How To Sort Email In Windows Live Hotmail


livehotmaillogo.pngWith the recent rollout of Windows Live Hotmail comes an all new interface and new ways of managing your email. If you have not made the switch to Windows Live Hotmail, all you need to do is login to your Hotmail account and look for the link on the bottom of your Hotmail account that says, Want to race through your inbox even faster? Try the full version of Windows Live Hotmail. (It's free, too.). Click it and you will switch instantly to the new interface.


Now that you have switched, click on your Inbox, which is probably loaded with messages. You can easily sort mail in a variety of different ways. To sort look for Sort by Date with the down arrow, located below the toolbar under Reply and Forward:


Now click on the down arrow and you will see the sort options that you can sort by:


Sort options are: Date, From, Subject, Size. Selecting sort options by Showing only messages: With subjects… display a search box that will search for keywords in the subject field, From sender… also displays a search box that will search by sender name or allows you to select a name from your contact list (from a drop down list), and With attachments… (when sorting by attachments abd sender, search results are displayed in the Search Results folder).

Also notice the white square directly to the left of Sort by Date. Clicking on the square will check all messages and in the preview pane below, you will have options to mark all selected messages as Mark as safe and Mark as unsafe.

People who send junk e-mail often use a variety of similar-looking e-mail addresses. If you receive junk e-mail from an e-mail address similar to one you've already blocked, click Mark as unsafe on each message you want to block. Message you trust should be Mark as Safe.

Comments on How To Sort Email In Windows Live Hotmail Leave a Comment

July 5, 2007

Gopinath @ 2:33 am #

Thanks for the information

August 22, 2007

Abdul @ 6:46 am #

I have clicked an email as unsafe by mistake and I want to retrieve it, cause I cant see it in my inbox, Junks or even on deleted email. could anyone help me how to recover this email, its very important

September 12, 2007

Chris @ 10:03 pm #

Can someone please help. I have looked all over and i CANNOT sort my live hotmail because I do NOT have that menu. I have the SHOW MESSAGES instead. It's been like this forever from whatever computer I'm on.

I had a friend log on today and show me the Sort By menu which exactly where my Show Messages drop down menu is….

Where do I change this????

Thanks to anyone who can help.


September 13, 2007
September 21, 2007

Shaunny @ 4:30 am #

I have a query that has been bugging me for a while with Hotmail Live. Now I sometimes neglect my inbox for long periods, and I also have subscriptions to quite a few sites, so I tend to have loads of unread subscription newsletters that I don't bother read mixed in with important messages that I do read.

Previously, I think there was a way to sort my inbox by unread messages, but for the sakes of me, I can't find out how to do this in Live. I have currently new 1489 messages and growing. The best idea wins a prize! Okay, maybe not a prize, but at least my gratitude.


October 3, 2007

Gaurav @ 6:55 pm #


I have the same problem as well. The sort option has disappeared and all I have is show messages.

I have tried it on several computers, no joy. When I click refresh I can see the sort option appear and disappear. It is a probelm with Hotmail, must be a coding issue.


October 15, 2007

S Bray @ 7:58 pm #

Maybe you cannot sort your email because you have too many messages.
I enquired about this when I had problems with the old HotMail. Here is
the reply and a rather absurd justification from HotMail support:

Thank you for writing to MSN Hotmail technical support!
This message will tell you why the sort mail feature is not working.
If you have a different problem, reply to this message.

When a Hotmail account contains a certain number of messages, the sort feature is disabled. This is to help the overall performance of your account and other Hotmail accounts.

If your account contains more than 5,000 messages, the sort feature is disabled. Sometimes the sort feature is disabled when there are fewer than 5,000 messages, and this can be caused by the size of the messages and number of folders in the account.

To restore the sort feature delete messages from your account until you have fewer than 5,000 messages.

October 16, 2007

Shaunny @ 7:52 am #

I am now at 1809 unread messages in a space of a month. I should really unsubscribe from the likes of facebook notifications to totaljob requests, but maybe I like to keep them… I dunno, I haven't decided not to read some of them.

Microsofts justification makes no sense in my opinion. Wouldn't it be more beneficial if I could organise the mail that I don't read into one folder, and then be able to delete them? If every user had that option, they may not need to provide such an enormous amount of email storage, hence using resources to improve their email servers.

Maybe I need to use the premium service to get those benefits, but then again, why should I when other email clients allow me the benefit?

October 21, 2007

victoria @ 8:25 pm #

i never joined hotmail live but when i loged in i was useing msn live. i am here to complain about this i liked my old hotmail better. i would like to know how to get my old one back!!!!!!!

October 23, 2007

S Bray @ 8:20 am #

If your account contains more than 5,000 messages, the sort feature is disabled.
Why ? Ask Microsoft.

October 29, 2007

nate @ 2:35 pm #

I was wondering where you can find the trash can, I have clicked an email as unsafe by mistake and I want to retrieve it, cause I cant see it in my inbox, Junks or even on deleted email. I now some said look in the trash can.

November 22, 2007

Neil @ 4:51 pm #

Hotmail classic would remember my prefered settings and use them as my defaults. For example I like to sort my emails by date, but with the oldest messages on top and the newest on the bottom. Now everytime I use hotmail live I have to reverse the order, very annoying.

Also I prefer to use plain text, but now it defaults to rich text. (with spell check, fonts, ect. How do I go back to having plain text as my default?

December 3, 2007

remy @ 2:24 pm #

i have marked an email as unsafe by mistake, now i cant find it anywhere: junk, deleted, or inbox…what can i do?

December 20, 2007

RL @ 9:20 am #

I too have by mistake, marked an email message as "unsafe". It is completely gone and not in the trash can as some said it should be. Please help, where did it go?

pete @ 4:26 pm #

i have marked an email as unsafe by mistake, now i cant find it anywhere: junk, deleted, or inbox…what can i do?

January 19, 2008

Lisa M @ 1:17 pm #

Yes I too have accidentally marked an important message as unsafe that was in my junk folder and it was deleted. I looked in the trash can and it's not there. This was important because it had to do with my business I work at home for and I needed to know what was in that email. How do I get it back?

January 23, 2008

well @ 4:01 pm #

windows live hotmail has blocked some attachment in this mail because they appear unsafe. I know is safe i wonder how to take this out in order download the attachment?

January 26, 2008

Gaurav Malik @ 4:15 am #

If you have more that 5000 messages sorting is disabled. Same thing happened to me, I contacted Hotmail support and that is what they told me.

January 27, 2008

S Bray @ 5:33 pm #

Did Hotmail support explain why Hotmail disables sorting if you have more than 5000 messages ? That is when you really need to sort your messages. Will this stupid limitation ever be fixed ?

March 2, 2008

chant @ 7:58 am #

pllzzzzzzzzzzz help me …what is the meaning of sorting e-mail plzze elaborate it??

March 7, 2008

Crmp @ 12:20 pm #

How do I recover mail accidentally checked unsafe?

April 1, 2008

monique @ 12:46 pm #

I have accidentally marked an email as "junk". Now I can't find it anywhere! Can someone tell me how to recover this email? Thanks!

May 22, 2008

Andrew @ 12:12 pm #

How can I recover the ip address of an e-mail sent to me in windows live hotmail using windows vista?

June 6, 2008

SecAdmin @ 11:33 am #

I just did a little experiment. I had 568 emails in my “Magazines” folder that I have been “meaning” to read one day. I deleted them all and – what do you know – the full drop down came back and sort was reenabled. Has to be a “feature” MS built into HM that they hvn't had enough of us complain about. Considering the version I use I pay for it makes you wonder why I don’t just go to gmail. Maybe MS has folks reading these messages and they will fix it….but don’t hold your breath!!

June 8, 2008

Sharyn @ 10:52 am #

When replying to a message you have a small window now to reply in. As of before you could see the message in front of you that you were replying to and it was much more convenient. I was wondering if there is any way to go back to the previous form.

June 12, 2008

David @ 2:43 am #

Is there a way to have as default the sort by date with the arrow up so that you read the oldest mail first instead of the latest. I really hate it see my latest first. You could change it on the old hotmail, but I can't find a way of changing it now.

June 13, 2008

monique @ 2:30 pm #

Once you mark an email as junk, it disappears into the ether, nver to be seen again. It's not in trash, or junk. It's just gone.

June 21, 2008

Doppleganger @ 6:18 pm #

Tried what you said … I don't see the "Sort options: Date, From, Subject, Size" in the full version of Windows Live.

Doppleganger @ 6:20 pm #

hotmail just sucks.

July 8, 2008

Mwhite @ 8:01 pm #

I too have been struggling with the sort issue. I have spent the last 2 nights deleting emails trying to get under the magic 5000 number. I am now under 4500, still no sort. I did a search under the help menu and came up with a little known rule that if you have over 50MB of messages, you will also have sort disabled. I still have 300MB+. If you only have 50 MB messages, who needs to sort? ERRRRR….

July 14, 2008

Dan @ 4:54 pm #

HI can someone help me with finding out how i can see the IP address of an email recieved, I have windows live hotmail, and i dont see that option its really frustrating…i have been trying to find but i cant, i checked all the options, but it doesnt show in the header.


July 22, 2008

julij11 @ 10:59 pm #

ok – i'm at 426 MG and i can't sort either. what a pain in the rear. why can't i sort by size and delete the big ones? nightmare. maybe i'll switch to gmail.

July 23, 2008

farnoush @ 1:03 pm #

How do I retrieve emails with blocked senders? I still want to keep the email address blocked, but want to know if the emails are stored somewhere and how to retrieve them

July 31, 2008

P.A. Coleman @ 10:21 pm #

I could not sort in the old Hotmail and am having the same problem with Windows Live Hotmail. I got the same message from the help desk about having 5,000 or more messages [which I don't have]. I just don't see a solution to the problem.

August 9, 2008

David @ 4:43 pm #

I've written to the help desk complaining about the disabled sort function and after receiving the same standard reply As Bray, wrote back pointing out the basically user unfriendliness of the restriction. I got the following reply:

"If you want to continue to use the sort functionality, we recommend that you use one of the following methods:

1. Delete messages from your mailbox. The best locations from which to delete messages are the "Sent," "Junk," and "Deleted" folders.

Note: Messages that include attachments have the same approximate header value as messages that do not have attachments. Therefore, deleting larger messages, such as messages that include attachments, first will not reestablish your access to the sort functionality faster.

2. Set up access to your Windows Live Hotmail account from Microsoft Outlook or from Outlook Express (OE) to obtain additional sorting and searching capabilities.

Access your account through Microsoft Outlook 2003 or 2007 to obtain additional sorting and searching capabilities.

For more information and further assistance with this product, you may contact the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector Support Team at:

3. Use Windows Live Mail program. This also enables you to sort your messages though you have more than 5,000 messages. For more information about this program, please visit the link below:

For assistance in downloading or using Windows Live Mail, you can contact their support team by visiting:

August 22, 2008

Steph @ 3:02 am #

You wrote previously: Messages marked as unsafe is put in he trashcan. Depending on when you deleted, Windows Live Hotmail periodically empties the Deleted folder, so it may be too late.Also, since you marked the message as unsafe you may want to remove it from your Blocked senders list so it does not get automatically deleted next time the email is sent to you. Click on Options \ More Options… \ Safe and Blocked Senders \ Blocked Senders.

BUT the message I accidentally marked as unsafe when I meant to mark as safe is neither in my trashcan or in my blocked addresses. So do you have any other suggestions? Help please!


September 5, 2008

Christina @ 10:33 pm #

I have not logged into my hotmail in quite awhile…but i had important mail saved in my account that I last viewed a few months ago. Today, I wanted to print all the important saved mail and when I logged into my account, it looked very different and stated I had no mail…everything was changed with the windows live screen. What happened to all my mail from my old hotmail????? PLEASE HELP

November 20, 2008

Ms. V @ 3:51 am #

Christina, don't know if you figured this out already, but your mail is gone – forever. Apparently, Hotmails needs us to keep checking our email at least once a month (or is it once in 3 months?) otherwise it deletes all our email and brings it back to square one. I've had this happen to me a few times, and in utter frustration dumped the shit that Hotmail is for better options (hint: GMAIL!).

December 10, 2008

DAVE BURNS @ 10:32 am #

I restored my laptop to factory settings to erase a virus on the advice of Dell. Since then I cannot find my old e mails.I didn't have anywhere near 5000 e mails or did I leave them unchecked for over a month. Can anybody help me please? Thanks.

December 11, 2008

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