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 email@example.com. 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:
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:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.