Microsoft's email service Hotmail recently received an update that improved the options to recover an account. That's helpful for users who cannot sign in to Hotmail, either because their username or password is not accepted, or other errors or even attempts at hacking the email account.
But account recovery is only one of the options, and sort of a last resort, and we take a closer look at those later in this guide.
Lets take a look at the standard Hotmail sign in. It starts by visiting hotmail.com or mail.live.com, and entering the username and password in the form on the page. Please note that the web address hotmail.com redirects to a live.com address.
Both are part of Microsoft and should not be of concern. Just make sure that the live.com address begins with https, which indicates a secure connection to the service.
The Windows Live ID, or the username, is the email address the account was registered with. This is usually a @hotmail.com email address. The password is the case sensitive account password that has a minimum size of six characters.
If you can sign in, you are taken to the Hotmail Highlights page, from where you can access the inbox and send emails.
You probably would not be reading this article if you were able to log in successfully to Windows Live Hotmail.
Lets take a look at the possibilities if you encounter error messages.
Probably the most common error encountered on the Hotmail sign in page is that the password or Windows Live ID are not accepted. Please note that Hotmail will eventually add a so called captcha to the log in process if the ID and password are not accepted. This should not be confused with temporary lock outs of the account, which only happen if Hotmail detects spam-like activity from it.
The first thing that you should do is to verify that the Windows Live ID and password are correct. If you think they are, make sure the caps lock key on the keyboard is not active.
If you are sure that the login credentials are correct you may want to consider resetting your password.
You do need the Windows Live ID to reset the password, and enter the characters from a captcha image. Some users may run into problems here, if they do not remember their Hotmail email, or if the email they enter is not accepted in the password recovery form.
There is no option to recovery the email address, or have it displayed to you in the process. If the password reset email does not arrive in your account, you have the option to use other means of verification after a 24 hour period.
Hotmail users who have already added a mobile phone number to their password reset information, can use it to receive a temporary one-use sign in password. To use it, they need to click on the Get a single use code to sign in with link on the Hotmail sign in page.
This displays a new page where they can enter the single use code, or request a new one if they do not have one.
Users need to enter their Windows Live ID and the phone number they have added in their Hotmail account to receive the single use code.
This code can then be used as a one-time sign in replacement for the Hotmail password.
Another option for users who cannot log in to Hotmail is to visit the Windows Live Solution Center to post a request for support. Microsoft employees are monitoring the forums and try to aid in the account recovery.
It may also pay of to try to sign into Hotmail on another computer system if available, or to use the Windows Live Mail software.
The last resort is the account password recovery page on Windows Live Help. Users can recover their account by either entering the secret answer to their secret question, or using an alternate email address if one was configured during setup.
Here are a few precautions you can take to avoid sign in troubles at Hotmail or other Windows Live services.
Finally, there is another tip that may aid you. Microsoft is operating a status page for their Windows Live services, that indicate if a service is running normally. You may want to check this page if you have troubles signing in and are sure that you are entering the right login credentials. It can be that Hotmail is down temporarily, and if it is it will be indicated on the page.
You may also want to check out or Hotmail login guide for additional pointers.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.