Some people claim that an advantage of a Microsoft account is that you can easily recover your Microsoft account password. I had a different experience. This post covers the various stumbling blocks. Even if you currently don’t have a problem with your password, I recommend reading this article so you are aware of the various traps that might cause your password reset attempts to fail.
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Michael Pietroforte

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in IT management and system administration.
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Forgotten password ^

In theory, you only have to go to https://account.live.com/ResetPassword.aspx and Microsoft will send you a password reset link to your alternate email address or to your phone.

Reset Microsoft account password

Reset Microsoft account password

I suppose this will work just fine in most cases. However, several circumstances exist that can cause this procedure to fail. In my case, the recovery email address I entered when I created the Microsoft account was wrong. This can easily happen because the sign-up form only has one form field for the alternate email address, and Microsoft doesn’t send a confirmation link to the email address. Thus, you can enter any email address and you will only notice that you mistyped the address when you need it for recovering your account. By then, it is already too late, and things will get very complicated.

Verify your identity ^

Microsoft offers an alternate option for resetting your password if you don’t have access to your recovery address. You just have to select I don’t have any of these on the We need to verify your identity page.

We need to verify your identity

We need to verify your identity

On the next page, you have to enter a new contact email address.

Recover your Microsoft account

Recover your Microsoft account

The lengthy account recovery page that follows prompts you to verify that the account is yours.

Verify that account is yours

Verify that the account is yours

You see now that it is important to enter the correct information when you create the Microsoft account. Aside from personal information, you also have to know things such as email addresses of contacts you’ve recently sent emails to, the corresponding email subjects you used, and email folders you created recently.

Now comes something funny. I tried this procedure several times, and I failed even though I still had access to the account. That is, I could provide all the information because I simply copied it from my Outlook.com inbox. A couple of seconds later, I received an automated email from Microsoft with the crucial sentence:

Unfortunately, we were unable to verify your ownership using the information that was provided.

And when I stubbornly tried it again by entering more detailed information, Microsoft’s recovery program got impatient, and I received an email with the subject “Final update on your account recovery request.”

This is the interesting contents of the email:

Now what?

Because there have been multiple unsuccessful recovery attempts for this account, we recommend at this point that you create a new account. It’s quick and easy, and we have tools to help you import contacts, connect with Facebook, and even receive messages from multiple email accounts.

Well, what can I say about this recommendation? I suppose most users won’t be in the mood to create a new account “at this point.” It is not just that you will have the inconvenience of informing all your contacts that you have a new email address. If you used this account to sign in to Windows 8 or Windows 10, creating a new account won’t really solve your problem, and connecting to Facebook is certainly what I am least interested in doing “at this point.”

I don’t know why the account recovery failed. Considering that I wasn’t able to reset my password with this identity verification form, even though I had full access to my account, I conclude that quite a few users will have fun with this procedure.

Sign-in is blocked ^

It is interesting to note that I had not forgotten my password when I started the procedure. When I first signed in from a second machine with my new Microsoft account, I probably accidentally entered a wrong password and then I solved the captcha incorrectly a couple of times (spam bots are much better with this than I am). The result is that sign-in to Outlook.com is blocked from every machine except the one on which I created the account. So I have all the information about the account, including the correct password, I am signed in and have access to the account settings, but I am unable to unblock the account for other machines.

Outlook.com - Sign-in is blocked

Outlook.com - Sign-in is blocked

Recovery code and recovery app ^

By the way, if you think that the recovery code for your Microsoft account or the identity verification app on your phone could be helpful in this situation, these verification methods are reserved for when you try to sign in from a location or device that Microsoft considers as suspicious. If you didn’t configure one of these methods, you will have to enter a code that Microsoft sends to your recovery email address. However, these recovery methods are useless if your account is blocked.

Lost password without Internet access ^

Another problem exists with resetting a Microsoft account password if you use the password to sign in to your Windows 8 or Windows 10 machine. Let’s assume you entered the recovery email correctly and received a password reset code. If the computer on which you forgot the password has no Internet access, you won’t be able to sign in with the new password. If you have no other account for this computer and have to sign in to establish an Internet connection (for instance, if you use a mobile plan), you are in trouble.

Now what? ^

So now what? Importing contacts from Facebook into your new Microsoft account? You have better options. The good news is that it all works without filling out endless forms and scratching your head over unsolvable captchas. The first thing you have to do is create a new local account for your Windows 10 machine. This can be done easily even if you are unable to sign in. I will cover the procedure in my next post.

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13 Comments
  1. avatar
    Erick 3 years ago

    I have ever run into the same problem and unable to reset the password through all options available on Microsoft's website. Luckily I used a commercial tool - PCUnlocker Live CD, to bypass the Microsoft account. After logging into Windows 8, I switched back to local account.

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  2. Profile gravatar of Michael Pietroforte
    Michael Pietroforte 3 years ago

    Erick, I don't think that you need to spend money for unlocking a Windows machine. Check out my guide.

    1+
  3. avatar
    Undra 2 years ago

    I'm trying tho test my password on Windows 10 i need help please

    1+
  4. avatar
    Alex 2 years ago

    Please Help me. First, sorry for my English. I have a big problem. stage: Windows 10, set to boot in safe mode (alternate shell) without network access. So, I forget my microsoft account password (usually i used my pin), how to get into the alternative shell or how to boot normally

    0
  5. avatar
    JAMI ALFERINK 2 years ago

    Sooooo. All those things in your post has happened to me I also sent Microsoft my drivers license & s.s.# to prove my identity & they still blocked me & said i should start a new account...son wants his profile so bad he's hurt & upset with me. HELP! BEEN TRYING TO GET INTO ACCOUNT SINCE NOVEMBER

    0
  6. avatar
    debbie 1 year ago

    I reset my outlook password but it keeps saying incorrect email or password

    0
  7. avatar
    MAP 1 year ago

    If you have Windows 10, try doing the MS Account password reset using IE (the desktop app). I sweated through 30 minutes of try this and try that using Chrome and Edge before the online chat tech suggested it. As soon as I set a new password using IE everything was OK.

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  8. avatar
    Nancy 12 months ago

    I need help asap!  I need password for my outlook email and I've tried twice with microsoft and can't get it.  I would consider myself a beginner and really really need help asap.  Trip info (airline tickets, hotel reservations, etc.) is in my email account and I need them.

    thanks

    Nancy

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  9. avatar
    Robert Taylor DAV 11 months ago

    I am a friend helping someone try to get into his laptop. The thing says it is windows 10. I do not use that one. I tried every pw he had and it would not work. I have tried to get into MS (on my machine) and change the pw but it will not work. I removed his HD and downloaded all his pictures so I would not destroy anything. I can get it to go online with my router but there is no programs available to run a reset on line. Is there a way to go into his HD and change the pw to boot locally? The default page that comes up on boot is logon to his hotmail email address eith a place for a pw. I cannot get to any other page. The laptop came with the OS installed and without a disk. Any suggestions?

    Bob Taylor DAV

    1+
  10. avatar
    Berty Basset 10 months ago

    After one year of trying to reset my code. Guy at the phone shop recommends bining the windows phone. Works for me. Microsoft account password reset must feature on the next Mission Impossible  movie.

    Berty Basset

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  11. avatar
    Jo 5 months ago

    Does anyone have an answer to this problem? About a week ago I was informed by Microsoft that it appeared that someone else was using my account. Since then, my account has been blocked, I've tried verifying, that I am the account holder, many times over and still no luck. It just seems that I am going around in a continuous circle! I have tried contacting customer support, but you can't speak to an actual person!!! I probably have some important emails, that I simply can't open.
    If anyone has any ideas, it would be greatly appreciated.

    3+

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    • Profile gravatar of Michael Pietroforte Author
      Michael Pietroforte 5 months ago

      I had the same problem with two test accounts and in both cases I was unable to get access again. In one case I tried so hard that Microsoft's "AI" lost its nerves and suggested that I create a new account. I couldn't believe that this was really happening. I mean, in both cases I had the correct passwords and access to the recovery email account. I was denied access because the system detected "suspicious behavior". I guess the reason was that I logged on from another country.

      I just had the same problem with a Google account. The system then wanted to know the city where I usually login and when I then entered my hometown, Google claimed this is wrong and I had no other option than sending an angry note to Google. The difference between Google and Microsoft seems to be that a person looks into this in such cases. The angry message was enough to convince the support staff that I am the account owner .

      So your only chance is to contact Microsoft. You can also try posting something in a Microsoft forum. If you are lucky one of the moderators will forward your problem to the right persons.

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  12. avatar
    Robin Greco 3 months ago

    I forgot my Microsoft password , I can't get into my laptop, this damevh true identity where it's knows your face, but it still wants a Microsoft password 0.

    0

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