I have been waiting for this to happen since quite a while and I guess the sanity prevailed at Microsoft and they have opened up the POP3 access to its Live email services. So effectively, you could now access the hotmail emails using your own favourite email client.
Yes, that includes Thunderbird too !
So here you go. The settings are as follows,
POP server: pop3.live.com (Port 995)
POP SSL required? Yes
User name: Your Windows Live ID, for example firstname.lastname@example.org
Password: The password you usually use to sign in to Hotmail or Windows Live
SMTP server: smtp.live.com (Port 25 or 587)
Authentication required? Yes (this matches your POP username and password)
TLS/SSL required? Yes
I came across this while I was trying to configure the hotmail on my Windows Mobile handset so I could keep in touch regularly over the personal emails too.
[Source and for more information, visit the Windows Live MSN UK Website. ]