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

If you lose access to the alternate email address configured for your Hotmail account, it can be difficult, perhaps impossible, to remove or change it.

I want to remove my alternate email address to which I no longer have access. When I want to delete it from the Hotmail account, the confirmation link from Hotmail will be sent to that alternate email. I tried adding the new alternate email, but then Hotmail still sends the confirmation to the old alternate email. How can I remove the old alternate email if I no longer have access to it?

I'll be honest and tell you that I know of no simple answer to this problem.

I'll also tell you that it's frighteningly common. Either through neglect or having been hacked, many Hotmail account holders are left with invalid or inaccessible alternate email addresses.

Alternate email addresses that they can't remove or change.

While I'll discuss the only possible solution that I'm aware of, I want to use this as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of keeping your alternate email address keeping current and accessible.


One straw to grasp at

I would try heading out to Windows Live's own Windows Live ID Account Recovery Help Page. (A Hotmail account is a Windows Live ID.) There you'll be taken through a form where you can "prove" that you are the rightful account owner and may be able to have Windows Live customer support help you with the alternate email address issue.

I know of no other direct solution to this problem.

I'd encourage you to review What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options? for perhaps some more ideas that might fit your specific situation, including access to the Windows Live help forums, where I have seen Microsoft representatives participate.

But that's it.

Beyond that, I got nothing.

The importance of your alternate

By now, I hope you realize just how critically important your alternate email address is.

It's something that's overlooked by many and either not set at all or set to something which is then either forgotten or allowed to become inactive.

Once that happens, it's extremely difficult to correct. In fact, I'm tempted to say that it's practically impossible when it comes to Hotmail.

Fortunately, many email services are starting to display periodic reminders – a message that says, "If you lose access to your account this email address is where you can send recovery information – is it still valid?"

Do not ignore that message!

Make sure that email address is valid and that you can access it.

If not, do what you can – if you can – to recover, change, or remove that as your alternate email address.

Note: *I* cannot help you recover your Hotmail account or alternate email address and requests to do so posted in comments will simply be deleted. What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options? has everything I know to help you get your account back.

Article C5346 - May 16, 2012 « »

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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?

May 18, 2012 9:26 AM

If you are using a hotmail or live mail or address for professional use, start a plan to move away from that address. As a support professional my advice is to find a reputable local mail hosting firm, pay them to establish your own domain and start using that. The only way to have complete control over your email is to own your own domain.

May 19, 2012 4:01 AM

I wonder how many decades Leo has had this question asked(I dumped Hotmail a long time ago.

I've been doing this since 2003, and Hotmail password related questions were a topic from day 1. Smile

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