Hotmail, Outlook Email Limits Force $70/yr Fee

John Lister's picture

Long-time Hotmail and Outlook users may face a choice between seeing old messages deleted or paying $70 a year. Microsoft is legitimately enforcing storage limits but critics say it didn't do enough to remind users they were approaching those limits.

The policy affects users of, with those most likely to be affected being Hotmail users that migrated over back in 2013 when Hotmail closed. As part of the move, users could keep their old Hotmail address, but were subject to a 15GB storage limit as with all other Outlook users. That includes both sent and received messages and file attachments.

It's not clear if it's just coincidence that a lot of people have hit the limit at around the same time seven years later, or if Microsoft has launched a crackdown to enforce the limit. It appears the latter as some of the affected users are significantly over the limit and clearly passed it some time ago.

Subscription Option Increases Limit

Either way, users are starting to get warning messages that say they are over the limit and won't be able to send or receive new messages until they delete some older ones and clear space.

The only other option is to switch to Microsoft 365, a $70 a year subscription service that has a 100GB on Outlook emails. That price does include the subscription versions of Office tools, though that's not much comfort to people who don't use Office or prefer to buy the standalone versions.

It's important to note Microsoft hasn't broken any promises or changed its rules here. Instead, most of the more level-headed criticisms from affected users are about the fact that they haven't had any reminders of the limit since moving to Outlook or any warning that they were close to approaching it. (Source:

Google Limit No Bigger

Some have also questioned why Microsoft is only enforcing the limit now when they may have been over the limit for several years. (Source:

Users can import their emails into another provider's service, though that may not be much help. For example, Google's free Gmail service has the same 15GB limit, though that also includes any files stored in Google Drive or images uploaded to Google Photos.

Store Emails Offline to Free up Space

Yet another option is to download emails off of Outlook (or Gmail, Yahoo, etc) and store them in an archive. A third-party email program could then be used to view the email offline. This would definitely free up available space on the email provider, however it can be quite time consuming to process depending on the number of emails needed to be downloaded. If anyone is interested in having this done, contact Dennis Faas here at Infopackets and he can connect to your computer and do it for you using his remote desktop support service.

What's Your Opinion?

Has Microsoft acted reasonably here? Should it have given more warning? How long do you want or need to keep emails for?

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jamies's picture

'Archive' the older emails to a separate account !
Consider how often do you need to look at emails that are 10 years old.
So split the email into appropriate groupings - by date (year?) or usage - as in communication type and likelihood of needing the email category as part of the immediate use or reference data
Then gmail (perhaps) and link the new account to the old one, sync the less likely to be needed folders
then delete those from the mainly used account.

russoule's picture

the interesting thing about gmail and a number of other email providers is that there is no limit to how many ACCOUNTS one can have. one can have a "throw-away" account that is used to supply email address for site testing. that same one can have an email designed to answer business questions. and another to handle investments. and another for just "friends and family". and yet more for each of the social sites one belongs to. in fact, there is no limit beyond your own imagination as what the email name is and what it is used for.