Hotmail to Outlook automatic upgrades take users by surprise

The migration of Hotmail users onto Microsoft's new email client is now in full swing, but the software giant's decision to automatically upgrade users seems to be taking many by surprise.

The switchover has been heavily publicised in the press and through email alerts from Microsoft to existing Hotmail customers, since the automatic upgrade process was first announced in February.

Even so, a quick search of the terms "Hotmail" and "Outlook" on social networking site Twitter throws up hundreds of disgruntled responses from users who claim to have logged into Hotmail, only to be greeted by the new Windows 8-like user interface of

I don't like outlook and I want my Hotmail backcjammy (@cjammy4) March 7, 2013

MY EYES! Hotmail switched to Outlook but it doesn't look like the Outlook I'm accustomed to. I don't like change, Microsoft!Lauren (@laurenacarlton) March 7, 2013

Windows Live Hotmail is now Outlook. It looks so bland. I really hate change sometimes #BringBackHotmailKevin(@Ksquall1) March 7, 2013

However, Microsoft has confirmed, because the Hotmail brand is being retired, switching back from will not be possible.

"Hotmail will be phased out by the summer and will be the free email service from Microsoft. As part of this transition, we've removed the option to switch back to Hotmail," thecompany stated in a recent advisory document.

This isn't the first time the Hotmail switchover has incurred the wrath of users. Back in August, when the preview version of was first launched, users complained they had been automatically upgraded without being asked, and had lost access to emails.

Meanwhile, existing Hotmail users that had upgraded suffered a service outage earlier this month, which prevented them from logging into their accounts. Microsoft claimed the problem only affected a small proportion of users, and that it was quickly resolved.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.