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All has not gone smoothly with the migration of MSN's UK customers to Web-based email accounts.

At the beginning of the month, subscribers of MSN.co.uk (which still has 15,000 active users) were corralled from a POP3-based email system to a system very similar to (but not the same as) Hotmail.

According to Microsoft, this was to provide more services (and save it money, no doubt) however it seems that the transfer process has left a number of users confused.

IT consultant Robin Ferris told us of his difficulties in helping his client sign up to the revamped service and allowing her to download her emails onto an Outlook client.

He described the process of signing up as a "headache". Downloading emails from the Web-based client to Outlook through "beta software" also proved difficult and his client has been problems accessing her email. Support is unavailable either, he complains.

A Microsoft spokeswoman admitted that the migration, which allowed users to keep their MSN.co.uk email address, had resulted in increased support calls (she knew because she helped UK journos through the process).

Prior to the migration users have to empty out their In-box. Next they have to go through a sign up procedure that asks them to accept the terms and conditions of Hotmail, and sign up to Passport, before they can get into their account. This involves remembering passwords, which users might have forgotten, and has tripped more than a few up. Lastly there's the problem of changing the settings properly in order to get access to email.

MSN has set up a support page to help users through the migration which you can see here.

These days MSN.co.uk focuses its business as an Internet portal. It operates as a virtual ISP through an 0845 number connecting to BT, for its access customer rump. reg;

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