Jailbreaking Hotmail


With Microsoft’s announcement this week that Outlook and Outlook Express will no longer support desktop access to Hotmail accounts raises some interesting questions on data portability.

After 30th June, Microsoft’s Windows Live Mail application will be the only means by which desktop and offline access to Hotmail accounts will be supported. This effectively means that a Hotmail user’s messages continue to be imprisoned within a closed ecosphere of services and applications. OK, smart people won’t be using Outlook, Outlook Express or Hotmail, but millions do and many have years of messages archived that they may wish to continue accessing outside a web-based interface.

However, there are some unofficial mechanisms that can not only continue to provide offline and desktop access, but also standards-based access into most email clients

  • IzyMail has close to a decade of experience in delivering webmail gateway services. A one-off payment of $17.95 buys a one-year subscription that equips any Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL and Gmail account with a POP and IMAP ‘wrapper’, so users can send, receive and synchronise messages using most desktop clients, such as Thunderbird, Apple Mail and Outlook
  • Thunderbird’s WebMail extension plays a similar role to IzyMail, though is of course limited only to Thunderbird and doesn’t necessarily support the various permutations of a service like Hotmail (Live Hotmail, Hotmail Classic etc.) but does support a wider range of services
  • Apple Mail fans can use a similar plugin – HTTP Mail – to retrieve Hotmail messages and folder.

Of these solutions, I’d recommend IzyMail’s standards-based approach, freeing the user to employ any both leading mail protocols with the widest range of clients. Indeed, IzyMail saw a huge spike in subscriptions with the launch of the iPhone last Summer as users utilised POP and IMAP webmail gateways to synchronise their email with their phones.



Just as a point of clarification, this change effects only Outlook Express & older version of the Outlook Connector. Only OLC versions 1.8 and older rely on DAV. If you use the current version of OLC (4), you will still be able to connect Outlook 2003 & 2007 to your hotmail/windows live account.

Many (if not most) corporate environments rely on Exchange Server for their mail system. Even if there are smarter solutions and I think that is debatable (and a matter of preference) many folks are stuck with Outlook because of their employer. I agree with you on Outlook Express, there are quite a few better options out there, including the Window Live Mail client.


Hotmail syncs with Outlook using the Outlook Connector, free from MS (Google it or visit http://tinyurl.com/yt6zqq).

Plus, Live Mail is actually a very good app for personal email (ie photo attachments, multiple web based email acounts).


“OK, smart people won’t be using Outlook…”

WHAT?? Lots of people have no choice but to use Outlook, as its the default calendar/email system in most business.

Its actually pretty good, straight outta the box.

(seen your apology) but you dont see that in the RSS feed

Imran Ali

Apologies – I should limit that comment to just Outlook Express and Hotmail as Outlook is a professional tool and yes, it’s not about smart people, but really that there are smarter solutions out there than Hotmail or Outlook Express :)


“smart people won’t be using Outlook”

I don’t get this bit. Whats wrong with outlook? I have an office licence, and so i have access to an email reader, calendar, to-do manager, etc. How is it smarter to then download a client that requires 10 plugins to get it to do what i want? Or use a web based system that i can’t access when i’m outside a wi-fi zone? I also can’t sync my phone with either of these without trawling the web for an add-on (assuming its even possible).

So for clarification – in your eyes, what part of using outlook makes me ‘not smart’ ?


Time and Time again, I have had issues with using Tbird’s webmail extension.

Neal G

You are able to transfer ALL of you emails to Yahoo. Perhaps other online services allow you to do this as well.


There is also Mail Forward by System Support Products, Inc. which I’ve been using for a number of years now to forward any hotmail I get to a POP account. There is a cost for the program, but I’ve found it worthwhile as some people still email me at hotmail and almost seem to refuse to update their address books. They also offer regular updates as Microsoft changes access to hotmail.

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