Microsoft’s Hotmail email service is one of the most popular services on the Internet. Hotmail was recently integrated into Windows Live, and received a makeover in the process. One of the changes in the process is that users can now sign into Hotmail on the Internet, or by using Windows Live Mail, the mail program that supports logging into Hotmail to read and write emails.
This article acts as a guide for Hotmail users who have sign in or log in troubles on the website or in Windows Live Mail. Those are usually connected, meaning if it is not possible to sign in to the homepage it is also not possible to use Windows Live Mail to access the account.
Hotmail homepage: http://www.hotmail.com/
Windows Live Mail download: http://explore.live.com/windows-live-mail?os=other
Sign In Troubleshooting
Lets take a look at the standard Hotmail login: Users open the Hotmail website in their web browser. The website redirects to the Hotmail sign in page on Windows Live. See the screenshot below and compare it to what you are seeing on your screen if you are in doubt if the site you are on is the right one.
Here you enter your Windows Live ID (the email address you registered the account with, which in most cases is a @hotmail.com email address) and the password. It is possible to configure the sign in page to remember the password and username, so that these details do not have to be entered again on future visits to the email service. We usually recommend not to save the login credentials as this can be a security risk, especially on multi-user systems.
The Hotmail inbox will be loaded if the username and password have been accepted. If not, a sign in error message is displayed. This error message determines the next step in the process.
The most likely issues that Hotmail users encounter during sign in are that the password or email is not accepted during the log in process. Lets take a closer look at the username and password first:
Microsoft defines the Windows Live ID the following way:
Your Windows Live ID is the email address you use, along with your password, to sign in to any Windows Live program or service, such as Hotmail, Messenger, or SkyDrive. You can also use it to sign in to other Microsoft services, including Xbox LIVE, Zune, and Office Live.
The password consists of a minimum of six case sensitive characters.
If you cannot remember your Hotmail password, you can reset the password on this page. You need to know your Windows Live ID and fill out a captcha. Once done, a link to reset the password is sent to the secondary email address of the account. Why not the Hotmail email? It should be obvious that this is not a good idea considering that the password to the account is not accepted, and thus it is not possible to sign in to read the new email.
Alternative options to reset the password are provided if the Hotmail email does not arrive in the secondary email account, or if no secondary account is registered with the service. Hotmail will automatically opt to send the password reset information to a mobile phone number (if registered) or trusted PC (if registered)
Please note that multiple attempts to sign in with the wrong password may block the account temporarily. You may also want to double-check that the caps-lock key is not active, which turns lowercase into uppercase characters automatically.
A last resort is the Windows Live Password reset page, where it is possible to recover the account by entering the answer to the secret question that was defined during account creation.
Hotmail Sign In Tips
Here are some general tips that you should take a look at to protect your account from signing in problems.
- When you create your Hotmail account select a secure password. Take a look at our passwords guide for pointers.
- You should also make sure to enter a secondary email address, which is used to reset a password.
- Hotmail recently has added additional password reset options. These include by cell phone or trusted PC. Take the minute and configure those options in the Hotmail account options.
- Always sign out of Hotmail when you are done reading and writing emails. This makes sure that no one can access the account without having to sign in first.
- Hotmail offers a single-code login feature. This is helpful if you need to sign in to Hotmail on public computers. It acts as a one-time password that expires the minute it has been used for the first time. This renders keyloggers and other tools to record the login information useless.
- You may also want to consider using a password manager to automate your log ins and password creations.
It is not always the user’s fault if it is not possible to log into Hotmail. Microsoft operates a Windows Live ID status page that indicates if known problems of the Windows Live service prevent users from signing into Hotmail.
Your last resort is a post on the Windows Live Help forum if you are still having troubles with the Hotmail sign in.