Windows Live Hotmail and the Firefox 3 Betas

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Posted on January 04, 2008 12:25 AM in Browsers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I went to check my Hotmail account tonight — something I very rarely do — and found that the full version of the Windows Live Hotmail interface refuses to load in Firefox 3 Beta 2. Only the "classic" version of the web-based email service seems to work.

Sure enough, I found that in both the Firefox 3 Beta 1 release notes and the Firefox 3 Beta 2 release notes, the following is listed in the Known Issues section:

Windows Live Mail will not work; users must use Hotmail Classic Mail

The release notes also refer to a Bugzilla bug unfortunately titled - Hotmail (Classic interface) cannot be accessed from non-Firefox Gecko browsers. The contents of the bug seem to indicate that it's a browser sniffing error on the part of Microsoft. The only apparent workaround at present is to spoof another browser, which can be accomplished pretty easily using an extension like User Agent Switcher. Unfortunately, the extension's Firefox Add-ons page seems to indicate that the extension is only supported on versions of Firefox up to 2.0.0.*.


Ian Clifton on January 04, 2008 at 5:38 PM:

Can't you just change the UA with about:config (filter for useragent)? I'm not at work anymore (where I have FF3 installed), so I can't test it at the moment, but that's all you have to do in FF2.


Bernie Zimmermann on January 05, 2008 at 12:48 AM:

Ian, you are right. According to this entry in the MozillaZine knowledge base, one can override the UA string by creating a new entry in about:config named general.useragent.override.

However, after about twenty minutes of experimentation with various UA strings (IE7's and Firefox 2's, for example), I've still been unable to get the full version of Hotmail to load. I tried clearing all cookies, too, since one of the comments mentioned that it's wise to do that to avoid any UA strings or indicators stored by Hotmail.

If anyone has any luck getting the full version to work using the general.useragent.override approach, please share your findings here. It's probably information that would be wise to share in the bug comments as well.


Ben Sawyer on March 20, 2008 at 9:58 AM:

You probably know this already but I thought it could use mentioning.. version 0.6.11 of User Agent Switcher went up a few days ago (March 17) and has support for Firefox 3.

But I'm having problems getting it to let me access Windows Live Mail like you talked about. I switch my User Agent to "Internet Explorer 7 (Windows Vista)" and WLM still doesn't work. The other two defaults force me to the Classic version without even trying to load Full. I have tried to create a User Agent option for Firefox 2, but it still won't work - I'm not sure if there's a new problem or if I'm simply not putting the correct information. Any advice?

I'm now on Firefox 3 Beta 4 with Windows XP.


Robbie on April 21, 2008 at 12:12 PM:

IE Tab works and is 3.0b5 compatible. Install it, then set http://** in the sites filter.


Suhail on May 19, 2008 at 3:19 PM:

Any luck for us Mac Users (We can't use IE Tab), I hate using the Classic Interface and having to open links one by one without AJAX.


PJ on May 25, 2008 at 2:06 PM:

Suhail, you can always buy a pc :D Has this been resolved for latest firefox release candidate?


tom on June 01, 2008 at 2:35 PM:

ahh classic version is good enough anyways


Matt on June 06, 2008 at 2:54 AM:

Cheers Robbie, works a treat in Firefox 3.0


Frank on June 18, 2008 at 8:22 PM:

Same problem in Firefox 3 Final


Warrick on June 19, 2008 at 12:29 PM:

Thanks Robbie - the IE Tabs fix works a treat. It also added some functionality which was missing in FF2:
The viewing panes were always a fixed size in FF2, now they can be resized using IE Tabs. Only small, but makes my life just a little easier :o)


aratina on June 19, 2008 at 12:39 PM:

From Ubuntu forums:

Open up about:config in Firefox 3.
Make a new string entry (right-click -> New -> String).
Name the entry "general.useragent.vendor".
Set the value of the new entry to "Firefox".
Restart the browser.


sween64 on June 20, 2008 at 10:03 PM:

Thanks Robbie. Using IE Tab and Windows Live Mail Full is working a treat on FF3.0


Dadaaaa on June 24, 2008 at 4:39 AM:

Cheers mi dears, works a treat


rookie on June 24, 2008 at 5:46 PM:

Can someone show a computer-illiterate guy who's used Hotmail since 1998 how to get to the "sites filter"?


Mikey101 on June 25, 2008 at 11:12 AM:

Many Thanks fella's, works a treat. I was just about to revert to IE7. Panic over!


charmander on June 27, 2008 at 6:19 PM:

To rookie,
You need to go to tools>add ons>get add ons>search for IE Tab>download>restart FF>tools>add ons>options in IE Tab>type what robbie wrote in the URL space>add>apply>ok. Works like it should!


finkbee on June 29, 2008 at 8:17 AM:

Cheers Robbie. Works like a dream.


rookie on July 01, 2008 at 8:33 AM:

Thanks, charmander!


caf21 on July 02, 2008 at 10:35 AM:

Huh, the IE Tabs fix doesn't work for me. I can use the Classic version of Live Mail (complete with all the ads, yikes!), but when I try to upgrade to the Full version, it just loads, and it never stops loading. Anyone know why, or know another workaround that I could try?


confused on July 05, 2008 at 8:31 AM:

OK, I'm a dork and have no clue what you guys are talking about. I just upgraded to firefox3 and can't get to the full version of my hotmail. Only the classic version.

Is it possible to go to the full version or am I stuck with the classic? If I can go full, how do you do it? If possible, please use nice, small words for me. :)



GB1019 on July 08, 2008 at 5:55 AM:

I just wanted to say thanks to charmander and Robbie for helping out us 'rookies'! For those wanting a single post to reference here is the recap from charmander and Robbie.

You need to go to tools>add ons>get add ons>search for IE Tab>download>restart FF>tools>add ons>options in IE Tab>set http://** in the sites filter>add>apply>ok


Nasturtium on July 09, 2008 at 7:41 AM:

Thanks for the tips. My Hotmail live works great now!


Amy on July 13, 2008 at 10:17 AM:

The IE tab is IE. If you use the IE tab it is like using IE, you lose all the security of Firefox


gerard on July 22, 2008 at 12:46 AM:

Thanks Charmander and Robbie. I followed your instructions and FF3 is working fine with Windows live hotmail full version.


Denito on July 22, 2008 at 8:32 PM:

THANKS! It works like a charm. Nice workaround. I hope Microsoft fixes it soon though...


George on July 24, 2008 at 2:35 PM:

I did what Robbie said and mine still doesn't work, it does revert to IE7 in the tab but it's still classic.

Do I need IE7 because I have IE6 since IE7 was giving me problems.


Dwayne on July 26, 2008 at 4:46 AM:

i tried what u guys told me too, but it still dont work ... its still showin me the classic version ..... any other ideas ?


Anonymous on July 29, 2008 at 7:21 PM:

Wow - it was FINALLY fixed today.


George on August 03, 2008 at 6:18 AM:



Skye on October 05, 2008 at 2:28 AM:

Yei! It worked on my laptop. Now have to fix the FF on my computer...



Kieran Wyse on November 10, 2008 at 8:43 AM:

This works for me

You need tell hotmail you are using Firefox 2 on windows XP and hay presto it works :). OK not perfectly but at least I can reply to emails. . I am running Ubuntu so it has nothing to to with the operating system.


taras on June 21, 2011 at 12:03 PM:

Thahks, it works


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