Microsoft Removes Outlook Express Support For Hotmail

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

According to an email circulated to Hotmail users that I assume many of us have received Microsoft is phasing out Outlook Express access to Hotmail/Live Mail accounts. Below is part of the email sent out by Microsoft to users:

Dear Microsoft Outlook Express customer,

Thank you for using Microsoft® Outlook® Express. Our information indicates that you use Outlook Express to access a Windows Live™ Hotmail® e-mail account via a protocol called DAV (Distributed Authoring and Versioning protocol). DAV, like POP3 or IMAP, is the way that a mail client communicates with a web-based mail server.

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 contacts.

It then goes on to list the reasons, which are rather strange to me, one of them being the size of inbox, for instance. I have a Yahoo mail account and that has an unlimited mailbox now and I have no problem using POP3 protocol to retrieve my mails and even leave all mails on the server. I could remove them but found that sometimes, as we all make mistakes, I erase one in Outlook Express that I did not mean to erase and so there is a copy – generally – left on Yahoo Mail. So my inbox at Yahoo is rather sizeable and still there is no problem. To me the excuses of MS tell me that they want to have a tracking of one way or another.

I, for one, am not happy to have to replace Outlook Express with this new email client they tell us to download simply because I am not happy as to why. So, therefore should we now download this new client – and maybe allow MS to track our every move – or should we instead remove our support from Hotmail and leave them? I am definitely thinking about doing the latter. There are other email services out there, especially Web Mail services, that don't force me to do this or that though I rather have the option of using my email from an email client on the PC.

Who is with me here in thinking that Microsoft is, yet again, having us download some more software that probably communicates with that place in Redmond? Or am I just paranoid as far as MS and such are concerned?

Why, if as Microsoft states, Outlook Express does not work with the “new” protocol they cannot simply also make Hotmail into a POP3 service which will work? It just beats me.

I also have, as said already, a Yahoo Mail account with now unlimited inbox size – not just miserly 5GB – and use POP3 access with that without problems. When Microsoft stops making up excuses people may actually have less of an issue with them, I am sure.

Personally, I have had some issues with Hotmail access via Outlook Express before and it refused to work and was then told by MS support that Outlook Express “support” for Hotmail accounts was only a Beta service and therefore was no guarantee that Outlook Express would work reliably with Hotmail and was also told that while they would try to ensure that generally that Beta service would work they would not every rush to repair it, so to speak. It was then that I basically migrated from Hotmail over to Yahoo Mail with most of my work.

The new look – still in Beta basically – of Yahoo Mail and its functionality, even though there are the occasional issues, and though I primarily use the POP3 access, in my opinion, beats that of Windows Live Mail hands down. In addition to that Yahoo Mail now gives even free users unlimited storage. Personally, I do no reason to need that much storage for myself but I must say that I keep quite a few messages for additional backup on Yahoo Mail. Yahoo Web Mail to me also loads faster than does Windows Live Mail and, as said, the look is better. Also, if there is an issue I can switch to the Classic Look and solve it through that very often.

Maybe I am too much of a conspiracy nut, as some, I am sure, might think, but I cannot see why MSN had to do this new system and then make us download – if we want to be able to use Hotmail/Live Mail from our desktops and off line – a new email clinet. Does Hotmail work in Thunderbird? No, Hotmail does not work in Thunderbird – period. Why not? Because, I am sure, of the fact that Thunderbird would block some of the talkback protocol. One I find a plugin that works to pull Yahoo Mail emails from the server for Thunderbird I will definitely change over entirely, as Hotmail will not longer be accessible via Outlook Express anyway. That was the only reason I had retained the use of Outlook Express.

Yes, I do know that Yahoo uses so-called “web beacons” but, for some reason I do trust Yahoo more than I do MSN.

© M Smith (Veshengro), April 2008