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As you may know, Windows Live aka Hotmail was one of the first free email services on the internet, and it’s still going strong today. Hotmail was also a pioneer in messaging services with its messenger, which was created in 1996 and was known as MSN Hotmail at that time. Hotmail has been rebranded multiple times, and it seems like it gets better each and every time that happens.

Nowadays, Windows Live Hotmail (owned by Microsoft and one and the same with Outlook) has been upgraded to meet the fast technological developments that users expect. The service is constantly updated and has new additions and features that are designed for the satisfaction of users around the world, and aims to make using the internet easier and more useful, effective and productive. Hotmail easily accomplishes this with all its services to help you manage and control you email accounts.

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The Hotmail app for mobile and Windows

Hotmail now is accessed through the same platform as the classic Windows Outlook, and its application “Microsoft Outlook App” has some really useful features that allow you to manage your emails so quickly and easily from your smartphone or tablet, to save your time and make it the most productive. You can have a look at your different email boxes/folders (inbox, sent, draft, trash, and junk), check the news that interests you, conveniently connect more than one account to a single inbox, have your social media updates right in your inbox, and much more.

Just like 20 years ago, today Hotmail is still a free service that offers you 1000 MB for storage in your email and allows you up to 10 MB of email attachments. You can also splurge on a premium version called Hotmail Plus, which costs $19.95/year with a storage space of 2GB and 20MB of email attachment, with no ads. If you can’t wrap your head around paying less than $2/month for a premium email service but really hate ads, you could always install a free ad blocker extension on your browser, but you won’t get the extra storage space this way.

The best features of Hotmail/Windows Outlook

  • Swipe emails to manage and sort them easily on the mobile app; default settings are “left” to archive and “right” to delete, but you can customize this in the Hotmail app’s settings.
  • Schedule a clean-up of your Hotmail inbox. Automatically move unwanted messages such as news-letters, or messages from a certain sender to junk mail.
  • Timed deleting of messages; you can choose to delete messages after 3, 10, 30, or 60 days.
  • Unsubscribe, block and delete unwanted newsletters in one step only.
  • Keep your important emails at the top of your Hotmail inbox, even if there are new emails.
  • Using DocMail and PhotoMail, you can create, edit, rename your photo albums, and add or remove photos from any album before sending.
  • Send files via SkyDrive. Emailing big files has always been a problem since Hotmail limits the volume of attached files. But with this new feature, you can choose the big file you want to send from your SkyDrive/OneDrive instead of attaching it to your email.

There’s more to Hotmail than just a great, free email service! While it’s true that Microsoft Hotmail is an established and globally well-known email server that millions of people count on and use for personal and professional purposes, you can also send and receive instant messages or IMs by using its messaging service “Hotmail Messenger”, all for free wherever you are.

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20 years of Hotmail history

Hotmail was first created in 1995 by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith as a free digital service. Smith insisted that an email service should be used on the web to send and receive emails from any computer anywhere in the world (for the younger millennials out there reading, this was revolutionary at the time; most email was stuck on your home or office computer in a software application like the old Outlook Express). The name “Hotmail” was chosen because it included the letters “HTML”.

By 1997, Hotmail subscribers had reached 8.5 million, compelling Microsoft to buy Hotmail for $400 million and rebrand it as Microsoft Live Hotmail. The name was changed in 2000 to MSN Hotmail, and today it’s all been put under the Outlook platform.

What is Hotmail messenger?

Hotmail Messenger, Windows Live, MSN Messenger: all of these are the names of one free messaging service, where you can send and receive IMs, images and files from/to any computer or smartphone, including iOS, Android, and Windows Phones. After creating your Windows Live account, you can download Windows Live application on your smartphone; if you have a Hotmail account, you already have what you need to use this instant messaging app! Join millions of users around the world and start using its services to chat with your friends, stay in touch with family or organize meetings with coworkers.

Windows Live/Hotmail Messenger is provided with high protection and security standards that ensure safety from viruses when using “folder sharing” service. You can also make PC to phone voice calls using Hotmail Messenger through specialized companies, like the Freezone Company in the United States or the French company Orange SA.

Something pretty cool about Hotmail messenger that most people don’t know is that, in October 2005, an agreement was made between Hotmail and Yahoo, the two pioneer messaging programs in the world at that time. The agreement was to enable connecting the two programs and send text messages between them. This way, a Yahoo Messenger user can chat directly with a Hotmail Messenger user and vice versa. In 2009, more programs such as Google Talk, ICQ, AOL and Facebook were supported by Hotmail Messenger, and provided some social games that enable players to compete with each other within the chat app.

Windows Live/Hotmail Messenger features

  • Open another messaging program’s contact list inside Hotmail Messenger and chat with them, like chatting with a Facebook user, for example.
  • Free video calls, individual and group calls.
  • Hotmail Messenger is fast, easy, and compatible with any operating system.
  • Open the complete conversation on one page (tablet).
  • Send video messages instead of text messages.
  • Watch received YouTube videos right within the messenger.
  • Highly compatible with Android and iOS devices (and Windows Phone, of course).

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Outlook- A Fresh Take on an Old Standby

The program Outlook has been around for a long time, in name anyway. My earliest memories of Outlook are from the early to mid-2000s; back then, if you clicked on someone’s hyperlinked email address, the default program Outlook would open automatically as you grumpily tried to get it to close, and then you copied the email address into an email program that people actually used. And, for me anyway, that was what Outlook was for.

Outlook has grown up a lot since then, and after going through quite an evolutionary process (Hotmail, MSN, Live, etc.) it is basically the face of Microsoft now. You would never recognize it now as that old, irritating default email program. Outlook has really come into its own, with a facelift and functionality that belongs in the 21st century.

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Outlook Connects All of Your Microsoft Programs

Arguably the best feature of the new, improved Outlook is the way it unifies all of the standard Microsoft programs we have come to rely on, and how it makes it easy to access and edit our documents from anywhere. A few of the essential programs that Outlook connects to include: Outlook email, of course (which includes Hotmail, MSN and Live email addresses), Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, Skype, and my personal favorite, OneDrive. In case you didn’t know, OneDrive is a cloud based storage application, and it is my absolute favorite thing about my Windows 8 PC, which comes equipped with Outlook automatically. As long as you are on a device with Outlook, you have access to all of your documents in one place, and you don’t have to worry about emailing them to yourself just to access them from your home computer. I think it’s even easier to use than Google Drive, for what it’s worth.

One of my favorite tools with OneDrive in Outlook is the ability to edit documents online in Word, Excel or Powerpoint Online and have them save to the cloud storage automatically. This makes it simple to get your work done from anywhere, even on your mobile devices.

Install Outlook for Free on All of Your Devices

Much of Outlook’s newfound success can be attributed to its accessibility. It is a standard application on newer Windows PCs, and can also be downloaded for free to smartphones and tablets on Android, iOS and Windows Phone platforms. Installing Outlook to all of your devices really streamlines and organizes your life, especially if you find yourself needing to share documents with colleagues often and are always on the go. Outlook has also streamlined its email interface, making it much cleaner and self-regulating. It’s easier than ever to tell Outlook which messages to allow, and which ones to keep out of your inbox. You can even cancel your subscription from email mailing lists with one click.

In short, Outlook has come a long way from its early days. I’ll admit I was skeptical at first, but I have integrated Outlook and its related Microsoft apps into my life now, and it has only benefitted my productivity and organization. I suggest you give it a second chance as well.

Remember when back in the late nineties, early two thousands we all used to have hotmail accounts?

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I remember being 9 years old in 1999, living in Chile coming from a pretty accommodated family, having internet for the first time.
It was a dial-up connection, with a computer that didn’t have more than a couple of megabytes of storage at the most, and Netscape was the browser to use, instead of Explorer.
It’s really funny to think about that now, typing from a computer with over 250 gigabytes of storage.
I remember my friend and I used to go to this website called Starmedia, which had chatrooms, of every kind. Now remember, we were about nine or ten years old, so we mostly got in there to joke around and learn new things from other people. It was a joke. But for some reason, the feeling of communicating through the internet became such an entertainment to us. It was borderline addiction, to be able to chat it up with someone random from another part of the world. Not see who they were, and not know anything about them, yet, share an opinion about a movie that had just come out, or a video game that we were playing.

Later on, when having an email was becoming a thing, hotmail was the rage at that time. All of my friends from school had hotmail too. We would email dumb silly things. The HTML tool had just been developed, which made things a lot easier when wanting to change fonts, colors, or even sizes to our meaningless emails.

If we really think about it, my generation was probably the first member of any family at that time that started dealing with technology, discovering how to email, how to use a computer, and communicating through the internet. Yes, my dad and mom knew how to type, and use excel, and tables to organize things and budget. But I learned how to communicate and create, to be creative, and fun, and exciting. I learned other things that made my user experience easier. Learning shortcuts, and ways how to control the computer, etc. And probably Hotmail and it’s services was a big part of my learning experience, and I bet that others on the millennial/Generation Y group, could testify of the same thing. Hotmail was there in our beginnings, and connected us in a simple, very spammy, and way way small-storage-space way.