Microsoft makes both the Internet Explorer web browser and the Windows Live Hotmail webmail service: so it is no surprise that when Internet Explorer 9 came out, Hotmail was one of the first websites to support jump lists, a feature in Windows 7 that allows you to quickly access extra functionality for applications and now websites, simply by right-clicking on its shortcut in the taskbar (strip at the bottom of the screen that contains the start button, system clock, etc.) That same functionality is extended to the start menu, with extra menu items showing as a submenu of your Hotmail shortcut.
First, you need to make sure that you do in fact have IE9 installed on your computer, the latest version of the browser at the time of this writing: What version of Internet Explorer do I have? And that you are running Windows 7 - What version of Windows do I have? Once you've confirmed that, go to
www.hotmail.com using IE.
Once are signed into your Hotmail account, hold and drag the website icon from the address bar and drop it on an empty area of the Windows 7 taskbar. As soon as you start dragging the Hotmail icon, Windows 7 will display a "Link" tooltip: keep holding down the mouse button, and release the mouse button once you see the tooltip change to "Pin to Taskbar".
Now that you see the Windows Live button and icon on your taskbar: if you "regular click" on it, it will open a separate Internet Explorer window just for Hotmail; you will notice that the "Home" button has been moved to the left, and replaced with a Windows Live icon; also notice that the Back and Forward button have become orange, the same color as the new Hotmail's logo! (IE does it for any taskbar-pinned website.)
Tip: note that this doesn't affect your regular Internet Explorer; it only customizes it when you launch Hotmail from the Windows Live shortcut in the taskbar (or start menu).
Now that Hotmail resides on your Windows 7 taskbar, right-click on the Windows Live icon, and you'll see a customized jump list that gives you one-click access to extra functionality, like quickly opening your Hotmail calendar:
"Home" will load the Windows Live home screen, with social updates; "Inbox" will lead your straight to your emails; "Calendar" loads your appointments and events with a single click; clicking "Contacts" brings you to your Hotmail address book, and "Send email" opens a blank new email directly! (Note: how well all this works depends on your login settings - see our Hotmail Sign in website for more details.)
Tip: if you want to remove Hotmail from the taskbar, just right-click on the Windows Live icon, and choose "Unpin this program from taskbar" from the context menu.
A nice side effect of using a pinned shortcut to your emails on the taskbar is that when Internet Explorer is running, launched from that shortcut, the Windows Live icon on your taskbar will show a number of new, unread messages since you launched it, effectively becoming a Hotmail notifier!
Like previous versions of the operating system, Windows 7 supports start menu dragging and dropping shortcuts to programs and web pages. But when you drop Hotmail onto the start menu, you'll discover a brand new way to access your emails, the Hotmail calendar, and other features! We'll also show you how to pin that Hotmail shortcut, to make it stay at or near the top, whether you use that shortcut frequently or seldom.
Start as you did before: hold and drag the Hotmail icon from the Internet Explorer address bar, and move it above the Start button (Windows logo) - as soon as a tooltip reading "Pin to Start Menu" appears, drop the Hotmail icon (otherwise, the start menu opens when you stay too long above it). Once you've dropped the shortcut, click on the start button to open the start menu, and you'll see a Hotmail entry on the left:
Click on it to directly open your emails in Internet Explorer 9. To reveal the same submenu we found in the jump list, to quickly access inbox, calendar, contacts, etc. - either hover the "Hotmail" button for a second, or click on the right-pointing arrow.
Tip: to delete the Hotmail shortcut from your start menu, just right-click on it and choose "Unpin from Start Menu" - and you can add it back anytime later on. (Either drag as before, or click on the gear menu, choose "File", and select "Add site to start menu".)