Hotmail is Microsoft's free Web-based e-mail service and a component of Windows Live Services. Hotmail services include spam blocking, inbox consolidation and mobile device support.
Windows Live Services components use a common user name, or Windows Live ID, and password. You can obtain a Windows Live ID without signing up for Hotmail if you already have an e-mail account. In addition to e-mail, Windows Live Services components include free online storage, instant messaging and chat.
Decide why you need this account. Possibilities include personal and business correspondence or a clearinghouse for electronic subscriptions (sometimes called a "junk" account). This decision impacts your choice of account name.
Open a browser and navigate to the Hotmail home page. Click "Sign up" to open the "Create your Windows Live ID" page. Here you will establish your e-mail address and password, then provide other information such as account holder name and country.
Enter an account name. Click "Check availability" to see if that name is taken. If the account name is unavailable, Windows Live suggests similar alternatives. You need not use these suggestions, but your account name must be unique. Use the drop-down box to select the hotmail.com or live.com domain.
Enter your case-sensitive password. It must be at least six characters long. Longer passwords (up to 16 characters) are better, as are passwords that combine numbers, symbols and letters of both cases. Avoid easy-to-guess expressions; especially those that reveal personal information.
Enter an alternative e-mail address, or click "Or choose a security question for password reset." This step covers you should you try to sign in but forgot your password. You'll either have reset instructions mailed to your alternative account or have to qualify for a reset by identifying your mother's birthplace, best childhood friend, name of first pet, favourite teacher, favourite historical figure or grandfather's occupation.
Enter your name, country, state (if applicable), gender and date of birth. (All of this information is required.) Use a name familiar to friends and family for a personal correspondence account, your company name for business or a made-up name for a "junk" account.
Complete the "Characters" field by entering the letters and numbers from the graphic. Click the speaker button if you can't read them; click the double-arrowed button to generate a new set. This helps assure that you, and not an automated script such as those used by spammers, are creating the account.
Click "I accept" to consent to the terms and conditions of use. The instructions include links to the "Microsoft Service agreement" and "Privacy statement." If your entries in the "Characters" field are accurate, Windows Live opens your account.
Windows Live replaces Microsoft Passport. Your Passport user name and password is your Windows Live ID. During set-up and when using a Windows Live service, click the Help link for FAQs and usage information.
Do not open mail from unknown sources. If you must, never open attachments to or click links in such mail without verifying the sender's authenticity. Otherwise you expose yourself to viruses, spyware, and spam Do not report all unwanted mail as "spam." "Spam" is unsolicited commercial mail. Mail that you requested and no longer want, or mail you get from checking "Allow third parties to contact me..." or "Keep me updated..." options is technically not spam, you asked for it. In these cases, use the sender's "unsubscribe" procedure. Contact your ISP as a last resort.