • IndiaFoxtrot

        How do you remove co-branding from WLAC? I don’t seem to find an option to do so.

  • Scott Howell

    If I use the domains.live.com feature, does that link my account with my new outlook.com address? Or does my domain become an entirely new Microsoft Account? (Meaning I’d have to sign into my domain name email in Windows 8, Windows Store, etc and get my email.)

    • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

      We use Windows Live Admin Center, too, and they’re treated as regular Hotmail accounts, you won’t have to do anything special (with the one caveat that if you set up a “co branded” logo for your accounts, you’ll have to remove it – it doesn’t play nice with the new Metro experience.  You can do that from domains.live.com)

      • IndiaFoxtrot

        How do you remove co-branding from WLAC? I don’t seem to find an option to do so.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hina.ars Xalman Xhan

    I really like the recent developments by Microsoft. After capturing a considerable chunk of HyperV’s and Cloud computing market from its great rivalry VMware. Now Microsoft’s 800 pound gorilla is ready to compete Google in this email client industry. I am really looking forward to see some new and innovative features in Outlook.com, and hope Microsoft will not disappoint us by just replicating the same functions and features that it already has in Hotmail.

    Here’s a nice blog explaining how and why Microsoft will dominate Hypervisors, VDI, Cloud & more in 2012:

    http://www.dincloud.com/blog/why-Microsoft-for-virtualization-explained

    If anyone is planning to write a blog or an article on how or why Microsoft will dominate this email hosting industry, please keep me posted.

    Thanks.

  • Xalman Xhan

    I really like the recent developments by Microsoft. After capturing a considerable chunk of HyperV’s and Cloud computing market from its great rivalry VMware. Now Microsoft’s 800 pound gorilla is ready to compete Google in this email client industry. I am really looking forward to see some new and innovative features in Outlook.com, and hope Microsoft will not disappoint us by just replicating the same functions and features that it already has in Hotmail.

    Here’s a nice blog explaining how and why Microsoft will dominate Hypervisors, VDI, Cloud & more in 2012:

    http://www.dincloud.com/blog/why-Microsoft-for-virtualization-explained

    If anyone is planning to write a blog or an article on how or why Microsoft will dominate this email hosting industry, please keep me posted.

    Thanks.

  • Hhell

    I can’t create an outlook.com alias :( i have reached the maximum number of aliases in the past and it seems that the redigned options page there is no way to delete them ! any clue ?

    • YeOldePharte

       Don’t do it ! 

      Learn from my bitter experience:  you cannot create 5 hotmail/live aliases and expect to remove one when you want to and replace it with another.  To be precise, Hotmail only allows you to go through the *alias-creating* process five times in one year. 

      When aliases first came out (Feb ’11) I created a few.  I created my last one sometime last summer (Aug/Sept ’11).  I then tried to delete two I didn’t like and replace them, but I got the message: “You’ve added the maximum number of email addresses right now (we have a
      limit to help keep your account information safe). Please try again
      later.”   “Later” means ONE FULL YEAR after creating your 5th alias.  I’ve been trying to create an alias for my account since November ’11 and STILL I’m told to try “later.”  Presumably, I’ll be allowed to create another (“Outlook”) alias in the next month or so — after all the good usernames are gone.  ;-)

      Supposedly, Hotmail allows/will allow creating 5 more aliases this year (perhaps it started in Feb ?) and then 5 more next year for a total of 15.  But AFAIK users are still only allowed to do so one year after creating their last (5th) alias. 

      I have also read some threads at the hotmail forums confirming this.

      So, be careful.  Don’t delete the alias unless you REALLY want to, and don’t expect to create any for a year after creating your 5th one.

  • Hhell

    I can’t create an outlook.com alias :( i have reached the maximum number of aliases in the past and it seems that the redigned options page there is no way to delete them ! any clue ?

    • YeOldePharte

       Don’t do it ! 

      Learn from my bitter experience:  you cannot create 5 hotmail/live aliases and expect to remove one when you want to and replace it with another.  To be precise, Hotmail only allows you to go through the *alias-creating* process five times in one year. 

      When aliases first came out (Feb ’11) I created a few.  I created my last one sometime last summer (Aug/Sept ’11).  I then tried to delete two I didn’t like and replace them, but I got the message: “You’ve added the maximum number of email addresses right now (we have a
      limit to help keep your account information safe). Please try again
      later.”   “Later” means ONE FULL YEAR after creating your 5th alias.  I’ve been trying to create an alias for my account since November ’11 and STILL I’m told to try “later.”  Presumably, I’ll be allowed to create another (“Outlook”) alias in the next month or so — after all the good usernames are gone.  ;-)

      Supposedly, Hotmail allows/will allow creating 5 more aliases this year (perhaps it started in Feb ?) and then 5 more next year for a total of 15.  But AFAIK users are still only allowed to do so one year after creating their last (5th) alias. 

      I have also read some threads at the hotmail forums confirming this.

      So, be careful.  Don’t delete the alias unless you REALLY want to, and don’t expect to create any for a year after creating your 5th one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000386235192 Iain Berryman

    I made an outlook.com account, can I combine it with an older @Hotmail.co.uk account?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000386235192 Iain Berryman

    I made an outlook.com account, can I combine it with an older @Hotmail.co.uk account?

  • Big_papa_boogaloo

    Flagged messages in the new interface are hard to distinguish from the rest! what was formerly a clear red is now a pale pink which is hard to pick out against the grey unflagged messages :(

  • Big_papa_boogaloo

    Flagged messages in the new interface are hard to distinguish from the rest! what was formerly a clear red is now a pale pink which is hard to pick out against the grey unflagged messages :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000386235192 Iain Berryman

    Just noticed… There won’t be an @outlook.co.uk email address! http://www.outlook.co.uk is already taken by another company who use @outlook.co.uk!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000386235192 Iain Berryman

    Just noticed… There won’t be an @outlook.co.uk email address! http://www.outlook.co.uk is already taken by another company who use @outlook.co.uk!

  • eknirb

    Get signed out constantly in Chrome.  Why?

  • eknirb

    Get signed out constantly in Chrome.  Why?

  • eknirb

    PS, I have hotmail and outlook.com in the same drop down, I made an alias rather than new acct.  yet when I try to sign in with hotmail—‘no such acct exists.’

    • Eric

      Some of the explanatory text mentions that aliases are not for logging in. You still have to use the account ID for login.

      • eknirb

        I  can log in to new Outlook.com fine in FF, and I stay logged in.  With Chrome, I get signed out everytime I do something.  ANYthing.

  • eknirb

    PS, I have hotmail and outlook.com in the same drop down, I made an alias rather than new acct.  yet when I try to sign in with hotmail—‘no such acct exists.’

    • Eric

      Some of the explanatory text mentions that aliases are not for logging in. You still have to use the account ID for login.

      • eknirb

        I  can log in to new Outlook.com fine in FF, and I stay logged in.  With Chrome, I get signed out everytime I do something.  ANYthing.

  • jnt

    I normally pay $20/year to get rid of the ads, but while they’re less intrusive, they bog things down pretty good while loading up the first time… :|

    • jnt

      Though my gmail has been slow as molasses lately, too… 

  • jnt

    I normally pay $20/year to get rid of the ads, but while they’re less intrusive, they bog things down pretty good while loading up the first time… :|

    • jnt

      Though my gmail has been slow as molasses lately, too… 

  • Asrialys

    Saw an Engadget comment about someone being bumped back down to 7 GB of SkyDrive after signing into Outlook.com. I don’t know if they actually used their Hotmail account (with 25 GB of SkyDrive) or if they may have made a new e-mail account. Anyone know if this is actually happening?

  • Asrialys

    Saw an Engadget comment about someone being bumped back down to 7 GB of SkyDrive after signing into Outlook.com. I don’t know if they actually used their Hotmail account (with 25 GB of SkyDrive) or if they may have made a new e-mail account. Anyone know if this is actually happening?

  • http://twitter.com/ohfuckinreally Voice of Reason

    it’s…. beautiful :’)

  • awhellno

    it’s…. beautiful :’)

  • http://twitter.com/francerz Francisco Cervantes

    I found a new option under Managing your Account, Called Messaging History, this is suposed to save the IM history, not sure if works only when the web versión is up or if also saves when only WLMessenger is open.
    At least is something that I have been waiting for a long time.

  • http://twitter.com/francerz Francisco Cervantes

    I found a new option under Managing your Account, Called Messaging History, this is suposed to save the IM history, not sure if works only when the web versión is up or if also saves when only WLMessenger is open.
    At least is something that I have been waiting for a long time.

  • gfant

    There seems to be bug relating Contacts/”People”. The date differs between the date shown at “People” and synced to my iPhone. (Difference is 1 day).

  • gfant

    There seems to be bug relating Contacts/”People”. The date differs between the date shown at “People” and synced to my iPhone. (Difference is 1 day).

  • cmwind

    I understand why outlook is an appropriate brand name change. More than that I like it…

    BUT

    … The way I had previously seen Microsoft aligning and condensing their brands was:Windows – platforms
    Office – productivity
    Bing – search
    Xbox – entertainment
    Skype – communication?

    The big Microsoft brands that did not seem to have a home in this system were Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Lync (not a consumer brand but 1 of 3 IM brands) SkyDrive, and Hotmail (obviously that has been fixed and now sits underneath the Office umbrella – at least from a branding perspective)… So are they going to clean up WL Messenger and Lync branding by putting them under the Skype brand? And if so then Skype would become their “communication” brand and if Skype is communication at Microsoft shouldn’t it follow that Skype serves calls, messaging, AND mail?

  • cmwind

    I understand why outlook is an appropriate brand name change. More than that I like it…

    BUT

    … The way I had previously seen Microsoft aligning and condensing their brands was:Windows – platforms
    Office – productivity
    Bing – search
    Xbox – entertainment
    Skype – communication?

    The big Microsoft brands that did not seem to have a home in this system were Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Lync (not a consumer brand but 1 of 3 IM brands) SkyDrive, and Hotmail (obviously that has been fixed and now sits underneath the Office umbrella – at least from a branding perspective)… So are they going to clean up WL Messenger and Lync branding by putting them under the Skype brand? And if so then Skype would become their “communication” brand and if Skype is communication at Microsoft shouldn’t it follow that Skype serves calls, messaging, AND mail?

  • YeOldePharte

    Even though the Windows Team Blog has recently reaffirmed the Hotmail team’s ‘commitment’ to users’ security, they continue to lag woefully behind many other services in some basics: 

    Sixteen character password limit on one of the most attacked, cracked, and hacked email services ?  No special characters allowed in security question answers ?  No two-step authentication ?  (Even Yahoo (blech) is superior in these regards — though I cancelled my service with them years ago when I saw they had no intention of ever introducing full-session SSL, and so they haven’t.)

    I’m not ready yet to trust my mail and/or files to a service (albeit one constantly improving) that seems to think some of these security items can be put indefinitely on the back burner with only promises of some-day implementation, while they concentrate on a truckload of bells and whistles. 

    Well, I would never move my important possessions into a dwelling that doesn’t have sufficient locks on its doors or windows.  FIRST show me they’ve caught up with the competition regarding effective security measures, THEN I’ll start moving in.

    • http://macrosofter.wordpress.com/ quikboy

      According to this article, they already did two years ago. http://blog.policypatrol.com/2010/09/microsoft-bolsters-email-security-for-hotmail

      As for the password limits, I don’t see why they can’t go beyond those limits, but I don’t have an issue as I believe my password is already very secure with just 8 characters.

      Not sure about the security question character limits, but I do have an issue with the questions being mostly stupid. Wish you could make your own.

      • MsRose

        Anyone who listens to Steve Gibson on Security Now would know why 8 characters isn’t enough. 

      • YeOldePharte

         Hi, quikboy

        Yes, you’re right.  Hotmail did implement some good security features in the article you linked to.  I have set up both of the ones mentioned there (trusted pc and what they call ‘two step verification’).  But both of those are used only reactively (after account issues), not proactively. 

        For example, Google’s version of two-step authentication is used to further secure the login process, thereby preventing anyone but the account holder from logging in.  Hotmail’s version is simply having the cell phone number on file to be used to reset a password in the event an account is compromised — a good measure, to be sure, but not preventative as Google’s is. 

        Trusted PC is also reactive, a way to help authenticate an account holder when resetting a password *after* account compromises.  It would be great if could be modified somehow to be used proactively, for those who only access their accounts from personal computers and phones.

        To clarify on the security question point:  Special characters (#,$,%,etc.), as you’re surely aware, are used in most email services’ passcodes, as well as security question answers.  But with Hotmail, they are only permitted in the passcode, NOT the security question answer.  It’s a minor point, but I figure every little bit of security helps, and having special characters permitted increases the possible combinations that a hacker must go through to gain access.

        Re: security questions themselves:  I just pick one at random (regardless of how dumb they might seem), and I give a long, passcode quality “answer” to it.  E.g. for “Mother’s birthplace” I might provide the ‘answer': f^L^v$2aT*D&hilSLi@ — at least I would if Hotmail allowed all characters.   ;-)

  • YeOldePharte

    Even though the Windows Team Blog has recently reaffirmed the Hotmail team’s ‘commitment’ to users’ security, they continue to lag woefully behind many other services in some basics: 

    Sixteen character password limit on one of the most attacked, cracked, and hacked email services ?  No special characters allowed in security question answers ?  No two-step authentication ?  (Even Yahoo (blech) is superior in these regards — though I cancelled my service with them years ago when I saw they had no intention of ever introducing full-session SSL, and so they haven’t.)

    I’m not ready yet to trust my mail and/or files to a service (albeit one constantly improving) that seems to think some of these security items can be put indefinitely on the back burner with only promises of some-day implementation, while they concentrate on a truckload of bells and whistles. 

    Well, I would never move my important possessions into a dwelling that doesn’t have sufficient locks on its doors or windows.  FIRST show me they’ve caught up with the competition regarding effective security measures, THEN I’ll start moving in.

    • http://macrosofter.wordpress.com/ quikboy

      According to this article, they already did two years ago. http://blog.policypatrol.com/2010/09/microsoft-bolsters-email-security-for-hotmail

      As for the password limits, I don’t see why they can’t go beyond those limits, but I don’t have an issue as I believe my password is already very secure with just 8 characters.

      Not sure about the security question character limits, but I do have an issue with the questions being mostly stupid. Wish you could make your own.

      • MsRose

        Anyone who listens to Steve Gibson on Security Now would know why 8 characters isn’t enough. 

      • YeOldePharte

         Hi, quikboy

        Yes, you’re right.  Hotmail did implement some good security features in the article you linked to.  I have set up both of the ones mentioned there (trusted pc and what they call ‘two step verification’).  But both of those are used only reactively (after account issues), not proactively. 

        For example, Google’s version of two-step authentication is used to further secure the login process, thereby preventing anyone but the account holder from logging in.  Hotmail’s version is simply having the cell phone number on file to be used to reset a password in the event an account is compromised — a good measure, to be sure, but not preventative as Google’s is. 

        Trusted PC is also reactive, a way to help authenticate an account holder when resetting a password *after* account compromises.  It would be great if could be modified somehow to be used proactively, for those who only access their accounts from personal computers and phones.

        To clarify on the security question point:  Special characters (#,$,%,etc.), as you’re surely aware, are used in most email services’ passcodes, as well as security question answers.  But with Hotmail, they are only permitted in the passcode, NOT the security question answer.  It’s a minor point, but I figure every little bit of security helps, and having special characters permitted increases the possible combinations that a hacker must go through to gain access.

        Re: security questions themselves:  I just pick one at random (regardless of how dumb they might seem), and I give a long, passcode quality “answer” to it.  E.g. for “Mother’s birthplace” I might provide the ‘answer': f^L^v$2aT*D&hilSLi@ — at least I would if Hotmail allowed all characters.   ;-)

  • TT

    How can I rename my current @live.com with an already registered account @outlook.com.

    I rushed and registered @outlook.com and now it shows as taken when I try to rename my @live.com account to this account I registered yesterday with @outlook.com. THere should be an option to sign in if I’m the ownser of that registered email but it shows only taken…

    Please Help!!!!!!!!!!!­!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • cmwind

      only option is to close the @outlook.com you created yesterday. the reserve that account for 270 days though after you close it (and if you log into it at any point after closing it then it will be reactivated)… after 270 days you can try to migrate your @Hotmail to the @outlook name that you have now

  • TT

    How can I rename my current @live.com with an already registered account @outlook.com.

    I rushed and registered @outlook.com and now it shows as taken when I try to rename my @live.com account to this account I registered yesterday with @outlook.com. THere should be an option to sign in if I’m the ownser of that registered email but it shows only taken…

    Please Help!!!!!!!!!!!­!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • cmwind

      only option is to close the @outlook.com you created yesterday. the reserve that account for 270 days though after you close it (and if you log into it at any point after closing it then it will be reactivated)… after 270 days you can try to migrate your @Hotmail to the @outlook name that you have now

  • Asrialys

    The Mobile Hotmail now matches the Outlook.com layout. However, everything else, including Contacts, still uses the old Windows Live mobile layout.

  • Asrialys

    The Mobile Hotmail now matches the Outlook.com layout. However, everything else, including Contacts, still uses the old Windows Live mobile layout.

  • Abc

    I love this new interface

  • Abc

    I love this new interface

  • http://twitter.com/Henryed07 Henry Edwards

    Those using a Windows Phone and you have changed your WLID to the new outlook thus hard resetting your phone. If you want to use the Outlook email client on the phone then just sync your settings again and untick ‘email’ in your main windows live account that’s linked to the phone. This way you can use the automatic replies and see flagged email.

    Edit: this only works if you don’t have to-dos syncing, or you will get multiple to-dos.

  • henryed07

    Those using a Windows Phone and you have changed your WLID to the new outlook thus hard resetting your phone. If you want to use the Outlook email client on the phone then just sync your settings again and untick ‘email’ in your main windows live account that’s linked to the phone. This way you can use the automatic replies and see flagged email.

    Edit: this only works if you don’t have to-dos syncing, or you will get multiple to-dos.

  • Alan-harland

    Need a MAC exchange or imap client then it’ll beat gmail

  • Alan-harland

    Need a MAC exchange or imap client then it’ll beat gmail

  • tphillip

    Still missing “Send-As” ability so that those of us who use an email forwarding service (Eg: pobox.com) can have the From address set to their forwarding service. “Send-on-behalf-of” is NOT an acceptable substitute.

  • tphillip

    Still missing “Send-As” ability so that those of us who use an email forwarding service (Eg: pobox.com) can have the From address set to their forwarding service. “Send-on-behalf-of” is NOT an acceptable substitute.

  • Guest

    Okay.  I get that they chose Outlook.com as the new name for this service as that name is widely associated with Microsoft’s popular personal information management application.  The problem with the name is that there’s not enough to differentiate the two products. Since the web-based application provides only a small subset of the functionality of the client application I would have called it Outlook Express. :-)
    I also think that they need to be more consistent with the labeling of things in the upper left corner.  Currently, the name Outlook only appears in the Mail screen.  Does the Outlook name apply to just Mail or does it apply to all of the interrelated functions in the charms menu at the top: Mail, People, Calendar.  If so, the Mail screen should be labeld Mail and not Outlook.  This is how it is labeled in the charms menu, afterall.  They need to be consistent.  And how does Skydrive fit into that?  I would organize things much differently in the charms menu:

    Outlook (Group Label)
    Mail (Tile) – People (Tile) – Calendar (Tile)

    SkyDrive (Group Label)
    Photos (Tile) – Music (Tile – Documents (Tile) – Create Word Document/Excel Spreadsheet/PowerPoint Presentation/OneNote Book (2×2 Mini Tiles)

  • Uncommon_Tater

    Okay.  I get that they chose Outlook.com as the new name for this service as that name is widely associated with Microsoft’s popular personal information management application.  The problem with the name is that there’s not enough to differentiate the two products. Since the web-based application provides only a small subset of the functionality of the client application I would have called it Outlook Express. :-)
    I also think that they need to be more consistent with the labeling of things in the upper left corner.  Currently, the name Outlook only appears in the Mail screen.  Does the Outlook name apply to just Mail or does it apply to all of the interrelated functions in the charms menu at the top: Mail, People, Calendar.  If so, the Mail screen should be labeld Mail and not Outlook.  This is how it is labeled in the charms menu, afterall.  They need to be consistent.  And how does Skydrive fit into that?  I would organize things much differently in the charms menu:

    Outlook (Group Label)
    Mail (Tile) – People (Tile) – Calendar (Tile)

    SkyDrive (Group Label)
    Photos (Tile) – Music (Tile – Documents (Tile) – Create Word Document/Excel Spreadsheet/PowerPoint Presentation/OneNote Book (2×2 Mini Tiles)