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How to stop all ads in Hotmail™

Hotmail can be considered to be the first public e-mail services provider and has served the people amazingly since then. It has many times upgraded the interface to give a better working environment to its users and make it more and more user friendly. Till date Hotmail has been the most widely used and most trusted e-mail service. Recently they did a collaboration with Microsoft Live and now one single Hotmail user ID and password can be used to login to all the services of Microsoft Live and much more. It has become a real need for the users who use various services of Microsoft Live. Since the user base of Hotmail has increased many times and so is the interest of companies to use its web pages as advertising space. Sometimes it become annoying to see so many ads on the Hotmail web pages, and they often result in slow working of the pages on slow connections. In this post I will give you some steps to stop such ads to be displayed and load the web page faster.

Before we go into the steps let us understand how advertisements work. Advertisements are small piece of code written on the website so that it can fetch the advertisement from its server when the actual page loads. So we can conclude that advertisements are from some other server and not on the actual websites server.

Thus if we know the address of these advertisement servers then we can surely block the same and not let ads to slow down the loading of any website. Now please go through the steps given below:

Step 1: Click on ‘Start’ button and then on ‘Run’. If ‘Run’ is not a listed option then please press the Windows key along with ‘R’ on the keyboard.

Step 2: When you get the ‘Run’ box please type ‘C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc\’ without quotes and press ‘Enter’. This is the path to open the Etc folder and alternatively you can even browse to the same one folder at a time using Windows Explorer.

Step 3: In Etc folder you will see several files and one of them would be ‘Hosts’. This file has no extension to it and so there would be no icon associated with it. We need to open this file in Notepad, so right click on this file and select ‘Open With’. Further select Notepad to open the ‘Hosts’ file in Notepad.

Step 4: Go to the end of the file and add the following lines:

127.0.0.1 rad.msn.com

127.0.0.1 live.rads.msn.com

127.0.0.1 ads1.msn.com

127.0.0.1 static.2mdn.net

127.0.0.1 g.msn.com

127.0.0.1 a.ads2.msads.net

127.0.0.1 b.ads2.msads.net

127.0.0.1 ad.doubleclick.net

127.0.0.1 ac3.msn.com

127.0.0.1 ec.atdmt.com

Step 5: Save the file and close the other windows.

Step 6: Now open Hotmail.com and now you will see that there will be no ads on it.

For understanding the concept let me state that Hosts file is the file which acts as the first DNS for any browser and if any sites name is present in this file then the IP address given along with it is taken as its IP address. So in this workaround we gave our own Local Address for these locations which will never yield any advertisements. You can do the same to block any website on your computer.

Hotmail™ launches multiple aliases for e-mail accounts

Microsoft is aware about the fact that people are using multiple e-mail accounts and it desires to make the process easier. On 3rd February, Hotmail has launched a new type of feature, which allows people to create multiple e-mail accounts, which can be replied to, and managed from one’s everyday inbox for e-mail. These additional types of e-mail addresses may be had in the manner like signing up accounts for new one, however, they need no additional upkeep or log-ins.

The idea behind this is to offer users a safe avenue to extend the offer to third parties for an e-mail address, without discarding the address which they have extended to friends and family that, if compromised, may end the utility of that special account. Nowadays, many of us have e-mail accounts of multiple types for various types of reasons. Dharmesh Mehta, director of product management for Windows Live, said that he does not want to disclose his real address at any website. This decreases spam and the e-mail addresses cannot be passed on to marketers.

Mehta also briefed that the other difficulty is balancing of a single type of e-mail address. The Microsoft Hotmail solution team appeared for making utilization of some of the prevailing technologies such as message filtering, account signing-up, and integration of multiple e-mail addresses to offer users these types of aliases into the same type of account. One user may create aliases limiting up to number of five, and any of them may be replaced and deleted at any time with another. With the passage of time, Microsoft will enhance this limit up to fifteen aliases for each account, enabling it such that the users will not require juggling between several Hotmail accounts.

Creating an alias in the Hotmail is like signing up in respect of new account. Users may choose any sort of name that is open and free. Aliases connect a prevailing e-mail address of multiple type offered in connection with both Google’s Gmail and Hotmail. This allows messages for getting filtered inside the folders.

Troubleshooting problems with Windows Live ID

Through Windows Live ID you can access your Xbox game account, mails, messages, photos, media, documents, and much more using one single Windows Live account and its password. But what if you have more than one Windows Live account? You might want to use all the accounts for mailing purposes but how to decide which account you should be using for communicating and connecting with other resources which can be accessed by Windows Live, and on what basis?

A Windows Live ID is an Email ID which can be used to sign in to Xbox Live, Hotmail, Zune, MSN, Messenger, SkyDrive, & Find My Phone. This one single ID can give you access to all these resources, if you were using multiple IDs to access these different portals then you can stop doing it that ways and just use one single ID for all. Your selection of configuring the best ID amongst the few available on your Windows Phone would depend upon your work practice. If you use the ID which you use for accessing your Xbox Live account then all your GamerTag information will get configured on your Phone along with your GamerTag Avatar and the Scores. You can use this ID to play your Xbox Live games on your phone. So if you give priority to gaming then you can configure this ID on your Windows Phone.

Other consideration should be for Hotmail. If you have hundreds of contacts in any of your email ID and you use your phone primarily for Emailing and Messaging purpose then it would be good if you configure this Email ID on your Windows Phone. With this you can also go ahead and share your photos on the web using it via Windows Live Photo Gallery and can also stay in touch with friends of your contact list using the Live Messenger.

Last but not the least the consideration should be given to the Zune. It’s being given last place because the MP3s which you have in your Zune Player under some other account will still work even if you use any other ID, but yes if you have lots of Zune friends then off course you can go with the configuration of this ID on your phone so that you can stay in touch with them.

In terms of best practice, Preference should be given to the Email usage of Windows Live ID because all the other things like Zune and Xbox can be reset with your Email ID but sending a new Email address to all your contacts would not be a good idea.

Facebook Revamps Messaging system

Facebook has gone a step forward to challenge the supremacy of Google by introducing a new messaging system that integrates email, IM and text messaging. The new mailing system enables Facebook to take a new edge over the Internet, as part of its expansion plans to increase its presence on the Internet.

Some of the features of the new messaging system can be seen as follows:

  • Seamless messaging: You can now send a message through Facebook through any platform, e.g. text messages, emails, tweets which will allows you to be platform independent irrespective of a PC or mobile.
  • Integration of conversation history: Viewing conversation  history in one place enables easier methods through which you can  navigate through previous messages.
  • Mailbox Features: Facebook has included a separate inbox for friends, email contacts  and spam. This enables you to have conversations with your friends aligned seperately.

Facebook is expected to rake a competition against the market share of Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail. However it is too early to estimate if the Internet takes the bait.

Twitter, Hotmail vulnerable in hot pursuit over Microsoft IE CSS XSS flaw

Internet explorer is one of the most popular web browsers today. Internet explorer is very user friendly and easy to use. It has a nice user interface and after so many revised versions, it is only becoming so popular among masses. In spite of the big competition from chrome and Firefox, still most of the users want to use Microsoft’s internet explorer.

The latest version of Internet explorer is IE8, which is currently being used as a browser.  Although this version is very good to browse web pages, it has some security concerns. The latest one comes in the late last week. This security flaws allow web attacker to steal private information from mail and networking sites like Twitter. This is very serious concern because an attacker can delete your e-mails or send tweets. These attacks have become a problem for Microsoft Corporation and they are now investigating it. These attackers use CSS to attack the security; CSS is used to control the fonts, colors and the HTML layout. These attackers used CSS because it is the media to interpret the web browser. CSS has very liberal properties which makes it vulnerable. May be, in the future we get a improved version of CSS. There is one of the property called fault-tolerant, it also leads to the security flaw in the internet explore.

The infected or malicious pages tell the browser about embedding of the pages and try to treat these pages as if it was in CSS. As we know that HTML is too different from HTML to be parsed from CSS. But in some case if the embedded pages are written in right manner then it will look like them. There are some solutions to these problems like you can provide double quotes to the string and end of the string is also required. But in most of the cases it does not eliminate the problem; it does not mean that we can not prevent these security flaws.

Internet explorer is an exception in this case. You can provide line breaks, and it will embed the string. When you provide line breaks then CSS will parse everything as a part of the string. When you tweet in tweeter, it is interpreted as CSS and it embed the font family, rather than it specifies the double quotes. Internet explorer treats tweets as font name. When you sign in or tweet in tweeter then it needs an authentication token, this is used to prevent other sites to get the information from twitter. This authenticity token is the standard and best methods to prevent CSS XSS attacks in internet explorer.

Microsoft is investigating these flaws related to CSS XSS but there is no perfect solution available on the Microsoft website. Even we are getting same security flaw in internet explorer 9 Beta editions. All the previous versions have also same security problems and it is not first time when a Google employee detects this type of problem in Microsoft’s product.

Microsoft Says All Hotmail Users could get Update in a week

In an announcement Tuesday, software giant Microsoft Corporation said about 100 million users of Windows Live e-mails services had received their update of Hotmail, the “wave 4.” In the same breath, the company said that it expects all its customers will have gotten their Hotmail wave 4 update in one week’s time at the latest. In an announcement in his blog, the company’s Mike Schackwitz said the company was hopeful of targeting all its users by the end of one week and hopes they will be able to enjoy the new update as fast as possible.

New Features

I went through the blog post and loved some of the espoused features of the new hotmail update the company had launched. Microsoft reiterated that it had been lately trying to avail the update to as many of its users as it can, saying that it had been upgrading server clusters, building new indexes for conversation threading and creating tweaks for its site metrics and deployment software, said Schackwitz in the blog. Even so, Schackwitz noted that getting the software up and running in the system upgrades was a bit complex but the result is an amazing product that according to him is the “smoothest in Hotmail history.”  I am one of those Hotmail users that have been yearning for the day the new release would finally reach me and I must admit when it did finally, the features are nothing but amazing.

How Soon is Soon

Ever since Microsoft announced the upgrade to Hotmail some time back, all eyes have been keen to see what the hype is all about and there is no lying, it meets the hype. I know the only thing you want to here right from Microsoft is how soon is soon but do not fret, Schackwitz says the company has expedited the release of the update and if figures anything to go by, it may just reach you sooner than you think. Already as it is, more than 100 million people are using the updated, new Hotmail and the number is expected to rise as the company upgrades all of its users in the one week it has promised.

Microsoft Says Upgrade To be done soon

What is even better, according to what Schackwitz had to say in the blog is that after the company has completed the new Hotmail upgrade, it will begin readying itself for the launch of Exchange ActiveSync for Hotmail, a feature that will basically let you sync your email, calendar and contacts with your mobile phone. Plus you will not be waiting for long, the release is expected to take place in the summer and all there is to do is adopt a wait and see attitude like I have.

I know most of you are over zealous for the new Hotmail update but like Schackwitz says, you do not need to worry about it, Microsoft is keen on ensuring you have it by latest end of this week, it could even be tomorrow. Keep your eyes open!

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