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

Windows Live Hotmail uses a fixed set of secret questions. You can't change which you'll be asked but you can fake it by changing which one you answer.

I know how to change my secret question. But what I would really like to know is how can I set up my own question instead having to pick one from Hotmail´s list? Can you please show me how?

As far as I can tell, you cannot.

But you can fake it.

I just checked, Windows Live Hotmail gave me a choice of 6 questions to choose from, with no option to "add your own".

Interestingly, none of the questions in the list were my secret current question. So not only can you not make your own, but you apparently can't change the answer to your current one, you must choose another.

Or perhaps the list of secret questions changes from time to time.

But there's nothing that says your answer has to be correct. In fact, it's actually more secure if it's NOT correct, just as long as you give the same incorrect answer every time.

"Complete nonsense, but it's your nonsense."

Let's say you wanted to make your secret question "What is my friend Seth's middle name?", and the answer would be "Jonathan".

We can't change the question that Windows Live is going to ask you, so just pick one at random. Say you pick "Grandfather's occupation". Now ignore that question completely, just put in "Jonathan" as the answer.

You've just faked it out. And, in doing so, you've faked out anyone who thinks they know your grandfather's occupation!

Next time you need a password reset, Windows Live will ask you:

Grandfather's occupation?

And you'll know to answer:

Jonathan

Complete nonsense, but it's your nonsense. It's the answer you gave to the question that you made up. And only you know what that question was.

Just don't forget. If you forget the answer to your fake secret question or even your real one, there's almost no way to get your account information back.

Article C3163 - September 29, 2007 « »

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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.

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2 Comments
vincent
September 30, 2007 8:46 AM

I'm sorry Leo, but my grandfather could've come up with that one ;-)

(And yes, he knows nothing of computers. In fact, he died 20 years ago...)

blanca
January 10, 2008 11:51 AM

i love hot mail.com

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