They changed Windows Live Hotmail and I don’t like what they did.
How can I revert back to the old version?
Windows Live Hotmail made some changes to their user interface last
week, and since many people find my site in reference to Hotmail
issues, I’ve been hearing a lot about it.
More specifically, I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints.
So, I’m going to go off on a bit of a rant here. And it’s not aimed
I think the question I hear the most often when this happens is “Why did they have to change it?”
There are two answers to that:
It doesn’t matter why. They can, and they did. To be extra blunt: get used to it.
They have to.
Yes, they have to. And I’m dead serious about that.
The fact is Hotmail is a business. Yes, free email services provide a service, but it’s not something done out of charity; it needs to fit into a business model that makes sense for whatever company owns and operates the service.
More importantly, it’s a business in competition with some other very serious, very savvy and very strong services. Services like Google Mail and Yahoo present a very serious threat to Hotmail’s dominance in the free email market.
For Hotmail to do nothing, to remain static and unchanging, would be slow virtual suicide.
The folks at Hotmail must keep innovating, they must keep streamlining, they must keep changing the product to keep up with, or stay ahead of, their competition. They really have no choice.
And it’s not just Hotmail. Yahoo Mail also went under a fairly massive change to make their service more competitive with Google Mail. And Google Mail is also periodically adding features and making changes over time.
None of the popular services are static and unchanging. Nor will they ever be … at least not until they’re about to die.
My take-away at this point is simple: if you are averse to change, don’t use free email services. At least stay away from those that are embroiled in such visible head-to-head competition. They’re going to change from time to time. (There are plenty of other reasons to avoid free email services for anything important. This is another.)
If things staying exactly the same is important to you … well, then a lot of today’s technology isn’t really for you. Things do change, no matter what. But when it comes to email, you can at least slow the rate at which you’re forced to change by taking responsibility for your own email in the form of a desktop email client. I know people who’ve been using the same email program, the same version of that email program, for over a decade. They don’t want to change, and they don’t have to; at least not as often.
The next most common complaint is simply not liking the changes that were made. This, in turn, is again most commonly not being able to figure out how to do things in the new interface that people knew how to do in the old.
“Did Microsoft even test this thing with real people?” is a common theme.
Yes they did. Lots of real people.
To quote their FAQ on the change:
We tested with several thousand people around the world and used their feedback to improve the design prior to releasing to all users. We interviewed hundreds of them to hear their opinions, measured their success rate accomplishing common tasks, and surveyed them to see how much they liked the new service compared to the old one. The data from our tests showed that most users found the new Hotmail to be faster, more reliable, and more usable.
Having seen what Microsoft does in the way of usability testing, I believe them. Regardless of what vocal nay-sayer’s might think or say, they do not take this stuff lightly; not at all. They make changes for a reason, and that reason is more often than not because more people found it easier to use.
And I also know that no interface will please everyone. By the nature of what they’re attempting to accomplish, Microsoft aims to please as many people as possible – that’s what’s required to keep the business competitive, after all – but that simple statement implies that not everyone will like it.
And if you’re one of those “not everyone”, the whole change might well look stupid and pointless to you, and it’s probably very, very frustrating.
And yet to many, many others, it really is an improvement.
Time for You To Change?
So my question to you is simply this: if you really don’t like the changes that much, if this really annoys you or pisses you off as much as some of the questions I’m seeing would imply….
Why are you still using Hotmail?
Send a message. Vote with your feet.
If Microsoft really got it wrong, and you represent a sizable chunk of Hotmail users, leaving is the best thing you can do. This is a business, and the success or failure of these changes is measured by the number of users. If that takes a drop because people are leaving due to the change, I can’t think of a stronger message.
Why are you still using Hotmail?
If you really don’t like it that much, find and use something that you do.
As I mentioned earlier, using a desktop client will insulate you from random web based UI changes. Or perhaps you like the pace and approach of Google’s changes; they certainly seem less massive and more open about what they’re doing. Or perhaps there’s something else entirely. You might not even have to give up the Hotmail email address if their forwarding service works for you (it doesn’t for everyone), or if you use one of the desktop client Hotmail download approaches.
To be clear, I have nothing against Hotmail. Used properly it’s a fine tool for various purposes. And as to the most recent changes, I don’t really have a strong opinion; it’s slightly different, but from my corner at least, quite usable.
But to go all the way back to answer the original question, “How can I get the old Windows Live Hotmail back?” – you can’t. It is what it is, whether you like it or not.
What’s important to realize is that as the customer of any product or service, you ultimately have total control. No, you can’t control how Hotmail works or what it looks like, but you can control what you do.
You can’t change Hotmail, but you can change you.
Hotmail, or whatever service you’re unhappy with, is not your only choice.
If enough people switch to other services maybe they’ll listen maybe they won’t.
But if you’ve taken the time to find something that you like better, you won’t care any more.
73 comments on “How can I get the old Windows Live Hotmail back?”
Well said, Leo. I have tried most of the other popular e-mail programs and find good and bad in all of them. I have used AOL 9.0 for years and nothing compares to its ease of use and many terrific features. Many people bash AOL, but I will keep their e-mail as my main go-to client. I pay a small monthly fee, but find it more than worth it for the stable, unchanging interface. I embrace changing technology in most areas, but leave my e-mail alone.
“If we lived in a logical world, hemorrhoids would be called asteroids”
Feh, I wish I could change my email service. For some reason my university thought it would be a good idea to use Hotmail for our official email accounts, so I am forced to use it.
The new layout doesn’t even work in Opera (my browser of choice), which is extremely frustrating…
If they’ll let you, you might try some of the desktop client solutions for Hotmail.
since you changed the new windows hotmail format, i have lost some of my contacts and can’t get them back on my list. i have tried everything. HELP
I don’t mind the change it is I cannot get the functions with the change. I cannot forward and have ask for some options to get to forward my mail but no one will answer. When I press the TO
for contacts buttons I get one big page with one contact and no scroll button where I could go up and down like on the old hot mail. It was so easy. I have one important contact on there and when I press contacts my forward mail goes away.
I loose every thing. I would just like to know how to get to forward I do so much of that and since the new window I can not. I had a mail to ask me forward something to the person and I could not. Changes are good and bad and you have to remember you are dealing with young middle age and old people. so you have to take all into consideration.
I have no problem with change except for the fact that four days ago I went to check my email and it was gone.. I have attempted to log in to it and I continue to get the message that it nolonger exsists and so I created a new account with live just to have a place to get some kind of respons. My problem is that I have nobody to go to try and get my account back. Any suggestions.
I mwant to review my sent mail—where do I go???
Having used HOTMAIL for over ten years I had liked its userfriendly service. Now with the changes when I cant retrieve sent mail and find locating contacts tedious Iwould like to go to some other service provider. Trouble is I have other IDs but not having used them for so long I do not properly recall my pass word etc. So the service provider tells me the name exists but password doesn’t. How irretating has Hotmail become
AMEN! It’s unbelievable how many people complain about a free service that THEY SIGNED UP FOR! I think it’s because most fall into the trap of expecting e-mail addresses to last forever. Until they are willing to register their own domain, they can’t expect to have a email@example.com. I have had for 5 years a free e-mail account (which shall remain nameless), but I do try to be aware it could disappear at any time. I also actively give the service feedback on changes to help participate in making the product better.
Excellent, full-bloodied, completely deserved, totally customer-focussed (though they might not see it that way), justifiable rant.
I would also like to remind people that there’s no such thing as “free” even if it looks free. And if it looks free, what does it say about a business that has its own domain name like mydomain.com yet still uses mycompany123(at)aol.com or even worse, mycompany345(at)hotmail.com. How unprofessional is that? Great article.
I have been using NetAddress for more than fifteen years (it uses the “@usa.net” domain). It started out free, then began charging for its services. I decided to stay with them because of the convenience and service. Over the years, I have not been disappointed. Though their fee is somewhat high, the service is worth it. All of my problem requests have had a response time of less than 24 hours – and all of them have been resolved. The old saying, “You get what you pay for” is certainly true here.
Hi, I’m 74 years old and endorse Linn Barringer’s answer fully. Further my workplace started using computers in the late 60’s or early 70’s even with written messages some subordinates would interpret instructions so differently that I now always send blind copies to myself. Leo gives crystal clear detaild explainations but there will always be a few that have no idea what was explained. From an old cynic that loves to play with to-days technological toys. D.D.
I can’t visualize the complete list of my contacts .After clicking on TO 2 or 3 contacts names will appear but I can’t scroll down to get access to the others.
On the left of the screen I can’t see my folders unless I move my page to the right.I do not have to do that on my monitor except when using HOTMAIL.
I liked the old version better and if there is no changes I will go to GMAIL.J.P.
I had, just recenlty, three web-mail accounts … Gmail, Yahoo mail, and Hotmail. While nice to have “choice” I got very dissatisfied with Yahoo and Hotmail and, last week, I cancelled my accounts. So, for now, I have Gmail. So far, I’m satisfied with Gmail.
I read through your so called rant in hopes of learning how to get My old edition of hotmail back, with the new version I cannot access all the people in My address book, I guess I need a 24 inch monitor in order to do so. but to lead people on so they think you have a way for them to get back their old hotmail and then near the end you have nothing is a bunch of crap and a total waste of Mine and many others time, I have limited time I use this darm computer as it is and do not care to have it wasted because someone wishes to offer their opinion and not give one bit of help, so thanks for nothing!!!!!!!
Leo, You are WRONG on all hotmail accounts having a forward and reply buttone. They are no where to be found on my hotmail! Not even where you show them. What a pain. And I would leave hotmail but it isn;t that easy to pack up 500+ emails in your box and move on, and, most people contact me through this address (or AT least my real hotmail address. I’ll give it a few more weeks -then leave.
I wish you would research peoples complaints before you give answers.
Interesting, your comments on free email services. I usr Verizon-Yahoo that comes with my service. Thay recently announced they will be adding advertisements to email in December. It won’t be clear if this is only in-coming, in and out or just the web version until it happens. I use the pop3 services and if it has the adds in it I will not use it as primary. I also use Gmail. It has worked just fine, less spam getting through and provides both web and pop3 services. The only thing I don’t like is the web version.
i want my old hotmail back. This version too confusing. Also, cannot print out what I want to send before I send it. If I do print, it only prings half the page because their “contact information etc is on the left side. Done’t know how to delete this either. I want my old probram back. edie
as a paid subscriber of hotmail it ticks me off that we(paid members) do not get or have the option to use old or new.yes it started free but soon became a matter of getting/having storage,something yahoo does still provide free as does gmail.having accounts with all of the above it is no stretch of imagination that any of the other will or may get my business as that Is what these accounts are used for.in short it is as easy to pay any of the others as it is msn(microsoft) hotmail.at least yahoo listens to users and still leaves the option open unlike hotmail. hello other accounts that fit a users needs
The biggest complaint I have with live email service is you have to be on line to access your email.
With hotmail you can be off line and read your mail and you can DL all your email easily to your hard drive.
It seems to me all the convenience is lost with live email services.
Can you recommend a “payed” email service that allows you to work off line and store your mail on your hard drive? I will use it!
I can’t forward emails on my laptop via hotmail, I cannot write a new email and send it, I cannot reply to an email. This has only started since the new version. Yet I can do all this on my desktop computer with the same hotmail! There must be a hidden setting somewhere. I have looked in options, security etc. But as our laptop is used when we travel and we do have to reply to emails on the road, I need it fixed. Perhaps I will have to look at Gmail,and as for hotmail being a free service and we should accept whatever we get for a free service, I don’t agree, I have been with Hotmail since almost its beginning, and therefore one of the millions that helped it get where it got to. Hotmail needs to give some help to those that helped it. I would prefer to stay with hotmail because over 9 years, plenty of my business contacts have that address, no others.
Leo, Can you try and find out why some computers seem to show “reply and forward” buttons and others do not?
Even if I right click, the drop down menu has “forward” greyed out.
The new hotmail stinks and I will be be taking your advice and voting with my feet. My main complaint is- I can’t forward to multiple contacts at once anymore.
on my contact list or addresbook it only shows the name of my contact and not tyhe E-Mail addres how can i restore this feature?
I’m really upset because I can no longer obtain access to my important folderson the old windows live hotmail. I have some very valued pictures, schedules, and other important information stored in “important” folders. Will you please tell me how to get to them on this new hotmail?
Don’t even remember my BIGGEST hotmail problems. No scroll bar on my contacts page. That means I have to remember every assistant’s name to every boss, every boss in every company, etc. I also have to bottom scroll back and forth to read most of my email. I have no “favorites” and have to go to my entire contact list to email. And mine is SLOW!! When I click on a new email in my inbox, it first shows me the email I previously opened and then shows the one I want. How could their test market have none of the problems that we have??? How could their test market find this version easier than the last??? Who is their test market anyway???
I am having no luck switching back and this is making me very angry – before you change things on people – give them the option. After all I am the one who uses the system.
Another problem with the new hotmail – I seem to have lost [ie I cannot access them – an error message appears when I click saying report this to Hotmail !] all my outgoing messages that I moved to a new folder before they changed the format.
i dont like da new window that thay did for hotmail i cant cheek my mail for nothin i want my old windows live hotmail back i cant even write back to my family ….or friends plez justed change it back
Is the reason I cannot access my email with your new update because my eMac is too old? It is version 10.3.9. If this is the reason, then I will have to opt out until I get a newer computer (or more memory). Thanks.
As a 56 year old net virgin, it has taken me some million lost brain cells to realise why my Hotmail has changed. Due to the arbitrary way this has been done, I cannot now access my address book. Is this right? I tried importing the addresses, but was told the file was too large and try again after reducing it. I can’t reduce it until I can find the damn thing! I tried following your helpful guide but the “Switch to MSN Hotmail” option is not shown. Have I really lost all my sent emails? I can’t believe that these changes were implemented without being given proper warning about the consequences?
I’ve really very little hair left to pull out, and any help (or just confirmation of my understanding of the situation) would be very much appreciated.
How do I access the new system with my present Email address? I’ve read the article but am a neophyte with computers and don’t know how to access the new version.
I like the new Hotmail re style and usability, but since the change I have had countless problems which may not be because of the change. After logging in it “sticks” and won’t let me open mail or in fact do anything. It tells me it’s “loading” and sticks there, Sometimes I can’t even log out, and the only thing I can do is switch off the computer. HELP!?!
I am having Sooooooo many problems, when I go into my Email, I can’t do anything, the hour glass appears and nothing can be done. I tryed to get help from “error smart” well they are not so smart. They have really screwed up my computer good now. It is so hard as I have to have my sister read and respond to my emails for me. Any ideas. Please help, and yes, Happy Holidays.
hotmail will not accept any password I use to get into my mail I have filled in for conformation all my personal details they asked for and requested the :forgot password: they replied they have sent am email with my oassword into my inbox. How stuuid can one be ,if I cant open the mail how am I supposed to read the email they have sent!!!all adresses files etc are needed by me .How do I get in touch with Hotmail to see what they are playing at with me ..Thanks.
Wow the new Windows Live look great – but I have lost my Messenger contacts. Using the new mail I also have no contacts except if I go directly onto the web?? I fell back to Messenger 8.1 and walla contacts are back. Now to fall Back to the old Mail – I cant get that right.
So now I uninstall the new windows live and go back 1 version – all works except the photo – loader –Huh!! ok reinstall new windows live again – Messenger and mail contact gone – Somebody PLEASE HELP ME I’M GOING CRAZY,
just go onto the internet and search – download msn messenger/hotmail 7.5
NOW WHAT DO I DO I HAVE LOTS OF MAIL AND NO WAY TO GET IT TO READ. HELP HELP PLEASE SOMEONE HAD HOT MAIL IN IRAQ – NEED IT BACK TO FIND MY FRIENDS
I have tesk top PC, since I have a laptop, did not use my PC for a year or so, I tried the other day to check my email, I signed in the hotmail and it say new version is available to download, tried to download and it kept shuting off,
the PC is about 9 years old and is 533MKz,
could you please let me know how to get it working again. thank you
What the dickens is a desktop email client?
Can you tell us some examples?
if you really dont like the changes, start using outlook for your hotmail or other mail services. Im sure leo would like to write an article (or already did) on how to configure outlook for your hotmail.
I can’t video chat with freinds and relatives since this new MSN window live, Why and How do I get it back?
Apparently my disaster started several days ago when I innocently signed up for Live Hotmail, assuming it was just another update of my longstanding and large Hotmail.com account. Where are my Hotmail incoming messages, contact list, Sent, and other folders?? I have looked at length but have found no way to retrieve any. Is there some simple way to get them?
help please….I tried uninstalling msn, but accidentally uninstalled the wrong component, which has left me without my Hotmail account, im so frustrated. I tried signing in with new live mail account, but just cannot retrieve my old email address…..elp please…thanks
I am a bit concern about loosing the old window lve messenger hot mail because of my regular contact and my regular live chat. This si why I’d rather stick with the old one. Please bear with me sa I’m a bit old fashion. Hope you understand.
I am unable to get my email since tuesday. I had been able to login to Hotmail to my home screen, but when I clicked on my inbox, it would load up and I could see the messages momentarily, then an error message that state internet explorer can not open the website, operation aborted… today I had another change, now when I type http://www.hotmail.com, a white page with the message “the server is to busy” comes up…. so generically, is hotmail down? and if not what do i need to do to correct this?
I am one of those people who you write about
I do not like change, (possibly age related).
I have managed to get a new Gmail.com e-mail address but do not understand how I can transfer my hotmail files over to Gmail.
Hoping you can help.
I have had difficulty getting into my hotmail account, told me my password was wrong. Even the security questions were wrong. Then it told me it is temporarily unavailable, when a virus was removed. Will I be able to retrieve it again in a couple of days. I was told by another IT person to let you people know that there is a virus going around steeling passwords and accounts. Very upsetting
Your comments were not helpful at all. Are you saying just start over with a new email service? Which one do you suggest? Outlook express was nothing but a problem. Google is the company that turns in people in China. Yahoo ditto.
I am having the SAME issue say 4/9 post from Gail Suber. What the HECK is up … and once I get “in” .. somehow .. I fear what I will find … or NOT find.
Understand your point about change .. but …
Regarding your comments on CHANGE , I sugest that you do the same as Hotmail if youn do not like change as done by them. You do the same “CHANGE,” I have done , and am now with gmail which so far has been O.K , i have not had any problems at all .
My problem is that the new Hotmail live mail refuses to recognize my ISP, so any time I try to send a link message it is blocked! Is there any way I can uninstall Windows live mail without losing the hotmail account? Thanks.
I anm in the same boat with other people. I cannot get my msn hotmail. I cannot find a phone number for tech support. I am put in my alternate email address but everything is so screwed up with this Live Hotmail. PLEASE HELP! Lorrie G
My problem I am having with the new version of windows live hotmail.is my instant messenging, now I cant do it any more. , now I have to be transferring my contact list on YAHOO MESSENGER. TO BE ABLE TO SEND MY CONTACTS INSTANT MESSAGES. Which I think Microsoft was running from in the first place. there are some times , its best to leave things alone. When making improvement one should make sure that it really worth it. even bing was not fully thought out. because they try to block google . and when you try to search for something on bing it does not work .unlike google. microsift may want to contact me to help them come up with solution . which will bring changes but keep their clientel happy.
Leo. you see this is what will kill Microsoft. disloyalties to its customers. by chasing Google and yahoo. just look at your question!…
Windows Live Hotmail changes occasionally and typically there’s no going back. If that’s a problem, my question is: Why are you still using Hotmail?
Are they going to try to top twitter too? what microsoft should realize , is there are more and more fads comming on to the market. and they should know that they will never be able to stop them. so the best thing to do is to try and keep the clientel they have happy and i can assure you that they will increase their numbers. because when other new fads failed . people will want to be able to come home and just know exactly where to find things. instead of all this frustration.
This seem to becoming like the dog and its bone and its shadow, he drop his bone in the water . because he he think he saw a bigger bone in the water. so he drop his to go get it. not realising that he was seeing his own bone, that showed up as a bigger bone in the water. Microsoft may be doing this to its self and not even realize it.
What about hose of us who PAY for the premium level of hotmail, meaning it ISN”T FREE. I have had the same email address for years, rather than using the ones offered by my provider. I have gone through several providers for one reason or another, including relocating.
Some may be confusing the issues, of going to the Hotmail website to check their mail, or using windows LOVE which does download and store the mail on the computer, which is ALWAYS my own preference as I have thousands of emails saved as a matter of record and reference form years past. I know how to find and keep them backed up to save against loss.
The newest version of Windows Live doesn’t display the SED/RECEIVE button to allow me to force a mail check before the scheduled check. How do I get that back? And the text in emails that I reply to has gotten more difficult to manipulate with cutting, pasting, deleteing. Such a pain! Outlook Express is working with hotmail again so I guess I’ll just use that old program again.
I am a paid hotmail subscriber (for about 3 years), and I recently had to upgrade my Outlook with “Outlook connector” and for whatever reason only about half of my folders transferred on the first day it is five days later and the rest of the folders did finally show up. On day two I had emailed Hotmail support (starting with Microsoft help through the FAQ’s, and then onto they question it did take some tie to wade through the webpages) and quickly did receive more useful information from them. Earlier in the year I had to use a lesser service than Hotmail, and what a painful experience it was it took hours to do minutes worth of work, and the company I was working for was paying for that service. There are services out there far worse than Hotmail. I was with Hotmail maybe a decade ago. I stopped using their service as it had become “the” spam address of choice. I recently tried their free service when my other email company was losing ground and emails, and they had not made any changes ever in the ten or so years I was with them. Hotmail impressed me so much that I became a paid subscriber. Some of their “improvements” I probably will not be able to use, but things do change and maybe even a dinosaur like myself will figure out how to make these features work for me.
Send your complaints and suggestions for improvement to Microsoft, somebody apparently is there wading through all of the stuff we send them.
I want switch over back to old version of hotmail bcoz, some spam mails are being sent to my contacts from my account, which is not at all tolerable. Many times I have complaint but no solution is made from your side. Either resolve the problem or switch me back to old version.
My hotmail account has been hacked, thus my password changed by the hackers. I could not get to my old account, but I need to get my contact database. Would you kindly advise me on how to retore my contact list. I have now opened a new hotmail account and I need to import the list to the new account.
Thank you very much for your help.
someone else is using my account and i can not get into my account and i would like to know how i can get it back
yes as everytime i entry mail it logs me off and can not fix problem
I don’t like the way that Messenger pops up in my hotmail. how do I change it? Cause, I don’t want to change my MSN display picture and name everytime I check my emails…
i cancelled my msn because i couldnt get into it for some reason i dont know could i get it back at all as im in a chat site and i need my email address to get in there plus i want to chat with my family again thank u
I really don’t understand how to forward an email now. I mean one that has been sent to me and I want to share it. I don’t see where it says send. I’ve tried everything I know of to try,but it don’t work. I am a senior and I just get familiar with something and it’s changed. Helppppp
i sure dont like the new hotmail that we have.i am 85 years old and i am just learning compture so quick changeing thing
My Hotmail Account has been hacked…i cannot log in I tried everything..plus my facebook account attached to this account which has been hacked as well..Please help I am trying to retrieve my account noyone is helping me or reply to me request. . I appreciate your help..please reply asap. Thanks You
As for me, Hotmail was free for years and I did like it then. They made changes before and we didn’t experience this. So if they want to make changes like this one and make everyone go looking for a solution or go nuts about their lost email, well all I can say for me is up yo…. I’m gone with another free email. Bye Bye MSN
Bull they have a responsability to those of us who used it for years and have important information info still on it
I WANT MY OLD WINDOWS LIVE HOTMAIL BACK. PLEASE,I AM NOT THAT SAVVY.
nobody ask your opinion. we wanted to know how to switch back without a microsoft editorial
It’s so mean to ask us why we still using hotmail for years and not something else!!!!!!!! u did like a spoiled child take it or leave it!!!!! it’s out of professionalism also discarding the subscribers choice and will!!!!!!!! why I’m stick to hotmail and prefare it more? for many reasons 1st cause it’s the best but now it turns to be like gmail while before it was so distinguished among all… it was the easiest, clearest, especially we get used to it all those years and nothing wrong with that also it is not against changing or technology but stability do good here via work and timing it was a piece of cake and now it’s a time wasting to find the keys…..I’ll appreciate a lot if i can get the old version…… why don’t u make it optional unlike imposing the new on us?
Thanks in advance
I’m really hoping that you understand that Leo is not Hotmail. He can’t get it back for you and had nothing to do with changing it.
I was ask to change my account and put it with skype and now i can’t even check my email what with this what kind of set up is this .Why can everyone leave us alone .If they can’t explain how to work it at list .So now i lost all my friends and i hate it
I need my old hotmail back the other one they put out is b s it amoney scam