To start by clearing any confusion, there are two types of "forwards" in Windows Live Hotmail: you can forward an individual email, manually, a standard feature; but Hotmail also comes with a automatic "mail forwarding" functionality, which we'll discuss in this tutorial. Automatically forwarding messages sent to your Hotmail account to another email account of your choice used to be a feature exclusively offered to "Hotmail Plus" subscribers (the paid version of Microsoft's webmail service). This is no longer the case, and anyone who has a Hotmail account can now have their emails automatically forwarded to an alternate email address!
Start by signing into your Hotmail account; once you are inside your inbox, click on the Options button near the top right corner of the screen, and choose "More options" from the dropdown menu: this will redirect you to the "Hotmail Options" page.
Under the "Managing your account" header, select the "Email forwarding" link (currently the third link, others not shown on screenshot).
As soon as you do, Hotmail brings you to another screen called "Forwarding" - this is where you can enable or disable automatic mail forwarding as needed.
By default, of course, this feature is turned off, which is confirmed by having the "Don't forward" radio button selected - in other words, email messages that reach your Hotmail inbox or junk mail folder will stay there unless you manually forward them yourself - and, in the case of manual email forwards, a copy of the original message remains where it is (unless you move it or delete yourself).
To turn on mail forwarding, start by selecting the "Forward your mail to another email account" radio button instead: in the "Where do you want your messages to be sent" text box, type the alternate email address to which you want to start receiving your Hotmail emails - double-check for typos to ensure these messages reach you.
Tip: Hotmail only forwards messages that arrive in your inbox; in other words, your spam (which lands in the Junk folder) will not be forwarded to your other email account!
By default, the "Keep a copy of forwarded messages in your Windows Live Hotmail inbox" checkbox is unchecked: Hotmail will permanently remove the message in question as soon as it has forwarded it to your other account.
We recommend that you tick this checkbox, just to be on the safe side. Since Hotmail has moved away from limited storage, you can safely let copies of forwarded messages pile up in your inbox, and go clean it up now and then. Besides (unless you are paying for Hotmail Plus) you need to periodically login to your account to keep it active.
Once you are done, click on the "Save" button to turn on mail forwarding.
To turn off the feature, and make Hotmail stop automatically redirecting your emails, follow the same simple steps explained above, but this time check the "Don't forward" radio button and click "Save". From that point on (give or take a few seconds), only your Hotmail account will have messages sent directly to it.