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When we launched the preview of Outlook.com, our goal was to build the best email service in the world, capable of scaling to over a billion active customers. When Outlook.com came out of preview, it was already the fastest growing email service thanks to your support. The last two months have seen the release of a new, modern Outlook.com calendar, a refreshed Outlook.com app for Android devices, two-factor authentication for your account, new international domains for people around the world, and the release of a preview of Skype calling in Outlook.com.
Today, we're excited to announce that we've completed upgrading all Hotmail customers to Outlook.com. Coupled with the growing organic excitement for Outlook.com, this has pushed us to over 400 million active Outlook.com accounts, including 125 million that are accessing email, calendar and contacts on a mobile device using Exchange ActiveSync. We're also pleased to announce that we're adding two new features to Outlook.com: SMTP send, so it's easier to send mail from different email addresses, and deeper integration with SkyDrive.
When Outlook.com came out of preview in February, it already had more than 60 million active accounts. However, Hotmail was still one of the most widely used services, with over 300 million active accounts. This made the magnitude of the process incredible, maybe even unprecedented. This meant communicating with hundreds of millions of people, upgrading all their mailboxes--equaling more than 150 million gigabytes of data--and making sure that every person's mail, calendar, contacts, folders, and personal preferences were preserved in the upgrade. Of course, this had to be done with a live site experience that was handling billions of transactions a day. With your help, we were able to do all of that in just about 6 weeks. We've spent the last few weeks ensuring that everything was completed in line with our high quality expectations.
We've been focused throughout the upgrade on ensuring that every customer has a great experience. We've been overwhelmed with the response so far, based on the comments we've received. Here are just a few of the verbatim comments that were sent through the in-product feedback tool:
To underscore the differences between the two services, here's a screenshot comparing Hotmail to Outlook.com. You can instantly see the difference in the clean new look. The chrome is minimized so your content is front and center, information is organized so that you can easily see what's most important, large display ads are gone and the entire visual aesthetic is designed to be fast and intuitive.
BEFORE: The final look of Hotmail.com
AFTER: The modern look of Outlook.com
Of course, whenever a widely-used consumer service makes any substantial change, there will always be some folks that don't like it, and that shows up in the feedback, too. It's gratifying in a sense because it means those customers loved the previous set of changes we made. With a communication service that is constantly evolving, we try to strike the right balance between bringing out major improvements and keeping true to what our customers love. Our belief is that as people start using the new experience, they will come to love it even more than they loved Hotmail. We are keenly listening to what our customers have to say, and we'll make the right set of adjustments to ensure that we make the experience as great as it can be. So to all those providing feedback: thank you and keep it coming. In addition, during the upgrade period we experienced a few service interruptions, and we've worked hard to respond quickly to each one. We know you rely on your email and for those who were impacted we apologize and appreciate your continued support.
Here are a few of the most common things we've heard about:
You can find answers to other frequently asked questions and more on this page.
With the upgrade complete we've turned our energy and attention to future innovation and to making Outlook.com even better based on your feedback. You've seen a number of these updates over the past few weeks, and today, we're starting to roll out a few more. We'll be releasing the new SMTP send and SkyDrive integration gradually, so it may take a few weeks before everyone using Outlook.com sees those new features.
You've always been able to send and receive email from other accounts using your Outlook.com account. But, in the past, when you sent email from Outlook.com using a different email address (say, because you switched from Gmail and are still using that Gmail address when you reply to folks), the recipients would see the email being sent "on behalf of" that other account. For instance, this could look like this:
We knew this was a pain point for some people, and could be a real problem if you had a hidden alias, e.g. when Bruce Wayne wanted to send email as Batman. So now we've made it so that email sent from a different account goes through that account's SMTP server. That way, the recipient just sees that account's email address, like this:
This should work for any email provider that provides POP or IMAP access. If you want to take advantage of this feature, in the Options menu , click More mail settings, click Your email accounts, and then scroll down to the section titled Add an email account:
From there, you can add a send-only or a send-and-receive account, and we'll configure the SMTP server settings as part of that. This new SMTP send capability will be available worldwide in the coming weeks.
There are a number of ways we've integrated Outlook.com and SkyDrive: a single Microsoft account for signing in, a shared contact list and set of connected networks, the ability to send large attachments, a shared header, and much more. Today, we're excited to release the direct integration of SkyDrive into the Outlook.com compose experience. When you're sending an email message, you can select files from your SkyDrive and we'll automatically turn those into the right thumbnails with links that have the right permissions tied to people that receive the email. When you insert pictures from SkyDrive, you automatically get a beautiful photo mail. And it's easy to edit the message, and add or remove files and pictures right from the new message compose experience. This new integration is starting to roll out today and will be available worldwide in the coming weeks.
Here's what that will look like:
We want to give a huge "Thank you" to all of you who have supported Hotmail over the years, for some of you, that's going back as far as 1996. It has been an amazing journey and we've been honored to provide you with a great mail experience for many years. When we launched the original preview of Outlook.com, we knew that we were committing to building the world's best email with a brand and product experience that spans from consumers all the way to the largest organizations. We're excited to have you join Outlook.com as we write the next chapter in modern email from Microsoft.
Thank you for all the feedback along the way and everything you did to help make Outlook.com the best and fastest growing personal email out there. We're excited to keep hearing from you and there's a lot more to come. Welcome to the new Outlook.com and onwards to a billion inboxes!
-- Dick Craddock, Group Program Manager, Outlook.com
(This post was updated to clarify that the SMTP send capability would also be rolling out over a period of a few weeks.)
@Infinicat - The feature isn't rolled out to everyone quite yet, once it is you'll be able to enter custom settings for send-only addresses.
@dudesofhazzard, we're taking a look
ronaldt - this is coming, it's just not out to all accounts yet. Coming soon...
Please add the ability to send from different 'From' names.
I have a business (info) account tied to Outlook. I do not want to send email from it with my name. I want to use the company name.
I've been using the same Hotmail account since 1998. I'm loving the new interface and do not agree with anything @jsw454 said.
When I attach a file, it would be nice to see the filename.
Often I attach multiple Excel, Word, or PDF files to an email that are located in different folders. I cannot see the file name and all I see is the icon.
This should be a simple fix. Most likely an oversight.
Ok guys. AS you seem to read my enough of my last comment post enough to block it from the comments page then read this. Why isn't there a help option on outlook. Why am I not able to access my hotmail files on the new outlook on either of my two systems. And why, since you hijacked me onto outlook, dose one computer now out of space when it wasn't before you changed me to outlook. Nothing else was added.
how about a 'send mail at (time.) IE, you want an email to go out at 8:30pm.
and how about an email notifier that runs in the systray? crappy firefox extensions work maybe 80% of the time....not good enough.
I am using Office 365 at workplace and when I place the mouse pointer on my Outlook Online mailbox name, I am presented with a useful tip that says "1.95 GB of mailbox space used. At 24.75 GB, you won't be able to send mail". This message was not clear at first read, then after a thought, it became clear that the message tells me that "Once my mailbox is 24.75 GB full, I will not be able to send any email".
Can the language of this statement be made more obvious so it is clear to the user at first glance? Also, at 24.75, will I be able to "receive" any messages or not? I think that should be mentioned as well.
I can log on and I can see my email list!, what I can not do is delete or access any mail. It keeps saying it does not have contact with the server! not happy at all!
@davidacoder, if you're asking if you can set the Microsoft Account firstname.lastname@example.org to send mail using Gmail's SMTP server, the answer is yes. You'll just need to wait for the updates to make their way to your account
@Steve Gabard - you'll have the ability to specify a different display name for a send-only address when you add one. As mentioned in the blog post, the functionality is still rolling out to all our users so it may not be available to you just yet
Is there anyway to "interface" Outlook.com with Office 365 Outlook?
Why during the transition from hotmail to outlook have paid hotmail plus accounts been deleted?
I signed up to outlook.com preview when the service first launched, linked my hotmail.com to my new outlook email address and started gradually transitioning my contacts to my outlook.com email address.
April 28 - hotmail email address disappears. Incoming emails started bouncing...this is causing significant inconvenience as I can't update the email address for the remainder of my less frequently used online accounts from the past 15 years because the passwords are long forgotten and password resets go to the hotmail account that has disappeared.
What makes this situation more frustrating to me as a customer is that the subscription is clearly showing against my Microsoft Account...
I work on the Outlook.com team and I'm sorry to hear about your issue. This is certainly not an intended side effect of the transition, and I'd like to investigate. I'm not able to private-message you on this blog, but if you create a post on this page (answers.microsoft.com/.../mail) and reply here with a link to your post, or send an email to outhelp at microsoft dot com, I can speak with you privately to resolve the issue.