The Hotmail rollout continues to go along smoothly and we’re right on track with our release plan, having now upgraded nearly 50 million accounts on several different clusters. Of course, we continue to get comments from many of you who are eager to get access to the new Hotmail, and we’re just as eager to get the new version out to everyone.

I’d like to give a bit more detail about why it takes time to do the rollout. In the last post, I explained that we go slowly at first in order to give our engineers an opportunity to study the operational characteristics of the new software in all the different environments. That’s true of every release. But there is another reason why this particular release can only move so fast.

In order to turn on the new features in Hotmail – features like conversation threads, QuickViews, and Filters – we need to build new indexes in the storage system for your email. These new indexes allow Hotmail to instantly show you mail from your contacts, or show you messages that contain photos, or let you organize your email by conversation.

We are currently running software on the site to create the right indexes for all the mail in your Inbox. That software must read from and write to the many, many hard drives where Hotmail data is stored. And, of course, it can’t get in the way of you accessing your inbox or receiving new emails. At the end of the day, we’re constrained by the “laws of physics” for how fast we can read and write thousands and thousands of hard disk drives!

When the indexing process is complete, we’ll be turning on the new Hotmail for all our users. We’ll continue to keep you posted on the progress right here on Inside Windows Live.

Thanks again for your patience and support – we’re getting very close now, and it’s very exciting.

Mike Schackwitz


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