Getting Google Chrome to work with Hotmail


Like many, I’ve been using Chrome occasionally ever since it came out back in September.
I never really had any problems with any sites, and was impressed with how fast it left the “Beta” stage, considering Google’s affinity for the term.

Initially, I had no problem using Hotmail with Chrome. (Yes, I still have a Hotmail account from years ago, even after switching to Gmail for almost all of my needs) But recently, it stopped working for me – basically, I could go to the Inbox, but clicking on any of the messages or trying to compose a new email would not working. Basically, none of the links worked. I can’t pinpoint the exact date that this occurred, but it was likely after an update to the Hotmail site.

The fix is really quite simple, which I found on the Chrome Help Forums. You just need to alter your shortcut to Chrome to add an option/parameter when it’s run. If you right-click the icon/shortcut that’s used to launch Chrome, you should see something like this in the “Target” field:

"C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe"

Change it to this, adding the --user-agent option to the end.

"C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.19 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1 Safari/525.1"

Note that in the above two examples, user name is meant to be the folder of the currently-logged in user. Change as appropriate. Note that even though the help forum is talking about the 2.0 Developer Beta version, I found that this fix worked with the latest release.

From what I gather, this “fix” just makes Chrome identify itself as another type of browser, which apparently makes Hotmail serve up the proper pages to Chrome. If this is true, this would mean Microsoft deliberately disabled Hotmail for Chrome users. This would not be surprising, as Google has been trying to sway users away from Internet Explorer (especially 6.0) by recommending other browsers (such as Chrome) when using Gmail.

It appears that the Browser Wars are again moving into webmail as a sort of proxy battle.

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