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Working With Hotmail as Your Primary E-Mail

Written By: James K. Searles
Date: April 1st, 2002
ActiveWin.Com Editorial

Hotmail has been the subject of a large amount of media controversy and negative spin as of late. As a long time Hotmail user I have been severely perturbed by the comments that a number of news services have taken from the "public". I'm not saying that these consumers who have a problem with paying for email are anti-Microsoft, I'm just saying they are ill informed.

My first subject for discussion is the 2 MB limit, which has been in effect for several years now. At one time, when you exceeded your file limit, you were sent a nice email from Hotmail Member Services telling you to delete some messages. If you didn't comply your oldest messages were deleted. The only difference since they launched their pay service (of which I am a subscriber) is that you can't receive any mail until you delete messages from your inbox. While this can be annoying it shouldn't be too difficult to prevent this from happening. Even in the case of the "Junk Mail froze me out of Hotmail," it is avoidable and better than the wholesale deletion of your old messages.

Which brings me to my next point. There is no way to effectively filter junk mail on any e-mail system. However, Hotmail does have a solution I like, and for those of you who have been locked out of your account because of this it could be a godsend. Hotmail offers a Junk Mail filter setting of "Exclusive". This terminator style filter prevents any mail from anyone not in your Address Book, Safe List, or Mailing List List from getting to your Inbox. Where does it go? Well it goes to the Junk Mail folder which isn't included in the computation of your quota and remains there for seven days. This is especially useful if you have gotten an e-mail from an unexpected address or you forgot to add your Mom to your address book.

Hotmail offers a serious number of advantages over the e-mail your ISP provides and it's free. The feature I like about Hotmail the most is that its Web Based and I can access it anywhere. Sure lots of other services offer this but few offer so many other ways to access their e-mail. Hotmail offers Outlook Express or MSN Explorer for offline viewing and MSN Messenger can notify you when a new mail arrives. For someone like me that's a lot better than keeping Outlook open. Especially when you consider how much processor time it eats up!

In the end you get what you pay for. Just like everything else in life, you can't really complain when its free. If you don't want to pay for the added storage you're either going to have to suck it up and deal with it or try one of my tips.

If anyone has some other ideas about how to effectively use Hotmail as your primary e-mail service, just leave a comment below.

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