Hotmail Aliases Let You Create Disposable E-mail Addresses

Last Updated Feb 7, 2011 12:26 AM EST

You're savvy enough not to use your primary e-mail address to sign up for online offers, trial software, and shopping. Those e-mails are little more than spam magnets, so in the past, you might have created an elaborate set of disposable e-mail accounts to shield yourself from the potential junk mail. Hotmail has just made all that subterfuge obsolete.

Effective immediately, you can now create e-mail aliases which are completely different than your primary e-mail address. When you create this alias, you can specify where these mails should go, so you can automatically file them in a subfolder of your choice.

This is better than the previous Hotmail solution (and, I should point out, the current Gmail solution), which was to add a plus sign and extra characters to your primary e-mail address. If your address was myemail@hotmail.com, for example, you could create myemail+newsletter@hotmail.com for all your newsletters. But that address didn't fool anybody, least of all the bots. It's too easy to scrape away the extra bits to reveal your actual e-mail address.

So now, you don't have to tie your alias to your main e-mail at all, making it truly untraceable back to you. Microsoft will allow you to create 5 aliases per year, and a 15 aliases in total.

To create an alias, point at the Inbox heading and click the gear icon. Then choose Create a Hotmail alias. That's it.

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