Update: Since this post was written, Hotmail has added proper POP3 support – see this entry for details. The instructions below are therefore unnecessary.
Last year I mentioned the Webmail extension for Mozilla Thunderbird, which adds support for Hotmail, Yahoo, Lycos, mail.com, Libero and AOL to Thunderbird, as well as general POP3 and IMAP services which are built-in. (It also supports Gmail but you can use Gmail via POP3 already).
Since signing up for the beta for Windows Live Mail, which will suceed Hotmail sometime soon, I haven’t been able to use Hotmail with my account – instead, I’ve been getting the dreaded ‘Negative Vibes’ error. It turns out the fix was right under my nose.
If you are in the same boat as me, do the following:
- Open the Extensions dialog and click ‘Find Updates’ to ensure you have the latest versions of the Webmail and Hotmail extensions. Download the latest versions when offered, and then restart Thunderbird if necessary.
- Go back into the Extensions dialog, highlight the Hotmail extension and choose Preferences. On the Mode tab, highlight your account, and then click ‘Change Mode’. Change it to ‘Beta’. Close the dialogs, and check for new mail. Your account should now work fine!
You can experience with the WebDAV option, which may work with your account if you have been using Hotmail for a few years. It’s more efficient than the Screen Scraper (old Hotmail) or Beta (Windows Live Mail) modes but Microsoft is in the process of phasing it out so it may not work.