I am an avid Outlook Express user. I love it. I really like the IMAP
feature of accessing Hotmail from various computers, plus it grabs my
POP accounts quickly and easily. Recently, I got the message below from
“As a valued customer, we want to provide
advanced notice that as of June 30, 2008, Microsoft is disabling the
DAV protocol and you will no longer be able to access your Hotmail
Inbox via Outlook Express. As an alternative, we recommend that you
download Windows Live Mail, a free desktop e-mail client that has the
familiarity of Outlook Express and much more. This next generation of
free e-mail software will allow you to easily manage multiple e-mail
accounts, including Windows Live Hotmail, plus other e-mail accounts
that support POP3/IMAP. Better yet, Windows Live Mail integrates well
with other Windows Live services, and downloads in minutes. After you
provide your user name and password, you will automatically be linked
to your Hotmail account, providing continued access to your email and
I tried their “Live Mail”, but it’s horribly slow and nowhere as
easy to use as OE. Please help!
This has actually been happening slowly over the past couple of
years. Microsoft is phasing out not only Hotmail access in Outlook
Express, but they’re phasing out Outlook Express itself.
In other words, the news is not good for all those folks who want to
keep using Outlook Express to manage their Hotmail.
Let’s look at your alternatives.
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Web Interface: Hotmail is, and always has been a
web based email service first. That’s its original claim to
fame, even before Microsoft purchased it. Aside from service problems
it’s the web interface that will likely always be Hotmail’s #1
When you think about it, it sort of makes sense. Hotmail is free,
but the service costs a tremendous amount of money to run, so how does
that all get paid for? Advertising. Advertising you only see when you
use the web interface. Anything else Hotmail elects to support, or not
support, is totally up to them, and it’s unlikely that they’re going to
make major efforts to support scenarios that don’t allow the service to
pay for itself.
access in Outlook Express, but they’re phasing out Outlook Express
Windows Live Mail:
I know you don’t like it, but you might want to consider getting used
to it anyway. You won’t find Outlook Express in Windows Vista, for
example and many people complain that Windows Mail, while similar,
isn’t quite similar enough. You can download Windows Live Mail now, and
know that it, or subsequent versions of it, will continue to work, and
run on Vista as well.
Now, in light of the advertising argument I made above, you might
ask doesn’t this also circumvent their ability to display ads? Yes, it
apparently does. But they seem to be willing to make that tradeoff in
order to get you to use their product, Windows Live Mail.
Microsoft Office Outlook: The only other supported
approach to accessing our Hotmail using a desktop mail program is to
download and install the Microsoft Office
Outlook Connector which then adds support for accessing Hotmail
through Microsoft Outlook.
Unofficial Alternatives for Thunderbird: If you
switch to using Thunderbird as your desktop email client, there is a
Webmail extension that adds support for
Hotmail, as well as other web-based email services, directly to
Thunderbird. Thunderbird is a good email client – I use it myself – but
it does mean switching from Outlook Express.
The other important point here is that this approach is not
officially sanctioned or supported by Microsoft. Each time they make a
change to Hotmail’s communications protocols, the developers of the
Webmail extension must reverse engineer it and provide an update.
Other Unofficial Alternatives: There are several,
including applications that provide “POP3” access to Hotmail. There are
three types of solutions.
The first uses software that runs on your desktop that “converts”
your email programs POP3 (and SMTP) requests into Hotmail’s private
protocol, much like Thunderbird’s Webmail extension. And much like that
extension, if something changes then the service is broken until it’s
The second does the same, but rather than run software on your
machine, the software runs on the provider’s server. The downside, of
course, is that they can see your Hotmail login information and all of
The third solution involves forwarding services. You give these services your
Hotmail account information and they automatically forward your mail to
a different email account you specify. The problem? You give them your
Hotmail account information.
(Hotmail does allow you to forward your email to another account
natively, but I’m hearing that it doesn’t work for everyone. You might
look into that, though, as an official solution if forwarding would be
Ultimately, I have not found any of these other unofficial
alternatives that I would recommend, or even suggest trying. They’re
simply too risky, and in some cases, too fragile and prone to having
Quit Using Hotmail: Naturally, with all the
limitations placed on you by Hotmail, along with all of the problem
reports I continue to get, leaving Hotmail and moving to an email
provider that actually supports what you want is also worth some
My suggestions? In order of preference:
Leave Hotmail for a service that does what you want. (GMail is a
good alternative in the free email space.)
Learn to live with Windows Live Mail for an official solution.
Switch to Thunderbird using the Webmail extension for an unofficial
I know that none of these are exactly what you want, but exactly
what you want doesn’t seem to be in the cards.