Microsoft has begun to roll out the new version of Windows Live Hotmail (previously known as MSN Hotmail) Wave 4 to all the free email service users worldwide, based on server cluster which the account is located. The Windows Live Hotmail includes many new features, such as new sweep menu to combat spam, 10 GB attachment limit with the use of Windows Live SkyDrive, ability to create and share photo albums, integration with Office Web Apps, and support for push email through Microsoft Exchange.

Among the new features of Hotmail Wave 4, inclusion of Exchange ActiveSync protocol allows Hotmail to support push e‐mail on the web, PC, and the mobile phone, where users can seamlessly synchronize email, calendar and contacts between the phone and the Web. Although Hotmail is not switching to be powered by Exchange Server, it’s adopting the Exchange ActiveSync protocol so that it can sync email, contacts, and calendar data, over the air, to mobile devices such as iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile and other smart phones.

Microsoft has mentioned that Exchange ActiveSync will be a separate roll out from the roll out of Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4. Officially, Exchange ActiveSync support on Hotmail not yet been released officially before end of 2010. However, it seems that the Exchange ActiveSync support has been enabled for some, but more and more Hotmail accounts, regardless of whether the accounts have been converted to Wave 4 or not.

For mobile phone users, such as iPhone iOS-based, Android-based, Windows Mobile-based, Blackberry-based smartphone and other cell phones which support Exchange account setup, the settings for syncing Hotmail account through Exchange Active Sync is as follow:

Email: username@live.com or username@hotmail.com or username@msn.com
Server Address: m.hotmail.com
SSL: Enabled
Username: username@live.com or username@hotmail.com or username@msn.com
Password: password
Domain: <blank>

How-To: Step-by-step illustrative guide to configure and set up push Hotmail via Exchange ActiveSync on iPhone, iTouch and iPad

Note that each mobile portable devices have different settings, preferences or configuration names, but the basic information required is about the same. For example, in iPhone, go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and create a new Micorsoft Exchange account. In Android based device, go to Settings -> Accounts & Sync, and add a new corporate account.

After setting up the Exchange Hotmail account, change the “Mail Days to Sync” or “Amount to synchronize” from 1 day to other value in order to receive more emails including old one in Inbox.

If you have encountered incorrect password, unable to connect to Exchange server, unable to open connection to server, or Exchange account verification failed error message, your Hotmail account probably hasn’t have Exchange Active Sync support turned on yet.

Tip: To access Hotmail from Outlook, use Outlook Hotmail Connector, while other third-party email client or email program which does not support Exchange can use POP (POP3) and SMTP access on Hotmail.

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