how to use MSN IM without a hotmail account

Hotmail sucks doesn’t it. It’s slow, only works properly in Internet Explorer (and what geek still want to use that), and it’s just plain uncool. Problem is, since Microsoft likes to throw everything from hotmail, Windows live to MSN instant messenger accounts together I always thought you needed a hotmail account to use anything related to their network.

Turns out that isn’t true. I knew this for quite a while already, but never bothered switching because it looked like more trouble than it was worth. I still get the occasional email on my hotmail mailbox though from people that dish up my MSN email info, which I then usually don’t check for days. Secondly I have to login every 120 days so the account doesn’t expire on me, which is also quite pointless since I don’t use it for anything else. Also if you have a lot of contacts, it’s sort of annoying having to switch them over to a new account.

But recently I got fed up with it, and decided to make the switch. Here is how it works:

  1. Create a brand new .NET passport account from Microsoft, by clicking the “Use any email..” so you don’t need a hotmail account.
  2. Fill in the form with you new email the other usual bla bla bla, and submit.
  3. Confirm the privacy policy legal mumbo jumbo.
  4. You get a standard message telling you a confirmation email will be sent to the new email address, so you’ll have to confirm that.
  5. Eventually you get a page telling you it’s all done, which also contains a tiny link at the end which allows you to update your advertisement policies. If you want to avoid Microsoft spam, you might want to check that out.
  6. Add your new account in Pidgin, Trillian, whatever you’re using, and log on.
  7. Test to see if it works. Try changing your nickname to see if it sticks. If you are getting “passport not verified” errors, or something like it, try logging in using the web messenger once, then log in again with your favourite messenger app. It did the trick for me.
  8. Transfer your accounts. Now this is probably the most annoying part of it all. But Pidgin, which rocks btw, has a plugin for that called the Listhandler. It’s in the Pidgin PluginPack which you need to install yourself, but it also contains a bunch of other useful and sometimes just nifty plugins for more Pidgin multi-IM fun. Man, how geeky does that sound.

Do think about a smart email address to choose for that new account though. I’m not talking something witty or funny, although that’s always a fun thing to do, but to make sure that the address can stand the test of time, and can perhaps be filtered out if it would fall in the hands of evil spammers and their evil spam robot scripts.
If you have your own domain, or a gmail account, that is a piece of cake of course.
All that remains is wait for 120 days before that hotmail account expires, and you’re one less crappy webmail account richer. Sweet!

Photo by Canadian Veggie, cc-licensed

Leave a Reply