Is Your Ex-Hotmail Inbox Over 15GB? Delete Your Emails or Pay Up, Says Microsoft

Due to an oversight on Microsoft’s part, users who had a Hotmail account transferred over to Outlook could use more email storage space than others. Now, the software giant is giving a choice to those who are over the limit: delete your big emails, or pay up.

Microsoft Outlook’s Unenforced Rule

News of this occurrence broke over on the Daily Express. Back in 2013 when Microsoft migrated Hotmail users over to Outlook, the transition came with a 15GB space limit. The problem is, the software giant never enforced this limit, meaning users could use more than 15GB without repercussion.

Now, Microsoft has caught on to this problem and is locking ex-Hotmail users to the original 15GB limit. This means that everyone who has allowed their email to overflow past this limit cannot send or receive emails.

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Microsoft has sent an email to people with stuffed inboxes to notify them of this predicament. In the email, the software giant recommends that people start trimming down their inbox to get it back into shape.

However, Microsoft is keen to let users know of a second way to free up space—one that will allow people to preserve their emails. If someone were to upgrade their Outlook account to a paid Microsoft 365 one, they would get more inbox space and free up their emails one more.

As you might expect, the sudden move has angered loyal Outlook users, who now have to choose between doing a deep clean on their email accounts or paying up.

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Microsoft’s Forgetfulness: A Genuine Mistake, or a Sudden Squeeze?

This sudden enforcement of the rules may be a genuine mistake from Microsoft. The company may have spotted free Outlook users eating up more data than the company expected and is now enforcing the rules to keep user storage in check.

However, it’s also possible that Microsoft was turning a blind eye to those who went over the limit. Then, when the email inboxes are stuffed to the brim, Microsoft attaches the thumbscrews to get people to subscribe to Microsoft 365.

The latter scenario may be possible if Microsoft is getting short on cash, potentially because of the pandemic. However, the opposite scenario is true; Microsoft has been making vast profits thanks to COVID-19 forcing people to work from home.

The company’s main avenue of profits at the time of writing is in its Azure and Xbox services. As such, it’s likely that this sudden enforcement of Outlook’s storage space rules is more a misguided attempt to resolve a prior error than it is a struggling company trying to squeeze an extra buck from its users.

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You’ve Got (Too Much) Mail

If you’re an ex-Hotmail user, it’s worth double-checking if you’ve breached 15GB of storage space. If you have, you won’t be able to receive or send emails until you either erase some big files or upgrade to Office 365.

If you’ve decided to take the nuclear option, there are plenty of ways to manage your inbox. By being smart about your email usage, you can both cut down the chaff and prevent it from building back up in the future.

Image Credit: Tero Vesalainen /

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