Microsoft some days ago published a new mail interface on outlook.com that is said to replace the company’s own Hotmail email service in the long run. Existing Hotmail and Windows Live users can sign in to outlook.com with their old credentials, with Hotmail users currently having options to switch completely to the new email interface or to keep using the old interface for the time being.
Users may run into login issues when they try to sign in to their account on the new Outlook website. This guide looks at the most common causes, and provides fixes for these situations so that you can start using your Outlook.com account again.
Outlook.com sign in issues
Lets talk about the basics for a moment. When you load http://www.outlook.com/ in the browser of choice you will notice that it redirects to https://login.live.com/.. That’s perfectly natural and should not raise any concerns.
A Microsoft account is required to log in to outlook.com. Microsoft recently made a name change from Windows Live account to Microsoft account. It is only a name change though, and your Windows Live ID and password will just work fine on Outlook.
The page may sometimes not load correctly. You may see a blank page, a connection error, or a page that is not fully loaded. Sometimes, the sign in button may not work correctly as well.
Your best bet is to clear the cache of your browser to see if it resolves the issue. You can forcefully request to load the web page anew from Microsoft using the Ctrl-F5 shortcut. If you prefer to clear the complete cache, check out our web browser maintenance guide for instructions on how to do that.
If the page loads but you can’t sign in, you first need to find out why that is the case:
- Can you remember the username and password, or have you forgotten both or one?
- Do you get an error when you try to sign in to outlook.com?
After making sure that you are entering the correct credentials and noticing that they do not work, you should click on the can’t access your account link which opens a troubleshooting page that you can use to recover your password information and resolve your signing in problems. The first screen asks you to identify the sign in issues that you are experiencing.
What problem are you having signing in?
- I forgot my password
- I know my password and Microsoft account, but can’t sign in
- I think someone else is using my Microsoft account
If you have forgot your outlook.com password you can use the first option to request a password reset.
If you are sure that you know your password and Microsoft account but can’t sign in Microsoft recommends to make sure that the caps lock key is not active by accident. If it is not, it recommends to reset the password and try again.
If your account has been hacked, or if you are suspecting that it has been, Microsoft recommends to first reset the password, and then select a strong secure password. The company furthermore recommends to turn on Windows Update if Windows is the operating system used, and to install up to date antivirus software on the system.
Signing in with a single-use code
A single-use code is a random code that is working once before it expires. The idea here is to use these codes to sign in when you are in public locations or on computer systems that you do not own and maintain. This may protect against keyloggers and network sniffers in these places, and is highly recommended to protect the account.
You first need to add a mobile phone number to your Microsoft account. Under Password and security info click the edit security info link, and click the Add button on the next page.
Please note that the mobile phone number you enter needs to be verified first before it becomes an active phone number in the account. This is done via an SMS message that you will receive on the phone. The message contains a code that you need to enter to complete the verification process.
Once done, you can always use the get a single-use code to sign in with option on Outlook.com and other Microsoft Account web pages to sign in using your mobile phone number and a one-use code.
If you can’t sign in on the Outlook website, you may want to try signing in on another Microsoft Account website first. This can be helpful if the Outlook sign in form is not loading properly. Just head over to http://login.live.com/ and sign in there. Once done, try loading outlook.com again to see if it is now loading the mail interface skipping the login form.