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Warning: Microsoft now charging Outlook and Hotmail users to keep old emails

Microsoft Outlook
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has sent out warning messages to free users of its Hotmail and Outlook services warning them that they are reaching a new storage limit. 

The new limit appears to be set at 15GB. And according to our colleagues over at TechRadar, such alerts have stoked the ire of long-term users of Microsoft’s email service. If users wish to boost that capacity to hold onto archived emails, then they’ll need to pay $69.99 or £59.99 a year. 

Hotmail was effectively phased out in 2013, when Microsoft started migrating people over from the Hotmail service to its new Outlook.com email client, though it let people keep their old Hotmail addresses. 

Now this limit of 15GB looks like another move to potentially shake legacy users to either purge their old emails or sign up to the Microsoft 365 suite, which will boost the capacity of an Outlook account and provide access to other Microsoft services. 

Forking out nearly $70 to ensure you don't lose access to what was initially a free Outlook account, which you may simply have used as a secondary email address like this writer, may seem a little steep. That being said, Microsoft's move has put the free Outlook email storage limit in line with the amount of free storage Google provides for one account across all its Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. 

However, it would appear Microsoft's change has taken a clutch of users by surprise with some taking to Twitter recently to voice their disapproval. 

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Of course, many users may have noticed no change if they've kept up with their emails and have avoided hoarding emails with large file attachments. But for those who might be getting caught out by the new limit, they'll now have to go through the grueling task of purging unwanted emails. That is, unless they pay for Microsoft's 365 Suite. 

All this stands as a stark warning that, as handy as some free online services are, there are limits and caveats. So you need to be vigilant for any changes or usage limits that could catch you out at an inconvenient time if you’re not paying attention. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.