How Microsoft's Hotmail was made 10 times faster

Microsoft's Hotmail web based email service is still extremely popular and recently the service got a small makeover with a number of improvements. One of the improvements is increasing the speed and performance of Hotmail. Now Microsoft has posted up a new blog entry that talks specifically on how they were able to get Hotmail to work as fast as 10 time what it was previously able to do.

Written by Dick Craddock, the group product manager for Hotmail, the blog talks about how Microsoft did several things to speed up performance such as cutting off some content on Hotmail's pages as well as getting rid of "a network round trip on login." However, Craddock says that ultimately his team did three things that made using Hotmail much faster. One is caching info in your web browser after it is first downloaded. Both the message list and the actual emails themselves are now stored in the browser. However the info is deleted when you sign out of Hotmail or close your web browser for privacy.

Yet another new feature is pre-loading the first few new emails you get in your Hotmail account as you read the subject lines. Finally Microsoft has changed Hotmail so it doesn't wait for the server to respond before updating the user interface. Email can then be deleted instantly but Craddock states, "In the background, client code queues up actions and calls the server to delete the email. So email still gets deleted, but without the wait."

You can check out a video showing the different in speed from the old Hotmail to the new improvements below:

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The preload, what content is actually preloaded ? Is it server or client? If client doesnt this pose a security issue by it guessing what you viewing next and downloading it, you might skip viewing an important new email because your an internet cafe but its already been downloaded ?

I still feel Hotmail isn't the fastest service around. But Microsoft has no service that runs really fast actually (especially when compared to Google, Microsoft online services tend to run quite a bit slower overall)

Hotmail can kiss my white rear end. My hotmail account became infected with a worm that went through my address book and send emails to everyone in it, everyday, without my knowledge basically spamming and spreading itself to my contacts. My account became blocked and unusable. Hotmail staff was not able to be reached about the matter. I don't have as cellphone to reset the account. I had gotten access restored to the account only to find that it was still sending out spam to everyone even when it was disabled because someone managed to forge my email address onto the headers of the spam and I was being blamed for it.
In the end I changed my email address of 11 years over to GMail.

netsendjoe said,
Hotmail can kiss my white rear end. My hotmail account became infected with a worm that went through my address book and send emails to everyone in it, everyday, without my knowledge basically spamming and spreading itself to my contacts. My account became blocked and unusable.

An email account doesn't "get infected"--you lost control of your credentials. Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Gmail, whoever--that's hardly their fault.

Just imagine if they took the same amount of time and effort to speed up the windows operating system

I love how performance is an after thought in Microsofts world

Either they smarten up and make fast / reliable code
or they wind up beeing the "Norton" of OS's and with other Operating systems
gradualy improving they better get their but in gear..

Love Windows Live Hotmail. I have been with them for years. I tried to give Gmail the benefit, but I really didn't care for it to be a main email account for me.

greater and faster and cooler. <3

and since they addes "skydrive" in hotmail now, its even better, and these new features like drag and drop its nice. oh well they are working hard to make hotmail better and i like it.

lordcanti86 said,
Hotmail really has become a great service. Now just allow IMAP/Activesync for desktop clients and we're all set.
+1

This is much better than the ajax php web UI that my mail provider moved to.
Explains why I set up my domain email as pop3 account in hotmail.

I was using the address as windows live ID before, and when they offered to recieve my mail, I was all over it. It really is as good as he says if you are on a reliable connection.

dotf said,
I was using the address as windows live ID before, and when they offered to recieve my mail, I was all over it. It really is as good as he says if you are on a reliable connection.
Yes, I did it that too, right away! I only wish it would check for pop3 mail more often than 30 mins, or there was a refresh to check it when I'd like to.

Xilo said,
Has been running even slower in FF for me...

That's odd. I find that it runs great in FF/Ubuntu for me. Now, Chrome/Ubuntu is a different story.

From my perspective, it's not an improvement if I'm now getting the dreaded "your action cannot be processed at this time" messages way more often than I've ever used to. Or whatever the exact wording is.

remixedcat said,

IE12 renders it badly though


how about IE13? I saw some screenshots some time ago, they start to make improvements and still they are 35 years back...

I used to despise both hotmail and yahoo mail and use gmail full-time. now that I've back in the ecosystem with WP7 I started using hotmail and there isn't much I miss from Gmail, except archiving. I can't wait for the metro UI overhaul. you know it's coming =D

I really don't mind Hotmail now. Few things I miss from Gmail is better themes and the ability to totally customise your side bar list of inbox, sent, junk etc, filters could be better, among other little bits and bobs. Google does a better job of letting you customise most things.

I totally agree but I'm sure Microsoft is working on the next version of Hotmail would bring a much better UI and more customizations.

wixostrix said,
I totally agree but I'm sure Microsoft is working on the next version of Hotmail would bring a much better UI and more customizations.
I really hope it's Metro.

wixostrix said,
I used to despise both hotmail and yahoo mail and use gmail full-time. now that I've back in the ecosystem with WP7 I started using hotmail and there isn't much I miss from Gmail, except archiving. I can't wait for the metro UI overhaul. you know it's coming =D

That's what happened to me a few years ago. I ran away from the old MSN Hotmail like the plague (God, that service was a POS) when my friend gave me a GMail invite. I went back to Hotmail to see what it was like, liked the improvements (especially SkyDrive) and went back. Definitely suggest taking a @live address over a @hotmail one.

lordcanti86 said,

That's what happened to me a few years ago. I ran away from the old MSN Hotmail like the plague (God, that service was a POS) when my friend gave me a GMail invite. I went back to Hotmail to see what it was like, liked the improvements (especially SkyDrive) and went back. Definitely suggest taking a @live address over a @hotmail one.
What? I thought they provided the same experience to Live and Hotmail users. Whats the difference?

FMH said,
What? I thought they provided the same experience to Live and Hotmail users. Whats the difference?

I think he might be referring to the stigma attached to the domain. If you have to give your email to someone, saying "hotmail.com" might not get the same reception as "live.com".

It's more common than you'd think, which is kind of hilarious actually, because it means someone out there thinks they're tech savvy enough to judge you for using hotmail, but isn't tech savvy enough to know that hotmail and live are the same service.

Joshie said,

I think he might be referring to the stigma attached to the domain. If you have to give your email to someone, saying "hotmail.com" might not get the same reception as "live.com".

It's more common than you'd think, which is kind of hilarious actually, because it means someone out there thinks they're tech savvy enough to judge you for using hotmail, but isn't tech savvy enough to know that hotmail and live are the same service.

Yeah I get it. The 'Live' branding is way more cooler than 'Hotmail'.
I have a Live account !

FMH said,
Yeah I get it. The 'Live' branding is way more cooler than 'Hotmail'.
I have a Live account !

I like the live domain better. I know it's an old joke but Hotmail sounds like a porn service.

TRC said,

I like the live domain better. I know it's an old joke but Hotmail sounds like a porn service.

Yeah, but it never gets old

oceanmotion said,
More themes and make them full ones not just banners.

Why do You actually need themes in a mail client? This ain't facebook or any other social network, hell most people use email as an working object, thank god I got my own mailserver if they ever gonna add themes to mail sites/clients. -.-

Gaara sama said,
More Bull From Microsoft

and the bull is? seriously if you are going to cast doubt, you HAVE to back it up with reasons and evidence

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

and the bull is? seriously if you are going to cast doubt, you HAVE to back it up with reasons and evidence


+1. I hate to jump the gun here, but I smell a troll...

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

and the bull is? seriously if you are going to cast doubt, you HAVE to back it up with reasons and evidence

stewie you know, there are trolls everywhere. saddly it seems he is one of that group.
so i dont expect him to give a reason or evidence.

I smell a troll too and its not Gaara sama
anyone that accuses someone of beeing a Troll
is THE Troll
notice how most people keep their mouth shut if they don't like the comment ?
Screaming and pointing Troll does nothing but you guys like Forum Trollers

He has no evidence or snappy lippy little remarks ?
Is there a site rule here that he has to provide proof to his comment ?

More bull from comment NAZI's

I am Not PCyr said,
I smell a troll too and its not Gaara sama
anyone that accuses someone of beeing a Troll
is THE Troll
notice how most people keep their mouth shut if they don't like the comment ?
Screaming and pointing Troll does nothing but you guys like Forum Trollers

He has no evidence or snappy lippy little remarks ?
Is there a site rule here that he has to provide proof to his comment ?

More bull from comment NAZI's


are you 10?

Neo003 said,
I stopped using hotmail on IE long time ago, windows live all the way .

Yeah, I usually use WL Mail on my desktop. This is stuff really helps on my other devices (especially my netbook)

Neo003 said,
I stopped using hotmail on IE long time ago, windows live all the way .

Apparently never had 10,000 emails in an account >.<

I do however love the client, it just has its moments >.>

articuno1au said,

Apparently never had 10,000 emails in an account >.<

I do however love the client, it just has its moments >.>

Omg, you have over 10k mails too? High five!

"Yet another new feature is pre-loading the first few new emails you get in your Hotmail account as you read the subject lines."
I've found that to be slow and buggy last time I used it, you have to click multiple times for it to register and open an email

n_K said,
"Yet another new feature is pre-loading the first few new emails you get in your Hotmail account as you read the subject lines."
I've found that to be slow and buggy last time I used it, you have to click multiple times for it to register and open an email

So now they are lifting off Google's Instant Pages where the first search result is prerendered in the background so that it loads instantly when you click on it.

gzAsher said,

So now they are lifting off Google's Instant Pages where the first search result is prerendered in the background so that it loads instantly when you click on it.

Or millions of other services that preload things. A WP7 Urban Dictionary app preloads results. You're claiming they copied Google?

Hopefully you're just joking

gzAsher said,

So now they are lifting off Google's Instant Pages where the first search result is prerendered in the background so that it loads instantly when you click on it.

If you seriously think preloading is something Google did first...well, daaaang you're an internet young'n.

Thousands of implementations of the technique have existed across a broad spectrum of code work since at least the 80s. Mostly because it's incredibly common sense: "So this part shows a list to the user, and the user will almost always choose something from this list, how can we speed it up?" With huge caching resources available to applications and millions of idle moments zipping by users...yeah. Devs figured this out decades ago.

But if it makes you feel good to point and laugh at Microsoft, go for it. I'm happy for you. A lot of people have to work hard for their happiness, but you attain it simply by mocking something you don't understand. Such an easy life you must have.

andrewbares said,

Or millions of other services that preload things. A WP7 Urban Dictionary app preloads results. You're claiming they copied Google?

Hopefully you're just joking

Thats what people says when Google add a wallpaper function to search engine... I thought wallpaper isn't new as well... Why is bing the only 1 able to put it in?

Joshie said,
Thousands of implementations of the technique have existed across a broad spectrum of code work since at least the 80s. Mostly because it's incredibly common sense: "So this part shows a list to the user, and the user will almost always choose something from this list, how can we speed it up?" With huge caching resources available to applications and millions of idle moments zipping by users...yeah. Devs figured this out decades ago.

Well maybe its old technology, but isn't it a bit odd that Microsoft is implementing it just after Google did it with their search engine. Not to mention Microsoft has a reputation of making cheap imitations of Google's features (remember the hiybbprqag incident <http://googleblog.blogspot.com...ing-uses-google-search.html > when Bing was copying results straight off Google search). I won't be surprised at all if we see an Instant Pages feature in Bing in the near future.

gzAsher said,

Well maybe its old technology, but isn't it a bit odd that Microsoft is implementing it just after Google did it with their search engine. Not to mention Microsoft has a reputation of making cheap imitations of Google's features (remember the hiybbprqag incident <http://googleblog.blogspot.com...ing-uses-google-search.html > when Bing was copying results straight off Google search). I won't be surprised at all if we see an Instant Pages feature in Bing in the near future.

No, it isn't, because Google, despite having preloading in their search engine, didn't have it in Gmail. And Google is query-based search results, while Hotmail is a pre-existing list of content.

If you're going to jump across different kinds of applications to point accusingly at perceived idea theft, you have to be willing to accept the reality that probably a hundred other coders implemented some sort of prefetching in their applications within a few weeks before Google launched it in their search engine. Was Google copying them?

And are you really so offended by idea theft in the first place? Does that mean you wholeheartedly support the full and total enforcement of software patents? Would you support Microsoft collecting royalties on any patents if you agreed that they were unique, complex ideas innovated by Microsoft employees? Would you support ANY company collecting royalties as long as they had an idea and implemented it first, for as long as the company responsible exists? Because you seem INCREDIBLY passionate about who does what.