If you are now using Outlook XP as your main e-mail client and you also have a Hotmail account, you’ll be glad to know that you can now add your Hotmail account to Outlook XP just like you could with the previous and current versions of Outlook Express. Doing so will allow you to keep track of both of your e-mail accounts from within one e-mail client interface.
In this article, I'll show you how to add your Hotmail account to Outlook XP. As I do, I'll provide you with some tips for getting the most out of this e-mail integration.
Why do it?
One of the first questions that may come to mind when thinking of adding your Hotmail account to Outlook XP is why sacrifice the convenience associated with having a Web-based e-mail account? And the simple answer is that you’re not sacrificing anything. Of course, the biggest convenience with having a Hotmail account is that you can check your e-mail and compose replies from anywhere in the world—including your home or office. All you need is access to a computer connected to the Internet and a Web browser.
By adding your Hotmail account to Outlook XP, you will still be able to check your e-mail and compose replies from anywhere you can access an Internet-connected computer, but at home or at the office you’ll now be able to take advantage of all of the e-mail management features built into Outlook XP.
One thing that you need to keep in mind is that your Outlook XP-based Hotmail account will mirror your Web-based Hotmail account exactly and immediately. In other words, if you delete messages in your Outlook XP-based Hotmail account and then log on to your Web-based Hotmail account, you’ll see that those messages are deleted from there as well. The reverse is also true—any changes that you make while logged on to your Web-based Hotmail account will be immediately reflected in your Outlook XP-based Hotmail account.
Performing the procedure
The actual procedure of adding your Hotmail account to Outlook XP is very straightforward thanks to the E-mail Accounts Wizard. Let’s take a look at the steps involved.
To begin, launch Outlook XP as you normally would. Once it’s up and running, pull down the Tools menu and select the E-mail Accounts command. When you see the first page in the E-mail Accounts Wizard, you will be prompted to choose the type of operation that you want to perform. You’ll then select the Add A New E-mail Account option, as shown in Figure A, and click Next.
|In the first page of the E-mail Accounts Wizard, you’ll need to select the Add A New E-mail Account option.|
On the second page of the E-mail Accounts Wizard, you’ll be prompted to select the server type for the e-mail account. To continue, select the HTTP option, as shown in Figure B, and click Next.
|You’ll notice that the description of the HTTP server type specifically mentions Hotmail.|
On the third page of the E-mail Accounts Wizard, you’ll be prompted to enter your Hotmail user and logon information, as shown in Figure C. The Server Information section is already preconfigured for a Hotmail connection, so you don’t need to mess with it.
|In addition to adding a Hotmail account, you’ll notice that the HTTP Mail Service Provider drop-down list will allow you to easily add other HTTP-based e-mail accounts to Outlook XP.|
You’ll also see the Log On Using Secure Password Authentication (SPA) check box. You really don’t need to use this for Hotmail, so leave it blank. Now, if you click the More Settings button, you’ll see the Internet E-mail Settings dialog box, as shown in Figure D, where you’ll be able to add some special configuration options to your Hotmail account.
You can use other HTTP-based e-mail accounts
By default, the Server Information section is specifically configured for a Hotmail connection. However, you’ll notice that the HTTP Mail Service Provider drop-down list also contains a default configuration for an MSN account. In addition, there is a user-configurable option that will allow you to add other HTTP-based e-mail accounts to Outlook XP.
|You can configure some special features in the Internet E-mail Settings dialog box.|
To begin with, you can customize the account name by typing a new name in the Mail Account text box. You can also add your organization name, as well as specify a different reply e-mail address. The latter option allows you to specify that you want the replies to any message you send from your Hotmail account to be sent to a different e-mail address. For example, you could specify that your POP3 account receive all replies to messages that you send from your Hotmail account.
The options on the Connection tab allow you to specify the type of connection—network or modem—that you want this account to use. Under most circumstances, you’ll want to use your existing connection. To continue, click OK to close the Internet E-mail Settings dialog box. Then, click Next to move to the last screen in the E-mail Accounts Wizard. You’ll complete the operation by clicking Finish.
As soon as you do, you’ll see a Hotmail folder appear in Outlook XP’s Folder List, and Outlook XP will automatically switch to the Inbox and download all your Hotmail folders and messages. You’ll also find a Hotmail-Inbox icon on your Outlook Bar.
Configuring your Outlook XP-based Hotmail account
When you first open it, you’ll see that the default view for the Hotmail-Inbox uses a Preview pane. However, you can reconfigure the view to whatever setting you feel most comfortable with.
Now, by default, your Outlook XP-based Hotmail account is configured to be synchronized with your Web-based Hotmail account each time Outlook XP performs a Send and Receive operation. However, your Outlook XP-based Hotmail account will also synchronize itself with your Web-based Hotmail account anytime you access the Hotmail-Inbox in Outlook XP.
With this in mind, you may want to cut down on Outlook XP’s Send/Receive overhead by removing Hotmail from the Send/Receive operation. You can then check your Outlook XP-based Hotmail account at any time, simply by opening the Hotmail-Inbox.
To remove Hotmail from the Outlook XP’s Send/Receive operation, pull down the Tools menu and select Options. When you see the Options dialog box, select the Mail Setup tab and click the Send/Receive button to open the Send/Receive Groups dialog box. By default, your Hotmail account will be added to the All Accounts group, so you can just click Edit to access the Send/Receive Settings-All Accounts dialog box. To continue, select the Hotmail icon in the Accounts list and then clear the Include Account In This Send/Receive Group check box. When you do, your Send/Receive Settings-All Accounts dialog box will look similar to the one shown in Figure E.
|Since your Outlook XP-based Hotmail account will automatically synchronize when you access the Hotmail-Inbox, you can disable the Send/Receive setting.|
To complete the operation, click OK to close Send/Receive Settings-All Accounts dialog box. Then click the Close button to exit the Send/Receive Groups dialog box. Finally, click OK to close the Options dialog box and to enable the new Send/Receive settings.
At this point, your Hotmail account is fully integrated with Outlook XP. You can now begin using Outlook XP to send and receive messages using your Hotmail account.
You can use most of Outlook XP’s e-mail management features
Once you have your Hotmail account integrated with Outlook XP, you can easily manage your e-mail with almost all of Outlook XP’s features, but there are a few features that won’t work on e-mail from HTTP accounts. For example, you can use the Group By Box feature to sort the messages in the Inbox, but you can’t use the Rules Wizard to create organizational rules based on your Hotmail messages.
Bonus: Work around Hotmail's storage limitations
Now if you have a free Hotmail account with its built-in 2-MB message storage limitation, you’re going to love the fact that you can easily remove e-mail messages from the Hotmail site and save them on your computer in an Outlook XP folder. That way, you can comply with Hotmail’s storage limitations without having to pick and choose which messages to delete.
To begin, pull down Outlook XP’s File menu and select the New | Folder command. Then, use the Create New Folder dialog box to create a folder in the Personal Folders tree, as shown in Figure F.
|You can create a local folder in which to save messages from your Hotmail account.|
After you create the folder, you can drag messages from your Hotmail Inbox to the local folder that you created. When you do, the messages will be removed from the Hotmail site and downloaded to your local folder.
Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.