Free Hotmail POP3 access now available and Hotmail updates

So now that we've all recovered from the CES 2009, everyone is back to business including the folks up in Redmond, WA. It has been confirmed that Microsoft has started rolling out another major update of Windows Live Hotmail, which includes POP access as discussed in my interview with Ryan Gavin and Dharmesh Mehta.

Last week we reported a rumour that Microsoft was about to offer POP3 access to Hotmail users at no extra charge.

Microsoft has confirmed the rumour via its Windows Live Wire blog today. POP3 access is now available to Hotmail users in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Japan, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. Microsoft plans to roll out POP3 access to more parts of the world later this year. You can find the settings below:

  • POP server: pop3.live.com
  • POP SSL required? Yes
  • User name: Your Windows Live ID, for example yourname@hotmail.com
  • Password: The password you usually use to sign in to Hotmail or Windows Live
  • SMTP server: smtp.live.com
  • Authentication required? Yes (this matches your POP username and password)
  • TLS/SSL required? Yes
Another new feature that is rolling out is "Quick Add". During Steve Ballmer's keynote, there was a short demo showing this new feature. So in case you missed the live stream, here we go.

Lets say that you're on vacation or a business trip and you just arrived to your destination. Your friends and family want to meet up later that night for dinner, but not everyone is familiar with the city. So you open Windows Live Hotmail and start preparing your e-mail with the time and place of your dinner affair, but you want to include the address and a link for directions. So you open up Quick Add while creating a new message (Screenshot).

Now you start your search for some nice restaurants for your affair. Once you've found your destination, you can either click "Insert" or "More Info". When you click "More Info" (Screenshot), you are brought to a Windows Live Search page. Once you've entered that page you will see a mapped location and some reviews if anyone has posted them. So now that you've picked your destination, you're ready to insert it into your e-mail by simply clicking "Insert" (Screenshot). So now you have the name, address, and more information ready for your friends and family.

That is only one scenario that this new feature will be able to do. Consumers will also be able to search for business listings, videos, and images. The beauty of QuickAdd is that it's automatically loaded when you open a New Message, located on the right side of the message pane.

Images courtesy of Jamie Thompson

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Not to impressed. I like that I can check my email with my iPhone now like others, that's about it. I'm going to stick with using office outlook connector which uses IMAP in Outlook for your hotmail accounts. When they allow IMAP in Outlook without having to install that add-in, then I'll be happy.

trying to set this up in The Bat. no luck so far. it connects, goes through tls handshake, connects to pop3 and then reports an error:
FETCH - Server reports error. The response is: -ERR user does not have POP3 access
is there a setting in my hm account in which I have to enable this?

edit1: arrgh, just tried another email client and get the same error. apparently not available in all parts of the US yet, certainly not in the part of flat Ohio I am trying from...

Actually yahoo offers free POP3 access in India and some other countries. I use it without any hassle but its not available in most countries...

Yawn... 1999 called, they want their protocol back. I'll say something nice when they implement IMAP.

Anyone know how this deals with Junk mail? Does mail classified as junk by Hotmail come down POP3? I'd hate to have to remember to check the Hotmail web interface to see if it misclassified anything...

It does not work with iPhone. I was trying both of my accounts and it said that i need Hotmail Plus. Does anyone here got it to work with iPhone or iPod touch?!?!?

creamhackered said,
I got it working on iPhone u sure you are not using a US account?

even when it says it needs Hotmail Plus, just ignore it and continue. then go and open the Mail app, and it'll try connect and verify your account, which will then work.

Does this pop3 access finally allow me to forward my live account to my gmail? This would allow me to consolidate all my email addresses into one spot.

I love pop3 access over IMAP. This way I have a backup of all my emails on my pc and in the cloud. With IMAP if the server takes a crap for some unknown reason your screwed. With Pop3 in the same scenario you would still have a backup on your pc.

warwagon said,
I love pop3 access over IMAP. This way I have a backup of all my emails on my pc and in the cloud. With IMAP if the server takes a crap for some unknown reason your screwed. With Pop3 in the same scenario you would still have a backup on your pc.


Err, you can do that with IMAP too... I'm pretty sure Outlook's default works that way (it certainly does for me).

Brandon Live said,
Err, you can do that with IMAP too... I'm pretty sure Outlook's default works that way (it certainly does for me).

Most email clients allow you to copy the messages in a local folder that is not sync. with the server. You bring up a good point...and...Gmail offers POP3 AND IMAP access (2 stones, 1 bird lol?)...ah well... I may backup my messages right now :P.

Come on, Yahoo, now do the same to show you have as much value.

Or, at the very least, let us multi-select messages for forwarding...

Unfortunately i dont think yahoo has that much value. In 5 years the namesake will still be around, but yahoo as we know it i believe will be long gone.

Guys, hotmail had pop3 access in the past for free. Then M$ took it away simply so they could charge people for it as an extra feature. I used to check my hotmail using outlook, it was pretty convenient. I may start using it again, but I don't use hotmail as much anymore cause it's gotten slower over the years (accessing the actual mailbox through the web browser that is).

bangbang023 and creamhackered,

Don't know where you guys are, but I'm in Urbandale, IA USA, and I've used POP3 access on 3 Hotmail accounts for the past couple days....works like a charm!

It was about time!!!!!!!

That news made my day. I'm currently downloading 6326 emails from my two email accounts :P

I'll finally be able to create folders, delete stuff live, etc. etc. I guess, in Mail.app

Thumbs up!

Because no Microsoft client works well with IMAP. The performance of outlook and IMAP is lame, as is Live Mail (which is better).

It'd be kind of embarassing for their own employees to prefer Thunderbird to their apps because IMAP blows on theirs.

Intelman said,
Because no Microsoft client works well with IMAP. The performance of outlook and IMAP is lame, as is Live Mail (which is better).

It'd be kind of embarassing for their own employees to prefer Thunderbird to their apps because IMAP blows on theirs.

I left Thunderbird for Windows Live Mail for my IMAP accounts. Seems to perform pretty well, and I like the layout a lot more than Thunderbird or Opera. I tried setting up IMAP on Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007, and both were horribly laggy.

Intelman said,
Because no Microsoft client works well with IMAP. The performance of outlook and IMAP is lame, as is Live Mail (which is better).

It'd be kind of embarassing for their own employees to prefer Thunderbird to their apps because IMAP blows on theirs.


Umm, they already have the Hotmail Connector for Outlook that works way better than POP or IMAP.

Can't wait for this service to be available in the US. It will bring Microsoft and Apple together a little closer, which benefits all of us with iPhones.

This isn't Earth-shattering but it shows MS being a little more innovative than normal and thats a good thing. But there are lot of other changes I would like to see them make to Live Mail.

Hopefully Microsoft made enough profit on restricting users like me (before) Microsoft purchased hotmail from using the full whack of services.

One question will this also include, msn, live, hotmail.co.uk and other non .com country suffix's?

A complete iPhone user now.

Just create a mail account, tap in your hotmail address and password. Then it warns you about being a Windows Live Plus subscriber. Click Save and it just works. Keeps the mail on the server by default.

The iPhone works out your server details automatically.

Also, I can still access my hotmail in Outlook. As my account goes back to 1998! I dont pay for this service too. Always a free user.

Hani said,
should we change th default port numbers in windows mail?


just select the 2 checkboxes "SSL" and the port numbers are changed automatically.

Mac Mail now works perfectly without any programs like Macfreepops. Just open Mail and add a new account, choose Pop and enter the settings. Works for incoming and outgoing emails, finally!

My account's registered with US as my country of residence. When can I expect the services to be available to me? Is it possible to change the country and avail the benefit?

Memnochxx said,
Yeah really. "Hey guys, we support this outdated method of email access everybody else has for years now!"

... in select countries!

If we setup POP access on our computer, will the messages still exist online as well?

I know with my ISP that this isn't the case, but I am hoping it is with Hotmail...

Deathray said,
If we setup POP access on our computer, will the messages still exist online as well?

I know with my ISP that this isn't the case, but I am hoping it is with Hotmail...


As far as I know they will, as long as you don't delete them out of your inbox (I know this is the case when using Windows Live Mail Desktop, but then again that uses Delta Sync). You probably should test first before doing any major deleting.

The deleting is because you've got "delete mail on server" checked as well in the account settings. The 'leave on server yet download' thing you're probably referring to is IMAP although it can be done with POP3 as well.

Having said that Hotmail may do what Gmail does which is move it to some sort of archive when you download/delete with POP3, I wouldn't know.

Yep, providing you tick the "leave a copy of message on server" box, it'll still be there.

It's not ideal though, as you end up with out of sync messageboxes, as deleting a message online wont change your mail client's copy.

sn00pie said,
UK, Canada, Australia, France, Japan, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.

POP is live in these countries :D


Thanks for the information, article update :).

I know someone who paid for Hotmail Plus for this functionality alone. Guess they'll be a bit ****ed now.

I also know someone who had to reluctantly switch to Gmail to get their email on their iPhone for free, which they weren't too pleased about. This is great news, but it should've happened a long time ago. And where's the IMAP?

PureLegend said,
I know someone who paid for Hotmail Plus for this functionality alone. Guess they'll be a bit ****ed now.

I also know someone who had to reluctantly switch to Gmail to get their email on their iPhone for free, which they weren't too pleased about. This is great news, but it should've happened a long time ago. And where's the IMAP?


I agree, this is a day to rejoice for those avid Hotmail users. One thing at a time though, you know the routine :P.