Launched in 1996, Hotmail was one of the first public webmail services to be accessed from any web browser. At its peak in the early 2000s, hundreds of millions of email addresses ended up at

Starting in 2011, Hotmail has been replaced by is a personal information management web application from Microsoft that consists of webmail, calendar, contacts, and tasks services.

What came before hot mail?

Prior to Hotmail and its competitor, Four11 RocketMail, the email could only be accessed from a device that had specific software downloaded to it or required an Internet Service Provider (ISP) service agreement.

Although many users today have email addresses, the address now redirects to Microsoft’s

This left many users wondering: what happened to Hotmail?


While users can still specify when creating a new email address, Microsoft phased out Hotmail in 2011 and restarted the service as in 2012. is a web-based personal information manager that consists of mail Web, calendar, contacts, and task services.

It should be noted that is a free web-based mail account and not the same as Outlook, which is the mail client application for the Microsoft Office suite. Some statistics include:

Users: 400 million

Release date: July 31, 2012

Supported languages: 79

Owner: Microsoft Corporation

Maximum attachment size: 20MB

Hot mail features at uses Ajax programming techniques and supports the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome.

Key features of the webmail service include sending, receiving, and managing emails, and scheduling and managing meetings and events using.

The calendar, getting detailed information about contacts when you hover over their name, managing tasks with Microsoft.

To Do, and locating messages, people, and documents that contain on the search function. All these features are in one place for easy access. also adds travel itineraries and flight plans from emails to the calendar. It can attach files from Google Drive, DropBox, and OneDrive.

Microsoft Office files can be edited directly from the Inbox. Other more specific features of include:

Email scheduling: allows you to write an email and then schedule it to be sent on the day and time you want to go out.

Once you’ve written the email, go to Options > Delay Delivery and check the box that reads Never Delivered Before. After checking the box, fill in the date and time you want the email to be sent.

Quick Parts:

For emails that are sent frequently, the Quick Parts feature allows users to save the body of an email message, similar to a template.

In future messages, the text can be easily inserted. To create a template, go to Insert > Quick Parts > Save Selection to the Quick Parts gallery.

Customizable email organization: Emails can be color-coded according to keywords or content. For example, instead of unread emails marked in bold, they can be marked in red, green, or any other desired color.

Users can select a keyword, and will highlight the keyword with a specific color if the subject line includes the keyword. Emails from specific contacts, such as a co-worker, can be flagged to make them easier to see.


Protection provides a good level of security. Provides junk mail filtering and blocks external content such as downloaded images, web bugs, and data from unwanted websites.

Additionally, users can choose to disable direct links and block senders for further protection from spam and phishing emails. It features a built-in email scanner to send alerts of untrustworthy sources and has multi-factor authentication.


Calendar is also a useful feature for collaboration. Calendar allows users to share their calendar with any colleague or client without restrictions.

Users can create, modify and manage online calendars for clients that can be accessed whenever it is convenient for the client.

Most notably, users can send text messages directly to the phone of anyone in their email contact list.

Tasks has a to-do tool built into the system, Microsoft To Do. With it, tasks can be organized by adding them to a day in the calendar, and marking them.

As to-do, or adding them to a new user-created list. To-Do also features Smart Lists, which are filtered lists for easy tracking and organization. It also integrates with other Microsoft tools to extend email capabilities.

Hotmail and costs

The basic version of is free, so there is no fee to sign up for an account.

However, those with advanced email and calendaring needs may want to consider a Microsoft 365 subscription, which comes with premium Outlook features.

These premium features include custom domains, no ads, enhanced security options, and 1TB of storage.

What is the history of hot mail accounts?

Hotmail was launched in 1996 by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, backed by venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

When Hotmail first launched, free accounts offered benefits such as spam filtering, enhanced virus scanning, and up to 250MB of storage.

When Microsoft made the acquisition, Hotmail users also had access to a calendar feature and the ability to save contacts to a digital address book.

Users can also choose to pay a subscription fee to upgrade their Hotmail account and receive unlimited storage, support for large attachment files, and no ads.

It was originally marketed as HoTMaiL to devise a connection to HTML, the markup language that serves as the basis for all web pages.

Hotmail quickly gained over 8.5 million active users and was sold to Microsoft within a year and a half. The sale closed on December 31, 1997, at a price of $450 million.

Since its launch, Hotmail has used a combination of FreeBSD web servers to handle Hotmail’s front-end and Sun Solaris on Sparq to support the back-end.

At the time of sale, migrating to a Windows-only environment will be a heavy burden. Hotmail’s needs outstripped Microsoft’s Windows NT Server capabilities and the back-end migration would not begin until 2004.

MSN Hotmail

Hotmail has been renamed several times since it was added to the Microsoft portfolio. Soon after the acquisition, it was re-launched as MSN Hotmail although it retained all the same features.

Windows Live Hotmail

In 2005, Microsoft launched Windows Live Hotmail as a response to Google’s competitive mail service, Gmail.

This version of Hotmail provided better speed, stronger security, more storage space, and other features that improved the user experience.

The desktop version is highly integrated with the Windows Essentials suite and OneDrive.

Hotmail assumed another identity in 2012 when Microsoft rebranded its webmail services as

This led to some confusion as to whether users would be able to keep their Hotmail email addresses, but Microsoft kept Hotmail in the list of supported domains along with,, and

In fact, users can still specify when creating a new email address.

What is hot mail now?

In 2015, Microsoft bundled its desktop and web applications under a single umbrella system Office 365.

This means that and the Outlook mail app are combined to look the same and use the same login credentials.

Today, users can download the Microsoft Outlook app or visit to go to their or email accounts.

Users do not have to do anything to update their Hotmail account to an account. If the user has to create a new Hotmail account, it will automatically become the default Outlook account.

If you are an old Hotmail user looking to access your account, be sure to read this topic: How do I access my old Hotmail account?

Three hot mail alternatives

Once Hotmail had its EOL, many Hotmail users simply switched their accounts to Outlook.

Email marketing automation giant Litmus reports that Gmail accounted for 30 percent of the email client market as of January 2022. But there’s more to email than just Here are three full-featured alternatives worth considering.

Zoho Mail: combines secure email, contact management, tasks, notes, and calendar into a single dashboard. Zoho Mail is available in consumer and business editions, accessible through web browsers and apps for iOS and Android.

ProtonMail: secures its users’ emails with end-to-end encryption processes and strict user authentication protocols.

Available to both individuals and businesses through web browsers and mobile apps, ProtonMail email is integrated with secure storage and calendaring.

Mozilla Thunderbird: is an email client offered by the Mozilla Foundation. Thunderbird combines email, calendar, news reader, and chat client, and is built from an open-source codebase.

How do I create a free Hotmail account?

Users can no longer create Hotmail accounts. This is because Microsoft migrated all Hotmail accounts to its Outlook platform in 2013.

Instead, Microsoft offers free email accounts through its Outlook web app. Once you create a free account, you can access your email account through the web and desktop email apps, as well as several mobile apps.

How do I talk to someone about my Hotmail account?

While Microsoft’s support page can provide some automated help, talking to a live person about your Hotmail account is not possible. Alternatively, see the step-by-step guide above on how to recover your account.

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