As you may have learned from our "Create a Hotmail account" tutorial, the Hotmail sign up form is very short, and sticks to asking you only the essential questions to setup a new email account: the email address you want, your name as it should appear to recipients when you send them email messages from your Hotmail account, and your password information (which you need of course to protect access to your new email account). Aside from that, you only need to supply geographical information, your birth year, and your gender - this in itself will only take you 2-3 minutes.
What does end up taking time is to find an email address that is available: considering that Windows Live Hotmail is (one of) the most popular webmail providers in the world, 300 million people before you have tried to get their favorite email address. This makes finding a new one that both pleases you, is easy to remember, and is available, quite time-consuming, at least potentially!
In most cases, you will use the same email address all the time, since it is much more practical than constantly switching between one email account and another. For this reason (we learned this the hard way), make sure that your new Hotmail email address works for all situations, and is reasonably easy to memorize for someone who does not know you (your close friends may know that "97" is your graduation year, but this number will mean little to someone who just met you, and will be very difficult to remember!)
Likewise, avoid "cute" names, since you are likely to give out your email address in more formal or professional settings - keep in mind that, fair or not, your email address says a lot about you - don't send the wrong message!
Tip: Also remember that you can sign up from the same page for an email address ending either in "
@hotmail.com" or in "
@live.com" - since the availability of Live.com email addresses is a decade newer than Hotmail.com accounts, your chances are greater to find the perfect email address with Live.com.
The bottom line is that the Hotmail sign up process can be as quick as two or three minutes if you are lucky, but will likely take longer if you want to come up with email ideas that meet the criteria mentioned above.