May 5, 2010
Microsoft has upgraded a tool that allows users to link their Windows Live Hotmail accounts to Outlook.
Outlook Hotmail Connector 14 includes a number of enhancements over the previous version, 12.1, when used with Outlook 2010. Among them is a feature that lets users synchronize junk mail settings, including safe sender, blocked sender, and safe recipient settings, between Hotmail and Outlook. A new "Integrated Status" icon provides Hotmail account status on the Outlook status bar, and the Hotmail Drafts folder is now synchronized with the Outlook Drafts folder. Outlook Hotmail Connector 14 also provides rule support for secondary accounts, so that rules can be applied to Hotmail accounts from within secondary Outlook accounts. The upgrade also fixes a number of bugs and improves stability, according to Microsoft. "You might notice after upgrading that the connection to Hotmail is more reliable than before, and issues such as blank messages being synchronized to Outlook have been fixed," said Outlook program manager Alessio Roic, in a blog post outlining the changes. Outlook Hotmail 14 connector is compatible with the 2003, 2007, and 2010 versions of Outlook, but many of the new features are designed to work exclusively with Outlook 2010, which is in beta testing. Roic said Microsoft has turned off the auto-upgrade feature for Hotmail Connector due to glitches with the system, but added that users can still upgrade by downloading version 14 from the company's Web site. "We've seen reports of problems that some users of Outlook Connector 12.1 have encountered when prompted to auto-upgrade to the latest version of Outlook Hotmail Connector," said Roic. "As a result, we have temporarily turned off these auto-upgrade prompts," he said. "You can still manually install Outlook Hotmail Connector 14 by going to the download site, or you can continue using Outlook Connector 12.1—in both cases, Outlook successfully synchronizes with your Windows Live Hotmail inbox," Roic added.
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