Hotmail…DAV no more

This is a public service announcement concerning Hotmail (aka Windows Live Mail) access from Microsoft Outlook. If you recall your Hotmail account working just fine from within Outlook not too long ago, but you’re running into the following error (e.g. after hitting F9), this post may be helpful:

Task '******** Folder:Inbox Synchronizing headers.' reported error (0x800CCC33): 'Access to the account was denied. Verify that your username and password are correct. The server responded 'Forbidden'.'

If you’re like me, you almost immediately launched your browser, navigated to Hotmail and entered your Live ID. Web access. No problemo. Outlook. Nada. Hmmm…

Then you may have copied the unique essence from the above error message as input to your favorite search engine. I did, and it produced the key to resolution.

Bottom line: As of 9/1/2009 Hotmail no longer supports DAV (aka WebDAV) based access–what Outlook categorizes as HTTP for Hotmail.

So, if you launch, for example, Outlook 2007 and choose Tools | Account Settings…, if you see HTTP for Hotmail as follows then you need to change your Hotmail account settings (click the image to enlarge it):

Hotmail account set for DAV-based access

So, the key is to discontinue attempted access via DAV. To open the door with that key, you have to remove your obsolete Hotmail account in order to create a new, viable (i.e. POP3-based) Hotmail account.

I’m a visual guy; so, while this article was helpful, it took me more than one pass at the new account settings to get everything working properly. Just in case, you’re visual, too, here is what it took as a collage (click the image to enlarge it):

Hotmail account set for POP3-based access

A few additional notes in closing:

  • Be aware that Outlook will recognize … and set the wrong account type (i.e. to HTTP, not POP3). You must change that automatic action manually.
  • It appears that installing Microsoft Office Outlook Connector is another way to avoid DAV issues. On a shared PC, one user account had this software installed prior to 9/1/2009 and another did not. The account with Connector experienced uninterrupted Hotmail access, while the other suffered the aforementioned access break. To be clear, Microsoft Office Outlook Connector provides more than just a software layer above the account settings screen, and Microsoft recommends its adoption by Outlook 2003/2007 users.
  • More interesting to me is Microsoft’s brief statement about why DAV access is no longer supported: “…the DAV protocol is not optimally suited for programs to access large inboxes…

Update 9/9/2009: To repeat, the recommended path forward per Microsoft is the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector. Taking the POP3-based approach above on deals with Inbox email. Connector allows syncing of all folders, calendar and contacts, making Web login or Outlook login result in the same experience content-wise. In the end, when you look at the dialog presented via Tools | Account Settings…, you want to see a Type value of MAPI associated with your Windows Live Mail account (i.e. not POP/SMTP or HTTP).

Kudos to my brother-in-law, a PM on Windows Live Mail, for his emphasis toward Connector.