Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

If you try to login to your Hotmail account and the password won't work and your secret questions are all different, it's pretty clear what's happened.


I get this often enough that I want to use this question as an example and provide a summary article for the situation.

This has nothing to do with Hotmail's "nonsense" at all.

It's pretty clear what's happened here, so I'll point you to a number of my previous articles that all might apply in your situation.

Your account has been hacked, plain and simple.

Someone guessed or got your password, went in and changed your password and all the other information associated with your account.

"This was not Hotmail's fault."

The fact that you had the same password for 10 years didn't help. That often makes it easier for the hacker to get your passwords. If you use that same password on other accounts, now might be a good time to change it everywhere.

I'll point you to these articles for things to do if there's any hope of recovering your account, and perhaps more importantly, some lessons to learn since I really don't expect your account to be recoverable.

And finally, I'd recommend you consider reading this article as well: WHY IS EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET SO GRUMPY?

Having your email account hacked is a pain and can result in quite a bit of inconvenience and data loss. Make sure that you do what you need to protect yourself.

And when it happens, if you must place blame, place it appropriately.

This was not Hotmail's fault.

Article C4086 - January 12, 2010 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Tim Hohs
January 19, 2010 1:04 PM

Maybe the guy's caps lock is stuck. That would explain why his password is not being accepted.

John B.
January 19, 2010 1:17 PM

Maybe this person just had caps lock down by mistake and didn't realize it when trying to login .

robert p
January 19, 2010 2:20 PM

I disagree that the average user needs to change their password all the time. In fact, it might work against you. One just needs to use words that do not appear in any dictionary [make one up] and alternate it with numbers and symbols.
Something like: F#i*T!M&F09, is relatively safe, but your pet's name is a sure target.

January 19, 2010 2:32 PM

I had this same problem just yesterday. I typed in my CORRECT password, several times, to no avail........then out of the corner of my eye noticed the "caps lock" was on. I took it off, typed in the exact same password, except this time all in lower case, and......everything was fine!

John Neeting
January 19, 2010 4:22 PM

The best defense against hacking by someone is a pass PHRASE not a pass word. Most hacking tools rely on the dictionary and then some tried and true variations but a pass phrase [ believe it or not ] is much easier to remember [ especially if it contains NO spaces ]
Example: I used at one time in the past...
as a pass phrase. I challenged GOD to guess this with any engine on the planet. The phrase was easily remembered because it came from one of my all time favorite shows ' It aint half hot mum '
an english comedy series.
Pick a phrase that is long and drives you or everyone else nuts. Another example : " isaidlookisaiddarlisaidpetisaidloveisaidlook '
This methodology is damn near impossible to crack by guessing or any engine available within your lifetime. Long - yes, time to type it in - yes, secure - absolutely.

January 19, 2010 4:56 PM

i'm jumping in cause i think someone needs to say this, which is that, i experienced hotmail giving me this message so consistenly for a very long time that i got use to having to type it in twice because it would work on the second try (always). I got tired of trying to find a fix for it as did others i would 'google'. i haven't had this problem since i switched from xp & firefox to win 7 & IE8. anyway, something was happening besides 'getting hacked' jim

January 19, 2010 4:57 PM

More to this than stating "Hacked or Caps lock on"
Recently installed W7 on another PC & can never access my existing hotmail account on this PC, (password incorrect every time) but have no problems logging in & out on the other PC. (Not a keyboard problem either as I'm using the same keyboard for both PCs)

January 20, 2010 3:43 AM

@John Neeting

One of the ways that the programs crack the passwords is to string words and random characters together into pass phrases. I know that John the Ripper, one of the fastest Windows password crackers (cause its written in assembler and has no GUI, only command-line) can crack pass phrases by using dictionary words and stringing multiple words together.

John B. Moss
January 20, 2010 9:33 AM

I'm with Jim - have had to retype the 'good' (same) password, second time always works, 1st time never. I'm on Vista, had the issue when I was on XP, and am NOT going to Win7 in the near future. It isn't (doesn't seem to be) a hacking issue. Hotmail just requires that second password entry. Nuisance!

June Dushaw
January 23, 2010 8:19 AM

Sometimes I get that message and then if I try again it works.

January 24, 2010 3:36 AM

I have the same problem that a few have mentioned, it's the reason why I ended up here. I have auto-complete turned on so IE always remembers my hotmail username and password, yet about 3/4 of the time when i click 'sign in' it tells me the username of password is incorrect. I generally have to type it in 2 or 3 times before it accepts. Does anybody know why this is, or how to get around it?

March 12, 2010 4:24 AM

something is wrong with my email............and i am 100 percent sure with my i need a contact phone number for customer service

There is no phone number. See this article:How do I contact Windows Live Hotmail customer service?

Phyllis Zolko
July 6, 2010 10:34 AM

I tried logging in to my msn mail account that has been free for many years on Thursday 7/3/2010 and it said thatI had logged in too many times with an incorrect password. Now note that I only logged in twice because I thought I may have hit the wronk key. I could not send a complaint to msn because I could not access my account. Every time now when I ty to logon it automatically takes me to NOT I set up another email account using hotmail and used my my original ID & PW and it allowed. I tried to set up a new account under a link I found for mail and it said my account was in use when trying to set up with same ID & PW. On Thurs there was a message from MSN saying that some users may not be able to access their mail accounts due to problems they were having. After 5 days, no fix????? What is going on as I have work and personal items that I desperately need to access. I have had this account for years!! Please help.

October 2, 2010 4:21 AM

i need asolution and it is urgent

October 16, 2010 3:24 AM

That is not true i made 3 hotmails in one night tonight actually and all three got hacked into i dont think so! how could all three e-mails not work when i know the user name and the password is the exact same for all my e-mails YES IT IS HOTMAILS fault THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I disagree. There's something happening on your end - perhaps you have a keylogger or spyware, perhaps using the same password on all your accounts is a really bad idea.

Kenneth Najarian
December 17, 2010 12:12 PM

I am trying to log in to my hotmail acct and it won't allow me to do it --m it says I have tried too many times with the wrong password... The computer was cleaned and since then the password doesn't work... I would like to access my hotmail acct,PLEASE !!!

This article discusses recovery options for the various ways that Hotmail accounts can be lost or compromised: What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options?

February 21, 2011 9:48 PM

Hotmail nonsense quite surely does exist. Hotmail will refuse to accept passwords if not changed for a long period of time. Example;

I try logging into hotmail via a web browser, I'm told my password is incorrect. However, when the same password/user is entered into MSN Messenger, it logs in fine.

don christopher
April 23, 2011 12:03 PM

I changed my mail address to {email address removed}, I am having problems with my caps button sticking, thus the problem getting my @ to pop up instesd of the number 2. I am trying to sign up for g-mail and keep getting blocked after putting in my password even though it says it is strong, NEW TO the computor and the net, over 100 years according to my doctor, can you help a old woman make it less diffulcult// CAN'T GET THE ASK SYMBLE TO COME UP, OR SPELL CHECK

Daniel Shepherd
May 10, 2011 5:08 PM

I just wanted to use my hotmail account on the 4-G phone since I could not I want to keep my contact and maybe put them on my Yahoo account. I can read my e-mail on my old phone but I was told my pass word was wrong and my secrect code was wrong. Must I stay on my old phone to keep my contact or is it a way to move them.

Evon F. M. Kassabian
May 23, 2011 1:07 AM

Your account has been blocked
Why are you seeing this?
Someone may have used your account to send out a lot of junk messages (or something else that violates the Windows Live Terms of Service).
We're here to help you get your account back.
What do you need to do?
We'll help you reset your password.
We've cleaned your account settings
Often customers get here because someone else has access to your account and are using it without your knowledge to send spam. To protect you and your contacts, we've removed any Hotmail auto-replies or linked accounts you may have had.
Please tell me what can I do? because I need the same e-mail, {email address removed}
Looking forward t hearing from you soon.

Thank you,

Best Regards

Evon Kassabian

This article discusses recovery options for the various ways that Hotmail accounts can be lost or compromised: What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options?

Evon F. M. Kassabian
May 23, 2011 1:13 AM

I had this same problem just yesterday. I typed in my CORRECT password, several times, to no avail........then out of the corner of my eye noticed the "caps lock" was on. I took it off, typed in the exact same password, except this time all in lower case, and......everything was fine!

Please tell me what can I do? because I need the same e-mail, {email address removed}

Mark J
May 23, 2011 1:25 AM


This article, already on Ask Leo, discusses recovery options for the various ways that Hotmail accounts can be lost or compromised and I believe applies in your situation:

john neeting
July 15, 2011 10:02 PM

So there is an engine that strings words together to make phrases ?. Oh so that engine can churn through
factorial 680,000 [ plus spaces as a guess ] ?
Even at a quadrillion times a second it couldn't do it in 100,000 years. Get a computer to factorial 680,000 and see how far you get :) if YOU can get such a computer

Actually the engines that are around cycle through words and short combinations of words. And yes, they do so at an amazing rate these days (apparently occasionally botnets are used to bring the power of thousands of PCs to the problem). Regardless, password phrases as you suggest are significantly more secure. Basically anything that is longer is better, regardless of how you form it - phrases are simply easier to remember.

Deyney Dawn
November 9, 2011 7:03 AM

I have a very old email, I used to use it for some forums until I made another one and it became my main.

It's been a while since I used it/loggin (2 years maybe), but lately one of my account's password has been rested and an email has been sent to this OLD email. When I tried to loggin, its says that the email is incorrect, I tried everything, I even checked the forum for the right email, and guess what; it is!

Help please.

This article discusses recovery options for the various ways that Hotmail accounts can be lost or compromised and I believe it applies here: What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options?

April 11, 2012 2:27 PM

This has happened to me twice with relatively new accounts. I never really send emails, so I mostly use it for verification emails and such. I had only logged into both accounts a handful of times in the 2-3 months I had them, and then one day it stops accepting my password. I have about 7 passwords that I use on different things, and I go through all of them with caps on and caps off, making sure everything is as it should be, but it still doesn't accept the passwords. Also, when I look at my security question, on both accounts it asked for my favourite historical person, which I did not put. Also, while this may seem like a hacker, he would have to be following my accounts specifically, seeing as how he changed both the questions to the same thing. Also, I use a family PC, and nobody else's emails or accounts have been hacked. I guess it could be someone I know messing with me, but as far as I know they have literally no knowledge of my email address, as I never speak of it at all. I think it's Hotmail's hijinks, but maybe I just want someone to blame

George myriallakis
April 18, 2012 9:41 AM

I have problem with my password. I can't log in because my mail is lock and I don't know why. I follow the steps but I don't have another email to change password.. Can you help me?

December 23, 2012 2:15 AM

Leo you are no help to me. I put my problems down to hotmail...

Almost all the people that have come to me claiming that it's Hotmail's fault end up finding that either their account was hacked, or that they had indeed been using the wrong password. In nearly 10 years of doing this I don't think I've encountered even one case where Hotmail was actually at fault.

February 25, 2013 4:50 PM

WRONG! I am logged in to Hotmail. I go to account settings --> Change password. I enter THE SAME password for "current password", and I enter a VALID new password (TWICE). It then say's he password is incorrect. IT'S A HOTMAIL PROBLEM!!!

March 16, 2013 11:33 AM

My hotmail account won't accept my password and I know it's right.and I can't get mail cause it always says connection server failed,can you please HELP!

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