If you’ve been suffering problems with Windows Live Mail, you’re not alone. Microsoft has made some changes to its email programs and services that have affected @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com or @msn.com accounts.
The effect? If you have an email address ending like one of these, they will no longer work with the Windows Live Mail program. This has caused plenty of frustration, but there's a simple solution - move to using webmail instead.
Move to webmail
Moving to webmail is far and away our strongest recommendation. Most email accounts offer a web-based method of sending and receiving messages. For example, you can open a browser and sign in at outlook.com to manage your Microsoft email, calendar and contacts. It’s very easy to switch to using this method instead of using a dedicated email program that sits on your computer.
If you have a Microsoft email account
Users of @hotmail.com, @outlook.com, @msn.com and @live.com email accounts can get up and running with webmail in moments. Head to www.outlook.com in a web browser and sign in with your email and password. You should find all of your messages, folders and contacts ready to access. You can sign in to your account from any device, anywhere in the world, and your emails will be backed up safely online.
If you have a non-Microsoft email account
If you've been using an alternative email address with Windows Live Mail, you may still be able to access your messages via webmail. For instance, if your internet service provider gives you an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org, for example), head to your ISP's website to find the mail login area within your account. Your emails should be available here.
Longer term, we recommend switching your email account away from one provided by an ISP. This frees you up down the line to change your home internet service without worrying about losing your email messages. Instead, pick a free webmail account from Microsoft (Outlook.com) or Google (Gmail).
Read our guide to changing your email address
Windows Live Mail problems
Windows Live Mail is an email client - a program that sits on your PC. If you access your email through a program such as this (the Outlook program is another example), your emails are saved as small files on your PC. That can be a problem - lose your laptop, and you lose your emails.
Until recently, Windows Live Mail worked with Microsoft’s variously-named email services. But a change by Microsoft in June 2016 meant users would see error messages. Windows Live Mail won't be supported for any types of email account from 10 January 2017. If you use WLM, it's time to find an alternative.