Microsoft has notified users of its numerous email services that they will no longer be able to use the Windows Live Mail email client without installing an update.
Yet the somewhat clumsy official messaging, plus the release of an update that reportedly caused crashes, has created confusion for Microsoft users.
Why have I received this email?
Windows Live Mail is an email program that can be used to access various email accounts, including Microsoft ones such as @hotmail, @outlook.com, @msn and @live addresses. Microsoft has emailed its users to say, ‘In a few weeks, we will be making some changes to our email services that might impact your email account’.
The email encourages users of Windows Live Mail 2012 to click through to receive a software update. It also warns users of the older Windows Live Essentials 2009 and 2011 programs that they will no longer be supported and will need to use a different means for accessing their emails.
Is the email genuine?
Yes - although it's poorly designed and looks a bit like a scam email (not addressing users by name, and encouraging you click links titled 'click here'), this is a genuine email from Microsoft.
What do I need to do?
Depending on which email system you’re using, there are different steps you may need to take.
Windows Live Mail 2012 users
You can continue to use WLM 2012 on your PC with a Hotmail, Outlook.com, MSN or Live email account, but you’ll need to install the update linked to within the Microsoft email. A reported bug with the update has now been fixed by Microsoft.
Windows Essentials 2009 and 2011 users
If you use Windows Live Mail as part of Windows Live Essentials 2009 or 2011, these older suites won’t be supported by Microsoft anymore. If you have a Hotmail, Outlook.com, MSN or Live email address, you’ll need to switch to using the new Windows Mail App (which requires Windows 8.1 or 10 to run). Or, you can access your email account by webmail.
Best advice: move to webmail
While you can access your email accounts via Windows Live Mail 2012, or the newer Windows Mail app in Windows 8 and 10, Our advice is to use webmail instead.
With webmail, your emails live securely online, rather than on a specific computer. This means you can access them from any computer by logging in with your details.
If you have a Hotmail, Outlook.com, MSN or Live email address, these can all work as webmail accounts. You can access them easily by logging in to your account in a web browser at outlook.com, using your email address and password.