How to Trace an Email From Hotmail

Updated March 23, 2017

Hotmail is a free, Web-based e-mail program. This means that anyone can use Hotmail, and anyone can set up an account from any computer that has the Internet. Because of the nature of Hotmail, it can be hard to trace a message from a particular account. People can lie about their name and address when they sign up for Hotmail, so you can't trust information found in the account itself. However, you can find the IP address of the person who sent the Hotmail message and trace the email.

Open your Hotmail Inbox and find the message you would like to trace. Right-click on the message. You will get a menu. The last item in the menu should say "View Message Source." Click on it, and the headers will be displayed when you open the email, if they aren't displayed right away.

Scroll through the email headers once you've displayed them. Find "IP Address" If it is listed more than once, take the last one listed.

Copy down the IP address and plug it into an IP address locator found online. Some are listed in references for you. This will return information about the Internet Service Provider that provided the connection from which the email was sent. Once you know the name of the Internet Service Provider, you can find out general information, such as the area of the country the email comes from, and perhaps even the state or town, depending on whether the ISP is local or regional. Sometimes, this is enough for you to trace the user, especially if you have a suspicion of who it might be. The Internet Service Provider probably won't be able to give you any information about a specific user. However, if you have just cause for obtaining the information, you can contact a lawyer or the police about obtaining a warrant for the information. If you have a warrant, the ISP will be required to give you the exact location of the IP address, and thus the location and information for the email user.


If the ISP doesn't give you information about a sender, and if you cannot obtain a warrant, it can be very difficult to trace a Hotmail address, because Hotmail can be accessed from anywhere.

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About the Author

Missy Talbot started writing professionally in 2000. She has been published in "Grass Roots" magazine, "LifeTimes" magazine and on the websites TeacherWeb and The Teacher's Corner. Talbot holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Master of Arts in publishing. She is working on a Ph.D. in journalism.