Hotmail, now known as Windows Live Hotmail, is a free web based email service from Microsoft. It offers 5GB of Inbox space in which you can store thousands of emails.
One of the major advantages of online email accounts is accessibility – they are available from any computer, anywhere in the world. However, without an active internet connection you cannot check email, both new and old! Also, if you have vital and crucial information stored at your Hotmail account, any disruption in the service (it’s happened before) or accidental deletion of messages can spell disaster.
What is the best solution? Download Hotmail emails and maintain a copy of the messages on your computer. You now end up with an online version that is accessible from anywhere and an “offline” one with the email messages cosy and safe on your system.
There are two primary ways to download Hotmail email to your computer. Both these require the use of an email client or an email program such as Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird etc. There are tons of popular free email programs – refer that list for details.
The first method is to have the Hotmail messages forwarded to an account that is already set up on an email client installed on your computer. For instance, if you use the Roadrunner ISP, you probably have that email account configured in an email program. To get your MSN Hotmail email to your computer, simply forward the messages to the Roadrunner address. Hotmail now allows you to forward messages to one other email account.
Windows Live Mail is a free email program from Microsoft that is meant to replace their famous and extremely popular Outlook Express client. FYI, the download and support for Outlook Express has been discontinued by the company and they recommend using the new Windows Live Mail.
Windows Live Mail, is much more than an email client – it is also a RSS reader, a news client, a blogging tool and offers many enhancements over Outlook Express. Vista users may have encountered another email client called Windows Mail that comes preinstalled on the operating system; yes, I know the names are similar… and confusing, to say the least. Unfortunately, Microsoft has discontinued supporting that program as well!
As per the company, the new Windows Live mail email program is the future because it employs DeltaSynch which is far superior to DAV (Distributed Authoring and Versioning) email protocol used by Outlook Express and Windows Mail. Furthermore, in this email client you can configure multiple accounts including those from Gmail and yes, Hotmail!
To store Hotmail emails on the computer you need to download Windows Live Mail and install it. Hotmail setup on Windows Live Mail is quite easy… a very simple affair, trust me! Just click that link for details.
Email from free Hotmail accounts can now be downloaded using any program that supports the Post Office Protocol (POP). This means you don’t need to employ only Windows Live Mail, as detailed above. Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird and Windows Mail will all be able to fetch messages from your Hotmail account.
Though now you can easily configure and set up Hotmail in Outlook Express, there was a time when things weren’t so rosy! Outlook Express support for Hotmail was kind of patchy – some accounts worked while others failed. The main culprit was probably the use of different email protocols on different Hotmail servers.
Conclusion: You can use the free Windows Live Mail program not just for Hotmail but also for downloading Gmail emails to your computer. In fact you can configure in multiple email accounts in the program. Furthermore, Windows Live Mail works also as an RSS reader, a blogging tool and a News client. I’ve been using the program for many months now on my Vista Home Premium computer and have never faced a problem. But if you fancy a different email client and don’t want to change, simply use the Hotmail POP settings to download messages to your computer.
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