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How to Remove Ads from Outlook.com

September 16, 2017

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

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 @outlook.com or @hotmail.com 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: kelly@oh365eh.onmicrosoft.com 

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 Outlook.com 
  2. Outlook.com Premium 

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

The one thing that was not transparent was how much each of these cost. Ad-Free Outlook.com 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?

Ad-Free Outlook.com:

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

Outlook.com 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:

Outlook.com 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: https://premium.outlook.com.

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.) 

17 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    I’ve always believed Office 365 subscribers should get ad-free outlook.com 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.

    • George says:

      I have an Outlook.com Premium subscription which I took out in October’ish 2017.

      What a hassle it was taking it out in the first place!

      I could get all the way to the end, enter my payment details, then get a completely stupid numerical error message that meant nothing. Every route I tried through Microsoft phone support came up with totally stupid (and WRONG) answers blaming everything from me to the moon being made of the wrong sort of cheese!

      After I fired off a particularly scathing email directly to Satya Nadella I FINALLY got some action (after about 3 weeks).
      I received a call from someone within Microsoft Eire. He took me through the process and was FINALLY able to tell me what the error was – payment declined. PAYMENT DECLINED???? Apparently Microsoft do not accept one of the safest ways of paying for stuff on-line on websites that do not accept PayPal – prepaid credit cards.

      So why the hell didn’t their payment system say so with a sensible error message instead of some cryptic garbage nobody within Microsoft (except this one guy) knew the meaning of?

      So having finally obtained my Outlook.com Premium subscription (for £14.95 a year), what did I find – ALL it gets you is the removal of the adverts, NOTHING else. The sent emails limits of < 300 per day (there is no precise figure) is still there.
      Now my one and ONLY reason for having this outlook.com account was to allow my remote CCTV security system to send alarm notifications (via SMTP) to TWO email addresses. Because it is outdoor, poor weather can cause it to send a large volume of spurious emails (usually at night), at which point Microsoft impose a temporary block (supposedly to limit spam) on sending emails.

      I can understand their reasoning, except I'm PAYING for this. But, it gets worse!

      At first I could live with it (grudgingly) by checking the forecast and turning off the alarm notification emails during bad weather – far from ideal but workable.

      If they did end up putting a temporary block the mailbox would receive an email from Outlook.com Team notifying me of the temporary block. I would know the block had been lifted (usually after UP TO 24 hours with no attempts to send emails) because I couldn't send emails from the account.

      Then they changed that so you COULD send email from the Outlook.com web portal, making it harder to determine when the block had been lifted. Even my CCTV systems test emails would go through ok during a block, but NOT the alarm notifications.

      Then Microsoft really screwed things up. Now they don't even send you an email telling you that you've hit the daily message limit (on an account I'm PAYING FOR!). They just impose the block and let you try and work out for your self what the hell is going on.

      Support is only via email and SLOW – painfully slow (and poor).

      So for my £14.95 a year what have I got? Nothing more than I could achieve for FREE using AdBlock Plus.

      Complete and utter waste of money.

  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.

      • Really??? He is right. Hotmail is complete worthless trash!!! I miss all my emails now with these stupid folders. It all used to go to one place now I have to click around to be sure I didn’t miss anything. Also, shit just disappears. The ads?? WTF. Microsoft and the evil eugenicist Bill gates and his dizzy wife can rot in hell for all I care.

  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:

    Bill,

    You could always use https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/webmail-ad-blocker/cbhfdchmklhpcngcgjmpdbjakdggkkjp?hl=en

    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 🙂

    Peter

    • bklynwriter says:

      thank you very very much for the ad blocker!!

    • Win says:

      Thanks for that link. Now why couldn’t Microsoft just do that?

      • George says:

        Because they want you credit card details and your money. That is the top and bottom of it.

        Also, the new “beta” Outlook.com web portal is garbage. It looks nice, but new email notifications don’t work. Part of a ongoing and very worrying trend with Microsoft – pushing out ever more “features” and “tweaks” on increasingly bug ridden software.

        I’m binning my Windows phone after 3 years because Windows 10 on it is SO SO buggy.

  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 Outlook.com 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.

  7. M.W says:

    Thank you Kelley! This was more thorough.

    I happened to come across an company network where although I didn’t have to purchase one of those plans but still didn’t have ads pop-up at all. (not even the kind of comments saying “we’ve noticed you are using ad-blocked, please consider using ads-free outlook if you don’t want to see this ad” kind of things, just plain no ads.

    I was gonna ask the IT guy when I had the chance, but he wouldn’t comment on how they did.

  8. Sara says:

    Why would anyone pay for ad-free Outlook for their personal email when there’s perfectly good (and better) alternatives like Gmail?

  9. Dear Ms Marshall,

    Agreed about the primitive troll-like replies. People who rail against Microsoft forget the mass of useful stuff it gives, while focussing only on its undoubted shortcomings. Their obscene language diminishes their contribution to less than zero.

    However, my question is this: I have noted a url which takes me to ‘ad-blocker’ download. There, I am greeted by a confusing plethora of – well – adverts, and cannot for the life of me find a buton which says ‘download’this ad-blocker tool.

    In common with many Internet sites, e.g. banks,(UK) tax offices, these sites seem to presume that the visitor will know so much about CT that such a ‘button’s’ existence will be obvious. Or maybe there is no button, and they are just being coy for some reason.

  10. Mike (UK) says:

    Excellent advice here – thanks very much. Shame about the sad bad language from some – but that just destroys any residual credibility they may have had. I use outlook.com successfully using Firefox with ABP installed as an ad-blocker on my Ubuntu system. No annoying ads from outlook.com – just a static box noting “it looks like you are using an ad-blocker. To maximise the space in your inbox sign-up for Ad-free Outlook”

    Well, I can live with that when on the move – most of the time I’ll use an IMAP client to access outlook.com anyway. So certainly not worth getting worked up unto a lather over…

    regards

  11. patrick beeney says:

    fucking useless

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Kelly Marshall

itgroove Alumni

Kelly Marshall

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