After several name changes and product relaunches, Microsoft retired the Hotmail brand and renamed it Outlook in 2012. Everybody on the system was automatically switched over to Microsoft Outlook back in 2013, and it has been impossible to create a Hotmail account since. Tap or click here to see what free email providers know about you. So, if you still have an email address, you are part of the internet elite. But while Microsoft was steadfast in making all the necessary technical changes, it forgot about one crucial aspect: implementing a storage limit.

Why does it matter to you?

Eight years later and many Hotmail users have received a message from Microsoft informing them they have gone over the 15GB limit. It turns out that when the switch from Hotmail to Outlook occurred, the storage limit wasn’t enforced for these users. It meant that switched users had more storage available than new Outlook users. Realizing the error, Microsoft has now slapped over-the-limit users with an ultimatum: delete your emails or pay up.

What can you do about it?

Until you decide, you will be unable to send or receive messages in your Hotmail inbox. If the inbox is your primary way of communication, you’re faced with a conundrum. You can either sift through (possibly) years of emails, or you can pay $80 a year for a premium Office 365 subscription. If this leaves a bit of a sour taste in your mouth, there are some alternatives that you can use instead.

Google’s Gmail

Gmail is the most-used email service in the world. With 1.5 billion users, it is hard to find someone who doesn’t have a Gmail email address. But given the recent security and data protection practices of Big Tech companies, some might want to shy away from Google.

AOL Mail

AOL Mail is another free web-based email service with over 24 million users. It provides 250GB of storage. Despite having fewer users than some of the other free services, it has consistently been ranked as one of the best.


Free email is never truly free. You’re paying with your privacy. When it comes to private, encrypted email, we recommend StartMail, a sponsor of Kim’s national radio show. With StartMail, you can encrypt your emails with one click, even if your recipient doesn’t use encryption. StartMail doesn’t scan or analyze your emails, and when you delete something, it’s actually gone for good. You can try it out for 7 days free and get 50% off the first year at If you have set up a new email address or thinking of moving away from Hotmail, you’ll want access to all your old communications. We have an easy How-To for forwarding mails from one account to another. Tap or click here for simple directions.

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