Hotmail Introduces New Email Aliases Features
Microsoft launched a new email alias feature for all users of the company's email service Hotmail recently. Email aliases are alternative on-the-fly email addresses that can be generated directly in Hotmail. Two different versions of email aliases are available.
The first available option is to add characters to the first part of the email address. A new alias is created instantly by adding the "+" character and a unique letter combination to the email address, for instance firstname.lastname@example.org. This is helpful for niche specific email conversations, especially since it is possible to store alias emails in their own folder in the Hotmail inbox.
The spam protection offered by this kind of alias system is negligible as it is possible to identify the real email address directly by cutting off the part before the + character.
To counter this a second option to create aliases was introduced. This time as an option to create "completely different email addresses that you can use to receive email into your primary account without anyone knowing what your primary email address is".
These aliases are basically independent Hotmail or Live email addresses that are then linked to the account. It goes without saying that only free email addresses can be selected as aliases.
Windows Live and Hotmail users can add up to five of these aliases to the Hotmail account per year, up to fifteen total.
Update: Note that the following link and information work on Microsoft's new email service Outlook.com as well.
New aliases can be created on the following page: http://mail.live.com/?rru=createalias
You need to log in to Hotmail before you can create the new alias. The new email address is selected on the first screen which redirects automatically to the Hotmail inbox afterwards.
Here it is then possible to select a folder or the inbox as the storage location for incoming emails for that email alias or have them go to the inbox instead.
Microsoft sends a confirmation mail to the main account address that details some of the options that aliases offer:
- You can send email messages from this alias by clicking on your address (above the To line in the message you're writing) and selecting your alias from the list.
- If you set up a separate inbox folder for your alias, messages sent to it will go to that folder. Otherwise, messages sent to your alias will just go to your regular inbox.
- Remember, you can't sign in to Hotmail with your alias; you'll need to sign in with your regular Hotmail address
It is possible to remove aliases anytime from Hotmail. This may however have implications. Microsoft notes:
If you remove this email address, you won't be able to use it to receive Windows Live mail, invitations, notifications, and alerts, or to be found through people search.
Links to alias creation and removal pages do not seem to be accessible from within Hotmail at this point in time. It is likely that Microsoft will add those options to the accounts directly to make it easier for users to create and remove aliases.
The option to add unique email addresses as aliases to a Hotmail account takes aliases to the next level. The option could be very interesting for users who have maintained several email addresses just for that purpose. (via)
Update: It is possible to create Hotmail aliases right from within the inbox. This is done with a click on the options button right next to the inbox. It opens up with a click and displays two options.
The Create a Hotmail alias option leads directly to the screen linked above.
Update 2: The feature to create aliases directly is not available on Outlook.com.
You can use the main link listed above to create aliases for the service, or do the following instead:
- While signed in to an Outlook.com account, do the following.
- Click on the preferences icon in the top right corner and select options from the context menu.
- Locate "create an outlook.com alias" under managing your account and click on it.
- Select the desired email name and domain that you want to use and click on create an alias to create it.
- You are taken back to the inbox where you may want to disable "send new mail from this address by default" on the prompt that comes up.
- Then you can select whether you want mail to arrive in a new folder or an existing folder.