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Though inactive Hotmail accounts are open for a some time before they're closed, spammers can make it appear as though an account is still active.

I've been getting email from the Hotmail account of someone who is reportedly deceased. How long is a Hotmail account inactive before they recycle it and make it available to someone else to use?

That does sound a little unnerving, to be sure. I know I'd be a little 'weirded out' if I got email from someone whom I knew has passed away.

I don't have an exact number, but I believe Hotmail accounts hang around for several months. I'd guess around six.

But it's more likely that the email is the result of "From address spoofing", a common technique that spammers and some viruses use which doesn't require that the account be active at all. My article "Someone's sending from my email address! How do I stop them?!" discusses how that can happen.

Article C2273 - February 1, 2005 « »

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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?

March 4, 2005 4:27 AM

I also just received an email yesterday evening (March 2005) from a very old friend of mine who has a Hotmail account. His son wrote to me last August to tell me his father had died in June last year. The son tells me he has been trying to access his father's Hotmail account for the past five months without success, he says he's the only one with the password. The email asks me how I am, asks me to write back soon with all my news and sends me kisses from this person. This is freaking us all out. Strangely, it is written in a similar way to how he would have written to me. And the daughter had also received an email from the deceased father and using a pet name that he had for her!

March 10, 2005 11:20 AM

I have not used my email since 3-4 years and I forgot my password also. Can you please fix it.

March 10, 2005 11:39 AM

After three or four years, I'm certain it's gone.

October 21, 2005 10:30 AM

my account is inactive so how can i active my hotmail messages account

March 14, 2006 1:59 PM

i had folders on my old account and i got a new account a while ago,i used to check every once in a while that i still had the old folders on my old account and then just recently,there all gone! im so upset,these emails in theese folders were very important

Did hotmail delete my folders because i barely use my old account? is THERE absolutly anyways i can get these back somehow!! please help me thank you

Andy Stronge
November 13, 2006 1:14 AM

I have a similar problem to query from Bree on March 14th 2006. I failed to use my hotmail email account for a number of months. When I signed in after that time the account had been deactivated. I reactivated teh account but all my files had been removed. Is there any way I can retrieve these files?



Leo Notenboom
November 13, 2006 8:26 AM

That's this article:

August 5, 2007 11:40 PM

How can i know when an e-mail address is avaliable.. I go to write to a certain someone and it says DELIVERY STATUS NOTIFICATION (FAILURE).... wHAT DOES THAT MEAN.

April 23, 2008 11:55 AM

This account has been closed

Your account has been closed because it seems to have violated our Terms of Use. To re-open your account, please do the following:

1. Click on the link below and fill out the e-mail support form.

2. In the box labeled "Please select an option", choose Connections/Sign In Problem.

3. Another box will appear. It will also be labeled "Please select an option". Choose Account Closed. Access Denied.

4. Make sure you answer all the questions that have a red star (*) by them. Then click Submit.

August 20, 2008 4:09 PM

I have my email account closed by msn due to violation of use terms like the problem alsofiani stated.
Msn replied to me that my account is closed for ever, but I need my account for business matters so badly. Pls help.


October 31, 2008 1:27 AM

i need my account back it is very important to me

November 13, 2008 10:47 AM

im trying to re-open my account and read my mail but still cant and i really need help on this its very important to keeps telling me to fill out the fourm but i see no fourm to do so...PLZ HELP!!!

julia nguyen
April 9, 2009 7:42 AM

my account is inactive so how can i active my hotmail messages account

sydney australian
April 25, 2009 3:59 PM

Dear Gentlemen, please help me as soon as the opening of the my email, since my account was closed, I do not know why, please help me, where I need is

March 16, 2010 11:43 AM

how do i transfer my prior account on to the new window's live account?

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