Everything You Get When You Create a Hotmail Account
A shocking number of people consider Hotmail accounts to be outdated or even obsolete. In fact, I was chatting with an old friend last week and the topic came up in conversation. He said, “Wait, people still use Hotmail?” To which I replied, slightly offended, “I still use Hotmail.” And sure enough, when he looked up the contact info he had for me on his phone, there was my Hotmail email address, in all its glory.
There are even people who don’t realize that Hotmail still exists. This is probably a result of confusion due to the name of this email service being changed so many times in the past 20 years. Although it was developed independently, Hotmail was quickly acquired by Microsoft when they say just how powerful the free, web-based email platform was. Since then, the account has been renamed and rebranded too many times to keep track of. These days, most people are familiar with Outlook.com, which is the web mail service offered by Microsoft – but the thing is, Outlook.com and Hotmail are the same thing. Anyone who created a Hotmail account in the late 90s to early 2000s still have their exact same account, running on the Outlook.com interface. The login portal is even the same, because both Hotmail and Outlook accounts are officially “Microsoft accounts”.
What do you get when you create a Hotmail account?
This last point about Microsoft accounts is important, because it means that when you create a Hotmail account, you don’t just get an email address – you get access to a whole array of tools and services offered by Microsoft. So if an efficient, customizable email platform with 60% less advertisements than Gmail and storage that grows with you isn’t enough for you, take a look at all this other cool stuff you get after you create your Hotmail account.
OneDrive cloud storage
When I was working on a teacher, constantly hopping from computer to computer (three classrooms plus home plus whichever computer was free in the planning room), OneDrive is largely how I was able to keep my sanity. I knew that I could just put everything there, and it would be easy to get to no matter which computer I was using. It was really easy to keep everything organized; I do use Google Drive these days because so many of my contacts do, but I find OneDrive to be more intuitive.
OneDrive is also a great way to free yourself from attachment size limits in email. You can simply share a folder or file with your contacts so they can get access to it directly, without it having to go through email.
When you create a Hotmail account, you automatically have a OneDrive account too that you can start using right away. You can share and collaborate on all sorts of file types, and here’s my favorite part: if you have a PC that runs on Windows 8 or 10, you can use your Hotmail account as the computer’s default account, and as long as you’re signed in, every time you save a file, you can put it in your OneDrive with one click. It’s literally just as easy as saving it to My Documents or the Desktop – this saves you from having to go to OneDrive and upload everything manually after saving it to your home computer first.
This is a free tool that goes hand in hand with OneDrive when you create your Hotmail account. Anything you have stored in the cloud can be easily edited using web versions of all your favorite Microsoft Office programs: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and even a newer program I had never heard of called Sway, which apparently is used to make multimedia presentations.
And if you know that you’re going to be saving a file to the cloud before you even start working on it, you can just open Word Online, PowerPoint Online, or whatever program you need right from your Hotmail inbox and create it there. This is a really powerful tool for teams who are collaborating on a project, allowing everyone to edit efficiently without constantly having to save a new copy and email it to everyone else.
I’ll admit, I don’t make as much use of the Calendar feature that is built in to my Hotmail account as I should. Many people strongly prefer it to Google Calendar because of better options for categorizing events and choosing how much information about events are shared with certain people. I’ve never used either calendar often enough to notice the difference. However, there are a couple of cool things that my Microsoft calendar does for me which you might find useful, too.
Some time ago, Hotmail and Outlook started giving you the option to sync your Facebook contacts, which allowed you to chat with your Hotmail and Facebook friends at the same time in your Hotmail inbox. That was cool, but apparently it also synced my Facebook friends’ birthdays and automatically added them to my calendar. Now, I know that probably 10 years ago I set up email reminders for birthdays of family members and friends, so at first I didn’t even notice that I was getting birthday reminders for all of my Facebook contacts! Somehow, it even ninja-ed its way around the fact that some people choose to hide their birthdays on Facebook. I suspect that it created the email reminders in the distant past when their birthdays were publicly announced, and maintained them even after those people changed their Facebook settings.
But honestly, the main purpose of my Microsoft calendar is to remind me to “skip” each month on those website subscriptions where they charge you each month to get a credit on their site but give you the option to skip being charged – if you remember to do it in the first 4 days of the month! So now I literally have monthly recurring events just for these types of websites.
This is another tool that you get when you create a Hotmail account, and another tool that I should probably start using. But so far, I haven’t managed to incorporate this into my lifestyle. Call me a luddite – I’m still using paper calendars and to-do lists!
The amount of information that you can store about your contacts in your Hotmail account is very handy for people who primarily use their accounts for work. If I remember correctly, on Gmail you can only have their name and email address (and maybe a phone number), but Microsoft gives you “contact cards”, where you can add company name, home address, various phone numbers, birthday, and other information.
There is also a convenient “clean-up” feature in your Hotmail contacts that will search for duplicates and merge them. Duplicates happen sometimes because your contacts were imported from multiple external accounts, or people change their email address and a new contact gets created. If the clean-up tool misses any, just select both contacts and click “link” to merge them.
Like Hotmail, Skype began independently and was later acquired by Microsoft. That means that if you have a Hotmail email address and password, you can use it to log in to Skype. There is even the possibility of chatting with your Skype contacts in a sidebar right from your Hotmail inbox – no need to open the desktop version of Skype at all, unless you want a larger window for a video call.
How to create a Hotmail account
So as you can see, Hotmail is anything but obsolete, and it actually just keeps getting better and better. If you’re even considering creating a Hotmail account, though, I suggest you act quickly. Since the service has been officially rebranded as Outlook, there’s a possibility that the option to create a new Hotmail email address (as opposed to one ending in “@outlook.com”) could disappear at any moment.
Here are the steps you need to follow to create a Hotmail account:
So now you’re good to go! In the upper left-hand corner of your inbox, you’ll see an icon that looks like a bunch of tiles or a grid. If you click on this, you have easy access to most of the Microsoft tools and services discussed in this article. I highly recommend you take advantage of OneDrive cloud storage at the very least, but it’s all in your hands now. Enjoy!