A number of people have contacted me recently to ask about a recent email from Microsoft, suggesting that their outlook/hotmail/msn/live email would soon stop working with Windows Live Mail. After having only just finished updating a number of PC’s with a recent patch I was a little perplexed. Suspecting a phishing email was doing the rounds I had a quick look at the email and it is … sadly…. genuine. As of the 30th June 2016 users will no longer be able to access their outlook email account (any account ending in @outlook.com, @msn.com @msn.co.uk @hotmail.com, @hotmail.co.uk, @live.co.uk and @live.com) through windows live mail.

This is a real pain, as I feel Windows Live Mail is a far superior program to that of the bundled Mail app in Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10. On the plus side, people will still be able to access their other email accounts that are not hosted by Microsoft through Windows Live Mail. If you have a company or personal email through another firm you are fine to continue using Live Mail.

For those with Microsoft accounts who are still using Windows Live Mail you have four options (the first three suggested by Microsoft and an alternative of ours);

  1. To follow their suggestion and access your email through the Microsoft website. Go to www.outlook.com and sign in using your normal username and password
  2. If you have Windows 8 or 10 you can fire up the Mail App, which can be found on the tiles screen of Windows 8 or the Start Menu of Windows 10. As I mentioned before, the App is quite feature lacking and can be frustrating to use at times if you want to use it for anything but the very basic of functions. It is also plagued by quiet a few bugs and quirks, which we can hope will be sorted out in time.
  3. Microsoft’s final suggestion and only the second option available to Windows 7 users, is to take up the offer of a free, year long subscription to Office 365 personal. The offer can be obtained via this link and is available until 15th October 2016. This would then provide the full fat version of Outlook which can then be used similarly to Windows Live Mail from your desktop. However, once the year long subscription is over you would then be billed £59.99 per year there after.
  4. The final option available is to move on to using another desktop based email package such as Mozilla Thunderbird. This can be downloaded through the following link and can be used in a very similar way to your existing Windows Live Mail program. The user interface is sadly not quite as polished, but it still performs all the usual functions that you have come to expect. However, Microsoft are slowly removing every possible way to access your free email accounts without having to either pay Microsoft money up front or generate some advertising revenue for them, so it may well be that Microsoft stops supporting this at some point soon too.