Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

How To Turn Off Hotmail ‘Active View’

Earlier this week I got a bit of a surprise in my e-mail – my Hotmail, specifically – kind of a nice surprise.

Now before you start writing me about using Hotmail, I want to say in my defense, I signed up for it long ago. Back in the days when “google” was something an infant might say, okay?

Anywho, back to the topic: my ‘surprise’. Microsoft is constantly “improving” their free webmail service (including renaming it to “Live Hotmail”) in small ways, to modernize it, and keep up with the times… as we advance into “Web 3.0”.
[Dear Microsoft, the improvements I would like to see are: more servers, better load balancing, and fatter pipes into those servers. Why am I seeing “server is too busy” and “we are performing maintenance” errors? You think I am going to trust your other ‘online’ services (aka Office Live Online) when I’m seeing that in a light-weight service like e-mail??? Right.]

Anywho, back to the topic: my ‘surprise’. As I said, Microsoft is constantly updating Hotmail, and this week I noticed a change when I happened to get, and open, an email which had several photos included as attachments. Along with the newish “view”, and trusty old “download” menu options was “view as slideshow” Huh? Yup.
So I clicked on that choice, and an ‘overlay’ slideshow viewer opened, and darned if I couldn’t back and forward and ‘play’ all the photos in (attached to) the email. Kinda kewl.

This is part of something Microsoft is calling ‘Active View’ (others are calling it “previews”, “peeks”, and whatnot) — “mini-websites in your inbox.”

How do Hotmail Active Views work?
You probably have links to other websites in a lot of the e-mail you get—friends share photos and videos. Maybe you get links to track packages that you’re shipping, too.

Active Views are a way to preview information right in Hotmail, so that you don’t have to go to another website to see the photos, watch the videos, or find out where your package is.

Hotmail and Microsoft are committed to keeping your information private. Since we’re really concerned about privacy, we want to tell you exactly how Active Views work.
When a message comes in, we scan it to see whether it’s junk, partly by looking for links to suspicious websites. With Active Views, we detect good links so that we can show you previews. If you’re sent a link to Flickr, we use the link to show a thumbnail of the photos inside your message. The link itself contains information—for example, it identifies a particular photo album—the site will only know that the link was selected by Hotmail. We don’t identify you or send any personal information.

The other type of Active View comes from websites that provide you up-to-date information and content that you can interact with. These messages are like mini-websites in your inbox. So when you open these messages and interact with them, it’s like you have gone to their website. If you don’t click anything inside the message, they’ll only know that you opened the message and what your browser settings are (for example, the browser version and language).”

Here is the How To: (Again, I quote.)

“We’ve designed Active Views so they respect and help protect your privacy. But if you aren’t comfortable with them, go to Options any time and turn Active Views off.

Follow these steps to turn on/off Active View:
1.  Sign in to your Windows Live Hotmail account.
2.  Go to OptionsMore Options.
3.  Under Reading email, click Active View settings.
4.  Under Do you want to see previews?:
Choose Always show photo and video previews to enable Active View or Hide photo and video previews to disable Active Views.
5.  Under Do you want to get interactive updates from web sites you have accounts with?:
Choose Yes to get interactive updates or No to not receive them.


.. now, I am not saying you necessarily want to disable this “interactive”-ness; nor am I saying that there are any attacks exploiting it (at the moment). Even I admit it (slideshow previews) is awfully convenient. But there is the info so that you have choice.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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November 13, 2010 Posted by | computers, e-mail, how to, Internet, Microsoft, privacy, security, tech, tweaks, Web 2.0 | , , , , , , | 7 Comments