Aug 01 2012

How to Upgrade and Downgrade Between Hotmail to Outlook.com

Update 20/02/2013: Microsoft appears to be migrating users over and removing the option to revert to the Hotmail interface!

This came out of nowhere and is a testament that Microsoft is really getting its stuff together ahead of the Windows 8 release and unify their software and services across the board.

Hotmail started in humble beginnings back in the 90s and has lagged a bit in terms of innovation and interface. Heck, Hotmail couldn’t even roll out Exchange ActiveSync before Google even though Microsoft owned it – not a good look! Anyway that appears to have changed today.

Microsoft has just launched Outlook.com which seeks to unify the look and feel of webmail with Outlook 2013 and Windows 8. The new interface is now more efficient in its use of space and allows you to see more of your mail without having to scroll or move between pages as much.

Anyway, the important thing to know is how to upgrade your existing Hotmail account to Outlook.com and it’s real easy:

  1. Login to your Hotmail/Live account,
  2. Go to your inbox (if you’re not already taken there),
  3. Click on “Options” up in the top right hand corner of the Hotmail screen (under your name and to the left of the help icon) and click “Upgrade to outlook.com”,
  4. Click the “Upgrade to Outlook” button on the next screen,
  5. Enjoy the new layout.

If you don’t fancy what Outlook.com has to offer you can always go back to Hotmail for the time being by doing the following:

  1. Login to your Hotmail/Live account,
  2. Go to your inbox (if you’re not already taken there),
  3. Click on the cog up in the top right hand corner to the left of your name and click “Switch back to Hotmail”,
  4. Click the “Skip feedback” button on the next screen (unless you want to provide feedback),
  5. You’re back to Hotmail.

I’d recommend giving it a shot if you can as it won’t cost you anything and you can always switch it back if it’s not for you. You can also register new e-mail addresses and aliases in the outlook.com domain if you want to secure your name before someone else does (that’s the first thing I did after I saw this announcement)!

One word of warning though for those with Windows Phones – do not change your existing e-mail address if it is used as the primary account on your Windows Phone. If you do, you’ll need to wipe the phone and start from scratch to register your renamed account which would be a major pain.


Skip to comment form

  1. thanks

    thanks you saved me outlook.com sucks .. hotmail.com faster.. better and more conformable

    1. Charles

      I can’t see the option anymore. Please help!

      1. Boyd Chan

        I believe the option is being removed by Microsoft – I can’t see it on any of my accounts now.

        1. Mike

          yeah, they removed the option to go back, and this new outlook freezes after the second action I take, I literally have to go to my android (linux) phone, and use Chrome to access my emails, because it doesnt work on a Windows PC… unless they are making it so you have to buy all their new stuff to make their new crap work… google just works better and faster on everything… sheesh…

  2. Mr.T

    Thank you very much sir or mam. I thought I’d be stuck with the outlook theme–which I do not fancy.

    1. Boyd Chan

      Glad to be of help 🙂

  3. jake

    I have tried many times, but when i click on the cog i can’t seem to find Switch back to Hotmail.Can please help me?

    1. Boyd Chan

      What do you see in the menu when you are clicking the cog?


    I’m already on Outlook and can’t downgrade.

    1. Boyd Chan

      If you don’t see the option the I believe either your mailbox already came as Outlook or Microsoft has revoked the ability to downgrade this specific mailbox. Does your address end in outlook.com?

  5. Charles

    Help! I can’t change it back to hotmail! The option to switch back is not available. My email account ends at @live.com

    1. Boyd Chan

      It appears that Microsoft may be removing the ability to go back to Hotmail or they are force migrating people over to the Outlook interface. I’ve checked my various accounts and the ability to roll back to Hotmail is also gone for all of them.

  6. Sue

    Could there be a connection between ‘upgrading’ to Outlook and my printer suddenly stopping working? I think the upgrade was the only thing I changed. Ive tried the trouble shooter which says its fixed it and everything looks as though its working – but then it suddenly appears as an error – in control panel – but the printer dialogue box stays open as though it is still trying.

    1. Boyd Chan

      Hi, Sue.

      I would highly doubt it as Outlook.com doesn’t connect to your printer directly (it needs your web browser and Windows to facilitate that interaction). Have you tried uninstalling and reinstalling the printer?

  7. Sue

    Yes I have – and using the ‘recovery’ option to take it back a few days. Printer was fine yesterday. It keeps going on about Homegroups – which I hadnt heard of before today. It suggested I drop the firewall for a bit and that didnt work either.

    1. Boyd Chan

      That’s very odd. Homegroups shouldn’t impact the local printer either as that is a method of being able to share files with other computers on the local network. I am guessing that the printer is directly connected to the computer in question?

      One thing I would recommend if it is a USB printer is to try uninstalling the printer again, disconnect the printer from the computer and then reconnect the printer on another USB port. I have found that to fix unexplained printer problems in the past.

  8. Sue

    Thanks Boyd. Its a wifi printer but I had to put the USB in for installation. I tried a different port as you said…and Im up and running again now. I think the Troubleshooter features led up a few blind alleys – not to mention the ones I had taken myself up.


    1. Boyd Chan

      Glad that you got it sorted out in the end 🙂

  9. BillyBob

    I am not even logged into facebook but it pulls in pictures anyway. This is can stop that.


  10. Brent

    Wait a minute…they actually give us a choive to switch between them?!


  11. Bidault


    I would like to switch back to hotmail ! From outlook !
    I am unhappy of outlook …
    Kindly give me the way to do it ? If not I will discontinue my outlook account ?
    Thank you ,
    Best regards ,
    F. G. Bidault

    1. Boyd Chan

      Hi there. As per the note in red at the beginning of the article I believe Microsoft is now removing the old Hotmail interface making the new Outlook interface the only interface available. I am not aware of any other ways to get back the old Hotmail interface unfortunately so you will be stuck with Outlook.

  12. Sylvia

    I don’t like Outlook! What is another reliable free email group I can switch to?

    1. Boyd Chan

      Have you considered Gmail? That’s probably the other major alternative that is fairly reliable.

  13. c v ranga reddy



    1. Boyd Chan

      As per the first line in the article it appears that Microsoft is phasing out the old Hotmail interface so you’ll have to use something else if you don’t like the Outlook interface.

  14. Rani

    I hate Outlook, want Hotmail back, i dont have gear link, and dont have Sign Off either.

    1. Boyd Chan

      As per the first line in the article it appears that Microsoft is phasing out the old Hotmail interface so you’ll have to use something else if you don’t like the Outlook interface.

  15. Tim

    Outlook.com sucks because it is not intuitive to use. My understandings are this. If you voluntarily opted to move to Outlook.com like I did assuming it would look like Microsoft Office Outlook you will not have the option of moving back in the Gear menu.

    If you were forced to moved then the revert option should be there under the Gear (options menu). However the Gear may not show with any browser but IE8 or IE9. So for you lucky people just log in on a pc with an IE browser and the Gear menu should work.

    Is there some easy method of contacting Microsoft and complaining about this crappy process and crappy software?

    1. Boyd Chan

      If you have Twitter you could try tweeting them @Hotmail

  16. Hassan

    I can’t find the “Revert back to Hotmail” option. Please help! Or else I’ll be stuck in Office 2013… FOREVER!!! ;_;

  17. Gary

    My new outlook will not let me bring my message content up. I can see em but I can’t read em. I don’t have the normal options to delete, move to folders or junk. It sure is lousy. Since the cog on outlook doesn’t work or offer the option to switch back to hotmail…are we being forced to gmail?

  18. Al

    Damn! I hate the new Outlook! My emails are blank! I only get the sender’s info in the emails. No content!! WTF??? Microsoft really blew it …again! I want my old Hotmail back!

  19. Bob Holt

    The Hot mail system was much better then Outlook. If this is what you call improvements were in big trouble. Switch me back to the Hotmail system.

  20. Tamina

    i would like to switch from Hotmail Outlook as it sucks but the information that you have given on how to remove it doesn’t work for me as i don’t have and option to ‘switch back’ from my options menu at all…Help meeeeee!

    1. Boyd Chan

      Hey Tamina,

      Not sure if the first line of the article in red but it looks like there is not way of going back to Hotmail – it’s Outlook or bust!

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