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

MSN Hotmail actually has three ways to recover your password if you've lost it, but they all require that you have set them up before you run into trouble.

So far I've covered how to change your Hotmail password, and how to change your Hotmail password if you've forgotten it. The last one involves knowing the answer to a "secret question" that you set up when you created your Hotmail account.

But what if you forget that too?

MSN Hotmail actually has three ways to recover your password if you've lost it, but they all require that you have set them up before you run into trouble. They are all simply techniques to assure that you are who you say you are, and not someone trying to hack your account. They are:

  • A secret question to which only you would know the answer. Common questions are things like the city you were born in, your first job, or your mother's maiden name.
  • An alternate email address. If you have another email account somewhere other than Hotmail, you can configure your Hotmail with the email address of another account. Hotmail can then send your password reset to that other account when you can retrieve it. Remember that you must configure this account before you run into trouble - if you can't sign in, you can't configure the alternate email address.
  • Billing information from another MSN service. If you've paid for a premium service from MSN, such as perhaps the MSN Gaming Zone, one of the password recovery options is to provide your billing information again to confirm that you are indeed you.

So what happens if none of those work?

  • You've never used a premium service, so there is no billing information to compare with.
  • You never set up an alternate email address.
  • You've forgotten the answer to your secret question.

In short: you are out of luck. Your password cannot be recovered, and you cannot access the contents of your Hotmail account.

And to be extra clear: I cannot recover your password for you.

My suggestion is simple: open up a new mail account, and learn a lesson from everything you've just lost. Configure an alternate email address, or make sure to choose a secret question whose answer you will remember.

Or move to a paid email service with real customer support.

A special note about third party so-called Hotmail password recovery services: most are scams. I've not seen a legitimate one yet and I would avoid them at all costs.

Article C2358 - May 28, 2005 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
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?

hartmut w fleiss
July 21, 2005 10:23 AM

my hotmail accout as of :
does not work anymore. it let me read, but not write any message to my friends. however, msn just draw from my bank account another $ 19.95 on may 5th 2005 for a not working e-mail. my wife also has an e-mail account as : which one works on the same computer. please contact me back to fix this problem or refund drawn money back to my account.

July 21, 2005 10:52 AM

I cannot help you, you need to contact MSN Hotmail.

July 30, 2005 10:25 AM

For the past 4 days I cannot check my emails.The first day I was checking an aol message from my friend and from that When I type my address and password it keep telling to match the characters in the picture when I do that it keep bringing up when I am to sign and does it over again.If theres anyway I can check my emails please help me.

July 30, 2005 4:55 PM

Danielle: you want this article:

August 16, 2005 3:49 PM

I figured out that my security question is way too easy to divine by other people

So I was wondering if you knew how to change your security question..

I do know my normal password!!!


August 17, 2005 8:50 AM

Nina: you want this article:

August 21, 2005 11:56 AM

i cant change my secret question how do i do it

August 21, 2005 5:11 PM

That's this article:

September 5, 2005 8:37 AM

I'm closing comments here because people are asking the same questions over and over.

1) PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE - it answers many questions that people keep asking.

2) PLEASE READ THE RELATED ARTICLES - they answer many more questions that people keep asking.


Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.