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September 16, 2017

Many of us know that by signing up for Outlook Email at, you get access to free personal email. (This email address can be or

Want help setting this up? Read this blog post for instructions and a couple of setup tips.

Many people don’t realize that you also get access to a stack of free web-based tools including an address book, a task list, multiple calendars, photo and file storage, and office tools that let you write word documents, edit spreadsheets, create presentations, and store notes – for no extra fees.

You can then use your or login to access:

Inside your email inbox, you can click on the App Switcher that looks like a waffle to also get access to your own:

  • Calendar(s)
  • Address Book (“People”)
  • Storage for Files and Photos (“OneDrive”)
  • Tasks
  • Office Tools (“Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Sway”)
  • Instant Messaging Text and Video Chat (“Skype”)

Sound too good to be true? Assume there surely must be a catch?

Well, yeah, there is. Free is awesome, but there is a big, intrusive, visually irritating catch.

The Catch: Inbox Advertisements

Microsoft sell advertising space to keep Outlook free for the user.

When you login to your Outlook email, you will see ads in the far right panel. See:

And the ad will change each time the page refreshes. I’ve seen ads for Microsoft, Jeep, SurveyMoney, Duracell, and more…

Now I’m NOT a fan of ads, especially when I’m trying to focus and compose an email.

So how do you get rid of the ads?

Well up until this point, I assumed there was only three options:

  1. Microsoft MVPs can ask for their free code.
  2. Home users (‘Consumer’) can purchase an Office 365 Home subscription for $100+/year.
  3. Business user can purchase an Office 365 Business subscription for $150+/year.

Now the downside of purchasing an Office 365 subscription is you have to setup a brand new email address. For example, mine is: 

What do you do if you want get rid of inbox ads and keep your Outlook email address?

There are two other options. Neither is free, but they are both less expensive than signing up for Office 365. (Although IMO there’s way more value for your dollar with an O365 subscription.)

So let’s check them out:

  1. Ad-Free 
  2. Premium 

You can read what Microsoft has to say about each of these on their website: “ Premium and Ad-free“.

The one thing that was not transparent was how much each of these cost. Ad-Free made me enter my VISA details just to see the price, so I went through that head ache for y’all so you can just read the Cliff Notes here:

What are the key differences?


  • Keep the exact same email address.
  • Ideal for one (1) person.
  • Comes with 10 GB of email account storage
  • Annual subscription: $30/year + tax. Premium:

  • Keep the exact same email address.
  • Annual subscription: $75/year + tax
  • Note (9/15/2017) – It looks like there is a discount on right now and it is only $30/year? No clue if this is a one-time deal, a month long promo, or what…

Here’s an example of what the bill would look like if you buy a one-year subscription: Premium WITH Custom Email Domain:

  • Create a new personalized email address with custom email domain.
  • Tip: You can also use your own domain if you already own one.
  • Tip: If you don’t have your own domain, you can wait or “skip” when you sign up for Premium and choose an email domain in the future.
  • Tip: You can
  • Ideal for a group (5) of people that all want to use the same email domain.
  • Annual subscription: $30/year + tax for first year only. Then $45/year + tax to renew domain. (*)

Here’s an example of what the bill would look like if you buy a one-year subscription:

Remember: After that first free year, you’ll be paying $45/year – $95/year. If you are going to be charged $95/year, you may want to ask yourself if

(*) The price of a domain varies by popularity. Many are not available, already taken or worse, purchased by greedy folks looking to resell them for a profit. You can check availability and get a quote on what it will cost at various custom domains at:

Tip: You can also use your own domain if you already own one. It may be cheaper to shop around and buy one from GoDaddy or other vendors.

I hope some of this information has been helpful to some of you!


(And yes, I can see you Google fans with your fingertips poised at the ready to comment and extol the virtues of  Gmail. I highly encourage you to do so! I love to learn and compare. However, if you’re going to comment with your “Microsoft adversary” goggles on, please try to tone down the righteousness and keep the profanities to a minimum. Let’s have a conversation, not an argument.) 

7 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    I’ve always believed Office 365 subscribers should get ad-free and suggested it to Microsoft a couple years ago. It wasn’t listed as a perk back then, so I just forgot about it until reading your article.

    Any idea why we can’t use the ad-free benefit with our existing email address? Frankly, having to create a new address or pay an additional $30/yr is more than a little annoying.

  2. Bill Dawson says:

    This is the last straw for me .After 10 years of using Hotmail, this new freaking worthless garbage is the end of the line for me.I have another email and I will use it from now on.Didn’t want to leave without saying FUCK YOU MICROSOFT!!!Shove your windows and all your Microsoft garbage up your ass.

    • I’m allowing your comment to be visible so the world can bear witness to the fact that you, a 66 year old man, is spending your free time posting hateful, profanity-laden, troll-level comments on the blogs of young women. You’re a class act.

      I can see that you are capable of being a decent human being from your posts on the leather working forums.

      Do not use me or my blog as a receptacle to dump your verbal diarrhea into without regard again.

  3. Bill Dawson says:

    I will drop my laptop in the trash before I give Microsoft one dime.Linux rules! Microsoft sucks!!!!!!!

  4. Peter A says:


    You could always use

    if your using Chrome.

    I’ve just installed it and works fine (I’m running on Ubuntu Budgie); and doesn’t come with profanities 🙂

    and thanks for the article Kelly 🙂


  5. Vivian says:

    Thanks for this article — straightforward and to the point. All the info I needed to know regarding the options available for getting rid of that annoying inbox ad. Saved me a lot of time to have all the info laid out here.

  6. Mutumbi O'fragglestein says:

    Hi Kelly

    Thanks for this. It looks like Microsoft moved the goalposts, at least for UK users.

    When I follow your link, what I get is an offer for Office 365, and it says buried at the bottom:

    ‘The Premium standalone offering is now closed to new subscribers’

    I don’t want office 365, I’d never use it and it would be a waste. I would pay a fee for my email though.

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Kelly Marshall

itgroove Alumni

Kelly Marshall

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