Are you annoyed by having Messenger automatically sign in when you’re reading your emails in the new Hotmail?  Here’s how you can disable the Web Messenger in Hotmail and other Windows Live online apps.

Microsoft has recently updated Hotmail with tons of new features, and we recently looked at all the new features in a screenshot tour.  One of the newest features is the integration of Live Messenger, previously known as MSN Messenger, throughout all the Windows Live web apps, including the Office Web Apps and Hotmail.

This can be a great tool if you want to catch up with your friends or work on an Office document with a coworker from the browser, but it can also be frustrating if you’re just trying to quickly read your email.  It can also be annoying if you prefer using Windows Live Messenger on your desktop instead of in your browser.

The good news is, you can easily turn off the new web Messenger.  Simply hover over your name in the top right corner of Hotmail or any other Windows Live web app and select Sign out of Messenger.  That’s all there is to it; Hotmail will remember your settings, and will not automatically sign you into Messenger even if you use another browser or another computer to access Hotmail.  Of course, this means that you won’t be able to IM with friends in Hotmail, but it also means they won’t disturb you, either.

Options to Still Use Messenger

Alternately, you could select Appear offline so you could still start IMs with friends but they would not see that you were available.  This is a nice half-way point if you enjoy getting to use Messenger directly in your browser but don’t want to be bugged when you’re busy.

Also, of course, if you’ve signed out of Messenger, you can easily sign in again from the same menu.


Even if you use Live Messenger to keep up with your friends and collaborate with coworkers, sometimes you just want to check your email in peace without letting everyone know you’re online.  This trick will help you make Hotmail work more like it did before, without losing the great new features such as Conversation View.  It’s still easy to use web Messenger again if you want, so you can always turn it on and off again as you want.

Or, if you’d rather use your Hotmail email offline without using the web interface, check out our article on How to Add Hotmail to Outlook 2010 or our tour of the New Windows Live Essentials which includes the nice Live Mail app for free.

Sign into Hotmail

Matthew Guay
Matthew Guay is a veteran app reviewer and technology tip writer. His work has appeared on Zapier's blog, AppStorm, Envato Tuts+, and his own blog, Techinch.
Read Full Bio »