back to article They grow up so fast: Spam magnet Hotmail turned 22 today

Hotmail turned 22 today having ushered in an era of web-based email, great swathes of spam and one of the greatest ever security cock-ups. Launched on 4 July 1996, Hotmail offered "independence" (geddit?) from traditional ISP-based email, which required users download messages into a local reader. Hotmail allowed users to …

  1. BillG Silver badge
    FAIL

    Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

    Around ten years ago I signed up for a browser-based Hotmail account just to see if the spam rumors are true. My username was a random 10-character alphanumeric.

    No less than ten minutes after I'd finished signing up did I receive my first spam email. After that I received about 20 to 50 spam emails a day even though I never used that Hotmail account. Never sent an email to or from it.

    That's Microsoft for you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'That's Microsoft for you - See if the spam rumors are true'

      Interesting... Did a similar experiment... Took a spam overrun Hotmail account and migrated it to Outlook along with a random character name change. That ended all spam instantly, or so it seemed... Curious exceptions started popping up - Kept getting <twoo.com> invitations. Wikipedia it, to see it in all its spam glory.

      Clearly a dodgy partner of Microsoft. By the way, the only reason for doing this experiment at all, was that MS refused to delete the account permanently. They were enforcing full validation of the account first (complete personal info), along with cellphone / email (secondary validation). Would you please fuck off Microsoft

    2. Andy Mac

      Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

      I’ve had the same hotmail address for around 17 years and I’ve used it to sign up for *everything*.

      I get hardly any spam at all (maybe 10 a week) and right now most of it is because I bought a domain and stuck the address on Whois.

      I can’t speak for other peoples’ experience, but I’m very happy with the lack of spamage (although Hotmail is my main weakness in my attempt to be data-slurping-behemoth-free).

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

        "I get hardly any spam at all"

        I used to get quite a lot of spam to my Hotmail address, largely because of it being exposed on Usenet. Very little gets through now - Microsoft filtering has improved vastly over the last year or so. Occasionally SEO spam gets through - disappointingly little as I like to bait them now and again. Emails threatening suspension of the Hotmail account seemed to get through the filters occasionally although you'd have thought these would be the easiest to filter - does it pretend to come from us? yes, did we send it? no = spam. There was the occasional less well-informed spammer threatening to cut off my Gmail or Yahoo account but they all seem to be gone now.

      2. Nattrash

        Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

        Ah yes, the good old days... A hotmail address, get your knowledge through Alta Vista, and put it to use on some Tripod space. Where did we all go wrong..?

        1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

          Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

          When (a) the iPhone spawned and (b) Web 2.0 became a thing.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

            I have various free email accounts. I never get Spam via Google's. I never get spam via "Outlook.com".

            But Virgin Media's email ( since they stopped using Google's and switched to the parent company service) is ghastly. Mostly on my wife's address- probably since it's the one she uses most.

            Most annoyingly, pernicious obvious spam that a hamster could recognise at 50 paces gets through, but if I try to forward any of these to a phishing@(name of bank etc) address it does get blocked by their servers, because it contains spam. Emails that are forwarded to phishing@ addresses will contain spam - what a surprise that is.

            Idiots

            1. Bavaria Blu

              Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

              I once tried to contact Santander about a phishing email, but they had absolutely no interest. I suppose, what are they going to do about it?

            2. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...PS

              I don't usually add a PS - especially after 3 days.

              But since then Virgin have told me to forward phishing spam emails to their phishing@ address. So I tried and... I'm sure you're ahead of me, it got bounced by their servers because it contained Spam

        2. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

          When the Net became a snake oil supermarket mixed with a whore house.

        3. Fungus Bob Silver badge

          Re: Where did we all go wrong..?

          Dumping FidoNet for the iddernets.

          Abandoning the Gopher protocol.

          Taking Twitter seriously.

      3. oldfartuk
        Thumb Up

        Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

        Ohh i can beat that, i have a hotmail account created in the first 6 months of launch.. It gets very little spam now, because ive used aliases for throwaway email addresses ever since they invented the feature. I hated Outlook, but you get used to it, as long as it looks like hotmail used to. I taught my daughter to use it when she was 7, and how to use MSN Messenger at 9, she was the most connected 10 year old in Secondary school. I use it Hushmail for serious stuff, and PGP for really serious stuff. When I want the NSA to read my emails, however, I use Hotmail.

    3. -v(o.o)v-

      Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

      I remember being excited when HoTMaiL (get it?), which was how it was initially stylized, IIRC, came available. It was pretty revolutionary: web interface, free.

      Whippersnappers of today have no idea how it was back then and how useful Hotmail was.

      Outlook.com has one extremely useful feature that the free Gmail axed: use your own domain name.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

        I remember my boss telling me about a web site where it was possible to get emails. I thought he was making it up! Then when MS took over I used Outlook express to download emails onto my PC.

        I've had various hotmail addresses for twenty years, and now taken the big step of setting up Outlook.com alias.

        Don't remember much in the way of spam, apart from one time where I couldn't send emails because it ran out of space. Found 900+ identical spam emails!

    4. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

      Mid 2000s spam was a problem, but they seem to have it sorted now.

      I opened my account before Microsoft bought HoTMail. It has gone through phases of bad spam. But in the last few years, I have used it as my main private account (still the original account) and I guess less than 1 spam a month gets through at the moment.

      But thereagain, I use GMail as a dumping ground for site registrations and other guff that could easily spam up my mail account, to keep my main account spam free.

    5. SundogUK

      Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

      I have had a hotmail/outlook account for almost 20 years and I have never got more than five spam emails in a day.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

      "No less than ten minutes after I'd finished signing up did I receive my first spam email. After that I received about 20 to 50 spam emails a day even though I never used that Hotmail account. Never sent an email to or from it."

      I've had an outlook.com e-mail address for two years*, and have had exactly 0 pieces of spam in that time. :S

      * I actually find the UI significantly better than GMail's ...

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

      Outlook.com, or HotMail as it was formerly known, *is* a spam magnet.

      However, why can this not be a feature?

      I have an HotMail account since 1997. Now I use it mostly to register on web sites and mailing lists.

      I have used the two following features to treat inbound spam:

      - White listing: I only allow known email addresses to my inbox

      * On a new registration, one needs to click the verification link anyways, so this is where I white list (or not)

      - Sweeping: mails are deleted or archived automagically on a schedule and/or on a count (if only GMail had this...)

  2. AegisPrime
    Gimp

    Hooray?

    I used Hotmail in its original incarnation for a bit but seem to have lost my password (or the will to live) around the time of Microsoft's acquisition. It was never really that good but at the time it was pretty neat to not have your email address held to ransom by your ISP (anyone remember Demon and/or Blueyonder?).

    Later I was one of those misguided fools that bought into Apple's MobileMe service (which if I recall, even Steve Jobs said was execrable) - over time it improved and eventually got subsumed into iCloud so both email addresses now point to the same account which I continue to use.

    I keep expecting Apple to kick me off for being a freeloader (I no longer own any ithings) but I really can't be arsed with switching to something else and wouldn't touch Google with a barge-pole. I did set up a couple of Protonmail accounts but without IMAP they're more novelty than utility - maybe I should quit being a tight-arse and *gulp* pay for my email account...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Hooray?

      "maybe I should quit being a tight-arse and *gulp* pay for my email account."

      Maybe you should. Even I, a Yorkshireman, think my own domain and a few quid a year for as many aliases as I can eat is worth while.

  3. elDog Silver badge

    And we can all use non-MS, non-Gg email addresses but we are still in their grasp

    As has recently been pointed out, any email exchange that includes a participant in that set of slurpers (GMail, Outlook, facebuck, Hotmail, Yahoo, LinkedIn, ...) then all juicy tidbits will be scanned and remembered.

    I have a few friends and enemies that use secure email clients/paths (protonmail for example) that may think that sending me something on my <gasp>gmail account will be secure.

    I have an idea. Write your most cherished ideas on a one-time-pad piece of paper, in cursive, slip it into another innocuous piece of paper, lick a stamp (use your dog's slobber), walk calmly down the street past 3-4 mailboxes and then post that missive. (We don't have mailboxes anymore in my neighborhood, or public phone booths.)

  4. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Overloaded Servers

    Users at my company used to complain when emails to Hotmail accounts would take hours to arrive. Looking at our server's SMTP logs, I could see lots of "Busy Here" reject messages from Hotmail's SMTP servers.

    Somehow, though, my users insisted it was my problem to fix.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Overloaded Servers

      Yep, Hotmail was notorious for that sort of thing. I always tried to steer people away from it. Here are some links that show the problems it had:

      * Loses 81% of all emails with attachments (2011): https://hubpages.com/technology/Hotmail_Fails_To_Deliver_Up_To_81_Of_All_Attachment_Emails

      * Emails not arriving: https://www.astutium.com/knowledgebase/268/Why-does-my-email-not-arrive-at-hotmail--Missing-or-Lost-emails-to-xyzathotmailcom-.html

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    It doesn't get a lot of traffic

    But I've had the same account since before MS bought it. Too many people worldwide know that account, but maybe don't know my paid-for private domain accounts.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: It doesn't get a lot of traffic

      I still have a Hotmail address.

      I use it regularly when ordering things or filling out forms which require sn email address.

      I have no complaints. It serves its purpose.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Useful in a willy waggling competition

    My hotmail account is <myrealname>@hotmail.com ... which will soon be older than some of the people interviewing me about my "experience".

    We live into interesting times .....

    1. Sideways

      Re: Useful in a willy waggling competition

      Yes same here i got it many many years ago when Hotmail was just a youngun and it's going to be kept until i croak it ... or hotmail/outlook.com does..

      My other spam magnet gmail account comes with a nice reminder that 37 other folk have the same name as me, that's likely 37 thousand now.

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Useful in a willy waggling competition

      I've got both <myrealname>@gmail.com and <myrealname>@outlook.com; you'd be amazed at how many other people think they do also. Most recently: one of my Irish namesakes filed their Form 12 tax return, apparently.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Useful in a willy waggling competition

        ThomH

        Me too. I actually have firstname.surname in all sorts of email accounts and variations alongside for family use. There's an idiot woman in the USA who sometimes uses my Gmail address. So I get emails about social events, quotes for catering family events. etc. I used to politely inform the senders. Nowadays I'm less tolerant. I send a stroppy email instead (reply all is best here). My aim is to embarrass her as much as possible. And it seems to have worked, I don't often get them anymore.

  7. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Weird, I always thought Yahoo was before Hotmail, although Hotmail was definitely the plucky upstart. I remember Yahoo being superior as far as I was concerned. I collected email addresses on all kinds of services in those days but it was always those two I used until Gmail came along. Google had the right idea by making it invite only, people swarmed to it and I even sold the invites myself on eBay along with Live Messenger Beta invites. There's nothing new shiny and exciting on the Internet anymore.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "There's nothing new shiny and exciting on the Internet anymore."

      Possibly something to do with age? Anyone who is retired has seen many things - not just on the internet - touted as "new" when they are merely recycled. Pop songs get revived - fashions get reinvented - censorship waxes and wanes.

      There was joke that even the years are being recycled. The day/dates on a calendar for 2018 are the same as one for 2007 - or even 1900.

      I think the last new and exciting thing I saw on the internet was flightradar24. Yesterday was a record as they tracked over 200,000 flights - with 19,000 in the air at the same time.

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Yes it's definitely age, you're right. I'm only mid 30's at the time of writing this. You didn't need to be anonymous I wouldn't have been offended :-)

        And Flightradar24, actually yes that was the last new shiny exciting thing I saw actually,good point.

  8. katrinab Silver badge

    I don't get any hotmail spam these days

    The only thing I use it for is my domain registrations, and while it got loads of spam about 20 - 15 years ago, now, I don't get any. GMail and Yahoo however, get lots of spam.

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge

    "And then go back to GMail."

    Speak for yourself.

    Mail.com (GMX)

    ProtonMail

    Runbox

    Fastmail

    Posteo...

  10. Jim 59

    Hotmail

    Been using the free version since circa 1998. See no reason to change. Thanks, Bill.

    By all means go to bed with Gmail. Be distracted by its slick features, while in the background it gets down to the brutal business of re-identifying your online ID, tracking your every activity, and building a picture of your every internet wandering, down to the last click.

    In comparison, a bit of spam seems almost innocent.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hotmail

      while I share the sentiment about GMail, unfortunately, I have to shatter your belief that hotmail is only "a bit of spam". A couple of years ago I DID read they ALSO read those e-mails in your inbox. (anonymizing, caring for privacy, blah-blah-blah)

    2. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Hotmail

      Be distracted by its slick features, while in the background it gets down to the brutal business of re-identifying your online ID, tracking your every activity, and building a picture of your every internet wandering, down to the last click.

      What makes you think Microsoft and Yahoo are/were not doing just that as well ? I do not trust Google, nor Yahoo, or Microsoft, ever ...

      BTW, hotmail users could not count to 5! Netscape gave you 5Mb and allowed you to send 3Mb emails ...

      @el reg

      Windows 95 & 98 allowed you to set a password, yay!, but you could just get through the logon screen by hitting Esc <---- all your data is belong to me!

      1. Test Man

        Re: Hotmail

        "Windows 95 & 98 allowed you to set a password, yay!, but you could just get through the logon screen by hitting Esc <---- all your data is belong to me!"

        That's because it was never a security feature, it was merely a feature to allow "profiles" which held certain Windows settings (like background, etc.) so you could have custom settings protected by a password (for people who liked to have their own set of colours/background/screensavers/etc). Hitting ESC simply loaded the default profile.

  11. mickaroo

    Hotmail Holdout

    I've had a Hotmail account since 2003 when I switched over from @Netscape.com.

    Spam was never an issue (maybe I didn't visit the right websites?) and Hotmail is still my preferred email address.

    And I am no fan of Micro$oft. Go figure...

  12. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    Snippet for those interested in how the browser-based email service got its name - HoTMaiL.

    Or so I was told once.

    1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

      I think that's a fact. I seem to recall the early logo even spelt it like that.

      Remember there was an HTML creating / editing tool called ' HoTMetaL'?

  13. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    GMail

    "Both services are heavily integrated with their respective parents' application suite stuff, making exact counts difficult to ascertain,"

    I wonder how many of those gmail accounts are people with multiple accounts? I've signed up to a few Google service over the years just to see what they were, so used unique details each time, and all have generated gmail accounts. Likewise my work Android phone and personal tablet use separate accounts, neither of which get used and the password are probably long forgotten by now.

    1. abubasim

      Re: GMail

      You will need your GMail passwords once you replace the phone and the tablet - or need to do a factory reset.

      "No body"? Reminds me of the joke about the boy born without a body who's complaining that the only gifts he receive are hats.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        Re: GMail

        You will need your GMail passwords once you replace the phone and the tablet - or need to do a factory reset.

        Only if Google Factory Reset Protection is enabled, otherwise not.

      2. Joe Harrison Silver badge

        Re: GMail

        Reminds me of the joke about the boy born without a body who's complaining that the only gifts he receive are hats.

        Think his name was Ed.

      3. Donn Bly

        Re: GMail

        You will need your GMail passwords once you replace the phone and the tablet - or need to do a factory reset.

        And even the passwords might not be enough when you have turned on two-factor authentication. Guess what happens when your authentication device is the one that needs to be replaced, and you have to log into your account first in order to do it....

        In my case luckily I had one machine that I had marked as "trusted" and was still logged in -- I had to drive to that location to turn off two-factor authentication, then drive back to the store to get the phone replaced. Back up SMS authentication? Well, that also went to the dead device... Back up phone number? That went to a land line whose anti-telemarketer protection rejected the calls from Google as spam.... Then I had to re-setup everything that I had using Google Authenticator for two-factor since you can't restore them or transfer them to another device....

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: GMail

        "You will need your GMail passwords once you replace the phone and the tablet - or need to do a factory reset."

        I just checked. They have Post-It notes stuck to them with the password written on.

  14. Johnny Canuck

    I got my hotmail address in 1998 - and its also a real name account. As a curiosity, I also have a netzero.net email account left over from 1999-2000 era when netzero was offering FREE dialup internet. I keep waiting fort the day I can no longer log into my netzero account.

    1. Sven Coenye

      1999-2000

      Around the same time, HP gave away free 4MB @compaqnet.cctld addresses to anyone buying a new PC. Not only is mine still alive as well, the capacity has grown quite a bit over the years.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        Re: 1999-2000

        Interesting! I was born in that era so missed the fun.

        Tried punching that in Wayback Machine to see what shows up.

        Oddly, nothing. Never cached by Internet Archive, never crawled by Alexa.

        How did you guys log into that email if the domain name never had a web server hosted on it?

        Could an email server be hosted w/o an accompanying Web server?

        Missed the fact that .cctld = a two letter country code. Apologies!

        It seems, however, that compaqnet.XX is dead (on Nov. '03 according to the last archived version of compaq.fr). How come the email addresses still work?

        1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: 1999-2000

          You can have an email server living handling mail for email.wackytld without neccessarily having a web server pointing to that address.

          Conversely you can have a web address without having to set up an email service.

          Tl;dr email and web are 2 different services :)

        2. Sven Coenye

          Re: 1999-2000

          Mine was .be. HP linked up with local ISPs to provide the service. The mailboxes and web hosting are now on Proximus (formerly Belgacom, formerly the state telco monopoly.) And someone even still has something useful there: http://users.compaqnet.be/doublestars/

  15. Elmer Phud

    Lurking around?

    Oh no.

    It's where I have accounts to register to things like FaceAche and the like.

    And the occasional sock-puppet to wave at Yaxley-fans.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Signed up in '97 with a realname account. Still use it for signing up to services but access through Gmail

    The only reason I ever signed up was I needed an email address for university and the IT department in their wisdom decided to save themselves a ton of work by not issuing any University.ac.uk emails to the students.

    1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

      But then after graduation your name@university.ac.uk address is gone forever.

      Like an ISP that only lives for your academic career.

  17. markrand
    Linux

    Sod all 'cloud computing'

    I must admit that I migrated from sendmail to exim in about 2002. Why on earth would I want my email on someone else's servers?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And then go back to GMail

    YOU go back to GMail, I prefer to be probed by MS (the f...s they are).

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    call from the past

    hotmail was very, very useful in those days when I travelled a lot in Asia and elsewhere, pretty cool to let your parents and friends know you're sitting in some dodgy Pakistani cafe in the middle of a tribal zone. Only to find out, weeks later, back at home, that those "sent" messages, never actually arrived. Oh well.

    25 years later: I go to France, try to log in to (web-based) hotmail: "We seem to have detected you are logging in from a new and potentially DANGEROUS location. And, is it really you anyway?! To log in from this location, please complete blah-blah-blah". Sadly, to remedy such issues, I made a fatal error by setting up a gmail account, where the MS verification code would arrive to (no mobile numbers, no f.. way). So I'm logging in to my Gmail (web-based) throw-away account, only to see: "We seem to have detected you are logging in from a new and potentially DANGEROUS location. And, is it really you anyway?! To log in from this location, please complete blah-blah-blah".

    So much for FUCKING convenience of "access-ANYWHERE" free e-mail accounts.

    That said, I've retained my hotmail account since 1990s, and actually use it quite a lot as my secondary one.

    1. Bavaria Blu
      Happy

      Re: call from the past

      Generally it is good when an email providers has security as a priority? Email would be pretty useless if it was easily hackable and it could be anyone using your account? Both Google and Microsoft have 2FA apps which work well.

  20. Spanners Silver badge
    Meh

    Transferred to Outlook,com?

    I still have a hotmail address. I presume I have one at Outlook.com but I have never even checked it or sent a test email to that address to see if it arrives.

    Why do I still use this account? I have it for when I deal with MS. They don't want to use a Gmail one or one from my own domain. It also seems to be needed for Skype. I never log into it and pull whatever arrives in it into Gmail. This way, it goes through MS spam filters and then Googles ones

  21. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    still have my origonal Hotmail.com address, its a junk-a-poloosa, but then its been active for like 20 years, and i kinda use it as a spam filter (if orgs dont fillit with spam, they get a real address)

    My favourite name origin story is the (b)accronym "Hackers often Taunt Microsoft and I Laugh!"

    on outlook.com, the addresses stayed the same, but got transfered, and some upstart post-millenial probably has your @outlook.com address

  22. The_H

    There are much worse things than Hotmail

    I've had my Hotmail account since pre-Microsoft days, so I've got a very useful first.last username. I cannot recall the last spam email I got in the inbox - the junk filter is very good indeed. Compare that to my "came with the ISP" email account which I have never used for anything at all (except that my invoice invariably is sent to it)... it gets dozens of spams per day. Only my ISP could have given that out. Same with the iCloud email which came with my imposed-on-me iPhone. Never used it, full of spam.

    Not everything which Microsoft do is automatically crap.

  23. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Rocketmail

    Fairly sure rocketmail was first. At least I remember everyone in my office signing up for an account on same morning to this amazing new mail in yer browser thing. There were some other good ones later such as mailandnews which also gave you browser-based usenet, and Novell's myrealbox - both dead now.

    I recall mobile phone customers could at one point get a vodafone.net or orange.co.uk free personal account, which always seemed dodgy to me if you decided to call yourself billing-admin@ or something like that.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Rocketmail

      I had a Rocketmail account in 1996 - was driving across Africa at the time and the only way I could get correspondence was by telling people to write to me at "Poste Restante, Accra, Ghana" etc. - in one of those letters my flatmate told be about this new fangled webmail thingy and that he'd set me up an address, unfortunately misspelling my name - but it was so useful I stuck with it for years.

      Instead of driving to a prearranged post office every three months and showing my passport to collect mail, I could go to an internet cafe (which existed even in west africa in 1996) and message friends and family. It was nothing short of a miracle.

      A few years later a friend did the same trip and he just took his mobile - he had coverage across pretty much the whole continent.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My favourite Hotmail moment

    In 1997, Microsoft trumpeted that they were proudly moving the recently-acquired Hotmail over onto IIS. In 2000, they claimed to have finally done so.

    In 2002, a back-end glitch produced a few 404's which revealed that Hotmail was back running on Apache. They hadn't been able to get IIS to scale.

  25. The Dogs Meevonks

    I've still got one that's used a lot

    I kinda like the ability to set up a load of alias addresses that feed back into the same account. I use my hotmail for spam, if I need to sign up for any web based account... a new alias is created just for that site.

    So if I start getting spam to a specific email address... I can trace it back to the precise company that's sold on my info without my consent (I NEVER give my consent to anything).

    Very handy now that GDPR is in effect. I'm actually kinda looking forward to reporting the breaches at the moment. :)

  26. Danny 5
    Thumb Up

    Ahhhh, memories!

    I think I created my account in 1998, still use it to this day (as a spambox, like many others).

    I recall having to set your account to US to get something like 100 megs of mail storage, where non US peeps had to settle for something like 25 megs? That tattooed a US stamp on my account that lasted longer than I would've wanted!

  27. simonb_london

    I arrived too late

    Apparently someone had already picked "hotsnail@hotmail.com" as a username. I did consider "hotsnailgonewrong@hotmail.com" but I think someone had picked that one too.

  28. andy 103

    Still using Hotmail

    I opened my Hotmail account around 17 years ago and still use it as my main email account through the new Outlook.com portal.

    I'm the opposite of most people because I have a Gmail account I use to sign up for things I don't trust. That got so much spam at one point I opened another. In contrast Outlook.com's spam filtering seems very good - pretty much every item goes in my Junk folder and I never have to manually tell it that it's got something wrong. That seems like a fairly recent thing though because in the past it was truly awful at filtering spam (when it bothered).

    The user interface seems better than Gmail to me as well.

  29. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Hotmail?

    Honestly forgot all about hotmail, what with the attention on Gmail in the news of late - at first I confused it with Yahoo and wondered if it wasn't already dead.

    Then I thought the name was kind of a good name for a porn I'm sorry, dating hook-up service.

    Seriously, Hotmail - totally forgot about it. Not thought about it in years, don't know anyone who uses it (oddly enough).

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some sad little....

    It appears that some sad little scrote has been going through and downvoting anyone who has anything remotely good to say about hotmail... So I've been going through and giving everyone an upvote to compensate for the poor ickle little person.

  31. pear

    Works fine for me

    Tried switching to gmail years back and couldn't stand the interface.

    The junk filter is good, although in recent months a little too good (It sometimes thinks El Reg is spam)

    Good linkup with Windows ecosystem these days, can access my gmail directly, allows me to have a bunch of aliases, effective folder rules and the like.

    Hardly a relic

  32. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    single use

    I don't know how many times I signed up to Hotmail back in the day, for website registrations and as an external address for testing my mail server, it was easier to create a new account than remember the address and password from last time.

  33. steviebuk Silver badge

    And then go back to GMail...

    ...or not. I've had a Hotmail account since time began. I've kept my @hotmail.com extension. I was using it before they forced everyone in the UK to an @hotmail.uk address. I still use my @hotmail.com address because it's more powerful than GMail. I've had to use GSuite in a company and can say confidently Gmail is shit. Some things are OK but it's still not as powerful as Outlook.com. But Outlook.com also isn't perfect.

    I hadn't had spam in years as I put lots of filters in. But, a few years back quite a few started to get through from invalid address'. So you click on the e-mail to put it in the spam filter and Microsoft being so fucking clever would say "Unable to add to filter as this is an invalid e-mail address". Well if it was infuckingvalid, why did you let it through into my inbox. Tits. Has taken them several years to fix that issue.

    I may now use a mix of both but still prefer and mostly use Outlook.com/Hotmail. I no longer work at the place that forced users onto GMail by scrapping Exchange so only really use Gmail to keep on top of how it works, in case I'm unfortunate enough to have to support it again.

  34. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    WorstWeb

    Hotmail isn't anywhere **NEAR** the spam-magnet Bestweb.net is. I might get *one* spam mail on HM within one week's time; bestweb sends me DOZENS of spam messages every day. And that's an email we're *PAYING* for (the only reason we haven't dropped it is because my brother is too lazy to migrate all of his maillist subscriptions and accounts to a different provider).

    Perhaps one reason I don't see spam from Hotmail is because I use a REAL email client (Thunderbird) to retrieve my mail for all my email accounts. A web browser is NOT an email client, and should never be used as such.

    About all *I* get on WorstWeb for emails these days is a monthly billing notice, and emails from job farms that are looking at some 10-year-old resume of mine (they must have trouble updating resume files in Bangalore).

  35. Neiljohnuk

    Still using it.

    Started using Hotmail in its first few weeks, been using it ever since, yes it suffered when microshite took it over but it works. Biggest issues have been when the spammers caused it to be black listed with other ISP's and companies.

    Not too many years ago my employer warned us about using Hotmail for webmail use, now they recommend it as a way of not drawing attention to yourself when on trips to the more hazardous areas of the world as you would using our .ac.uk account!

  36. Test Man

    First used it when I was back in Uni in the late 90s. Closed that account and signed up for a new one probably early 2000s - been using it ever since.

    The recent stuff has made it miles more useful, in my opinion - stuff like aliases that allow you to have several addresses tied to the same inbox, and the country-specific domains (if you know how to manipulate the signup form, or the alias creation form ;) ).

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a comment meant for microsoft forums...

    Why don't you drop the nonsense microsoft with spam issues, it's happening to everyone that does not purchase an outlook account. I was offered an outlook account at a price and that included far less spam. So microsoft can deal with the issue for a price and they are the ones responsible for opening the gates allowing a FLOOD of spam. It's so bad you can't even navigate your email. Just like their updates, they consume all your data and if they don't like what you do, they high jack your computer, lock you out from all the settings and your hard drive. Why don't you just trash that useless subscriptions field in settings with hotmail...what a joke, it only works for microsoft. I had several thousand subscriptions that I removed one at a time..it took me several days. What a waste of time. Every notice of subscription cancelation came back as another flood of emails that could not be delivered. You can block "the" email but what's the use, your instantly pounded with another from the same source but slightly different name. Subscriptions is a joke so is blocking and firewalls, just eliminate the category and let them add as a safe sender...what's the difference? None! Microsoft rams their way into your life, computer, our homes and if you try to stop them... Save yourself the time and buy an Apple computer. I switched to Linux, so far it's holding however, microsoft bought controlling interest in Linux back in March of 2018. I can see the difference...I am being bombarded with updates. Why even bother with these forums with answers without answers from microsoft. Lets face it, if your want play in the modern world on any platform, privacy and the money in your pocket is gone. There is no real choice if you want to survive in the modern world. I am legally blind and disabled. I pleaded to microsoft for help, it just got worse. I went thru every setting I could find, it makes no difference. If you change a setting microsoft does not like, they will switch it right back as a friendly update. Your settings mean nothing...all your settings! I'm talking your computer. I trashed my operating system, windows 10, over and over again just to learn and learn I did. I got them to show me their hand. Keep your operating system disposable and personal information portable...separate.Microsoft can also rewrite the software for most firewalls right on your computer, because they own them. What they are doing is illegal but who would notice with that big horse and pony show going on at the white house all for our entertainment as they clean up while you are distracted...

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