Tip: Get Hotmail through Outlook Express

Update: 13th July 2006
The following instructions only work if you have a paid hotmail account. If you follow the instructions and like the rest of us, have a free account, when you click send recieve you will recieve the following error.

Could not connect to Hotmail as youruserid@hotmail.com

A screen shot of this error is available here. If you do have a subscription account the following instructions still apply. End of update.

Hotmail is one of the great internet success stories, up there with eBay and Amazon.com in terms of its impact and awareness around the world. There is probably no traveler in the last 5 years who has not learned the value of Hotmail as a cheap, accessible way to keep in touch with loved ones; it is also a great way for students and people online for the first time to get started with e-mail without their own paid for connection.

One of the big problems is that as people get more experienced online or return from their travels and get their own mail account at home or the office, they have had to check their email in two places - Hotmail's whole business model is centred around making you log into their site and view advertising messages to support the free service.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide on accessing your MSN Hotmail account through Outlook Express. Microsoft is involved with both products so they have made it a fairly easy process to synchronize the two. Below are the steps and some background information on some of the less obvious options.

  1. Open Outlook Express.
  2. In the menu above the send and receive icons click on the tools option.
  3. From the menu that appears select the accounts option (it should be near the bottom of the list).
  4. Once a dialogue box appears, click on the "Add" button, and the out of the options menu select "Mail".
  5. The first text box that appears will be your identifier in e-mails you send. That is, the name or e-mail address that appears on the screen when someone receives a message from you.
  6. Enter your Hotmail e-mail account (e.g. john_smith@hotmail.com ).
  7. Next you have to select where and how you are going to receive your mail. Here the settings should already be set...but if not you select "HTTP" as your incoming mail server and "Hotmail" as the service provider in the drop down below.
  8. Your account name will remain as your Hotmail e-mail address and use the password you use to login to Hotmail as your password (these are the details Outlook Express uses to access your Hotmail account. It acts the same as if you are logging in via the website).
  9. The box that should appear now is the properties box of your new account (your Outlook Express account has been created, now it is time to customise it), if it does not appear, you can highlight the account and click properties (Tools > Accounts from the menu bar).
  10. Once the dialogue box appears you should have 5 input boxes. The top line is the name of your Hotmail account, this is the name used only by Outlook Express. You can change this name to a more easily recognisable name such as "Hotmail account".
  11. The second line is the name that people will see when they receive mail from you. This should be the same name that you typed at step 5.
  12. Organisation allows you to put a value in if you use the account for work or something similar, you can use any name in here should you wish to. You can leave this box empty and not cause any problems.
  13. The 5th value is the reply address. If you would like to receive replies from your Hotmail messages to a different account, enter the other e-mail address you would like to use. For an example if you have this connection set up at work and use your work account more often, you can enter your work e-mail address in here so once you initiate a conversation from your Hotmail account all reply e-mails will come back to your work account or the reply address you have specified.
  14. Finally when you are done Outlook Express will ask you if you would like to download your folders. Basically it is asking if you want all the e-mails you have stored on the Hotmail website to be downloaded to your Hard disk.

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