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For a deeper exploration of the engineering behind Windows Live check out Inside Windows Live. And, for help with Windows Live try the Windows Live Solution Center.  

Improved ways to remember birthdays

When Windows Live Calendar came out of beta in January, we introduced a birthday calendar to automatically keep track of your contacts’ birthdays. We’ve just improved the birthday calendar to make it even more flexible.

Whenever you add birthday information in your contact list, it appears in your calendar. But now you can also add birthdays right from inside the birthday calendar (and they’ll automatically sync with your contact list).

When you add a new birthday, you can call attention to it with a special charm and you can set a second reminder (so you really don’t forget to buy that gift).

If you don’t like the birthday calendar, you can turn it off or delete the whole thing. Deleting the birthday calendar doesn’t change what’s in your contact list, so you can always add the birthday calendar back later.

There are a few other additions to the settings page: you can also change the default charm that goes with birthdays. And you can refresh the calendar to make sure it has all the latest birthdays that are in your contact list.

We hope these improvements help you keep track of birthdays.

Happy scheduling,

The Windows Live Calendar Team

Sometimes e-mail isn’t available online…

Sometimes we’re not connected to the internet or unexpectedly the service we’re trying to connect to isn’t available – we find ourselves in need of accessing e-mail offline. Windows Live provides you options when things fall down because we understand that people depend on their e-mail for information. With Windows Live Mail or Outlook Connector for Outlook, you can access your Hotmail and other e-mail accounts offline and have a richer experience than possible on the web. So when the unexpected happens, you’ll still have access to your e-mail though the comfort of the mail programs on your PC.

The Windows Live Team

Update how you get Hotmail messages in Outlook, Outlook Express and Entourage

Today, we are changing the way Windows Live Hotmail messages come into Microsoft Office Outlook, Outlook Express, and Entourage. While you may have to tweak some settings, you will notice additional speed and efficiency. Please check out our previous post to learn what you need to do in order to keep receiving Hotmail in Outlook, Outlook Express, or Entourage.

Keep in mind, this does not affect access through the web and customers can continue to view Hotmail messages on the web at or

Questions or trouble updating your mail program? View the FAQ page or visit the help community.

Technical details for those who are curious. Microsoft Office Outlook, Outlook Express, and Entourage use the legacy DAV protocol to access Hotmail messages. Today, we are retiring the DAV protocol. As Hotmail storage has evolved, DAV has become an inefficient solution for syncing e-mail (it downloads the whole mailbox instead of just changes). We have two alternatives now: DeltaSync and POP3. DeltaSync synchronizes your e-mail, just like DAV, but is much faster since it only downloads the latest changes to your mailbox. Both the Windows Live Mail and Outlook Connector e-mail programs use this efficient protocol. POP3 is a tried-and-true protocol and works with nearly all e-mail programs. If choosing to use POP3, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind about the protocol. Click here to find out more.

Thank you for using Windows Live Hotmail.

Your Windows Live Hotmail Team

“Add to Windows Live Calendar” for events in Bing, MSN City Guides and Zvents

Want to find just the right event in your area this weekend? Worried about finding something fun to do with the kids when you’re on vacation in a new town? Try the enhanced MSN City Guides, Bing event search or any of the Zvents co-branded services around the Web to find cool happenings and immediately add them to personal or shared calendars in Windows Live.

Give it a try!

1. Visit MSN City Guides at
2. Enter something like “concerts” and the name of your local town or city. In the example below, we’re searching for concerts in Mountain View, CA

3. Click on one of the events in the result list to review details. In the example below, we’ve clicked on “Alumni Concert.” You can now review the details of the event.

4. Now, to make sure that you don’t forget about the event, you can add it to your personal or shared calendars in Windows Live. Just click anywhere you see the calendar icon with Save,.

5. After you click the icon with Save,, you’ll see a number of options for calendars that you can save to, like Microsoft Office Outlook and Windows Live Calendar. For our example, we’ll click Windows Live Calendar. If you’re already logged in to Windows Live, you’ll see the event details right away. If you’re not logged in, you’ll be prompted to do that first.  

6. Here are the event details pre-populated with the event content from the MSN City Guides page. Notice that I chose to add a “music” charm and also invited a person to the event by sending a Windows Live Calendar event invitation. I could also choose to save this event onto a shared calendar with a spouse, significant other or friend. I can also set a reminder for the event. And, reminders can arrive through the Windows Live Alerts service via Windows Live Messenger, SMS on my mobile phone, or via e-mail. 

Here’s some more cool stuff. Notice that if you do a Bing search for say, “Events near Santa Cruz, CA,” you will now see a list of upcoming events near that location. Click an event and you will see the event details in MSN City Guides. And, if you choose to add the event to your calendar, you’ll be able to select Windows Live Calendar from the top of the list.

Finally, a great thing about our partnership with Zvents is that they power event search and listings at hundreds of sites around the Web. So, in addition to searching for events through MSN City Guides, you can also visit many other sites with event listings. Clicking events in those sites will bring up the familiar Save icon, too. Use it to add your events to Windows Live Calendar. And, when you’re ready to travel around the world, you can use Zvents to find events in hundreds of national and international cities.  

We hope to see you at concerts, plays, and festivals around the world!

Thanks for using our service,

The Windows Live Calendar team

Adding photos to Hotmail messages – a temporary change

Some of you may have noticed that lately, you can no longer add photos directly into the body of a Windows Live Hotmail message the way you used to do. The Windows Live team is constantly reviewing Hotmail to ensure quality service to our customers. During a recent review, we identified an incompatibility with Internet Explorer that caused a security flaw with photo uploads, and we made the decision to temporarily remove the feature. The Hotmail team takes security very seriously and we expect to bring back the photo upload feature by the end of September. In the meantime, you can still add pictures as attachments to your Hotmail messages, by clicking Attach, and then File, and then selecting the picture you want to include.

We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause you until this fix is complete.

The Windows Live team

Subscribe to calendars in Firefox

A recent Live Wire blog post talked about how to add a baseball schedule to your Windows Live Calendar. It included a step requiring you to copy and paste a link into your calendar.  If you’re a Firefox 3.x user, there’s a shortcut you can use to make this step easier.

1) Visit in Firefox 3.x and sign in.

2) Copy the following link into the your address bar and press Enter:

javascript:window.navigator.registerProtocolHandler(‘webcal’, ‘’,’Subscribe in Windows Live Calendar’);

3) Click Add Application

4) Now when you click on a webcal:// link (links to Calendar files), you’ll have the option to open the link in Windows Live Calendar:

5) Check the box “Remember my choice for webcal links”—that way, every time you click on a webcal link, it’ll automatically open in Windows Live Calendar. After you click OK, you’ll go directly to the calendar subscription page.

6) Now just name the calendar, choose a color, and click “Subscribe to calendar”. That’s all there is to it.

To change your webcal settings, go to Tools, select Options, and then Applications.


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