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

I get a constant stream of people asking me to re-open their Hotmail or other email account as if I were Hotmail or their ISP. Problem is: I'm not.

My 2 accounts are blocked: *****@hotmail.com and ***@hotmail.com. I already asked to unblock them. I couldn't send any e-mail. The only "improvement" is that now I even can't sign into my hotmail accounts and open my mail box. So I cant see e-mails I received. And I need these two accounts - I applied for jobs, sending my CV to companies and gave my e-mail address to be able to receive reply. Which i cant now!!!!!

Yes, I sent maybe too many e-mails. When we apply for job, we don't send only 5 emails, do we?? I'm not sending any junk mails.

Please don't send me any advice by email as I cant see it. Tell me how to unblock it or send me some number where I can call to solve it. My address: ****@****.cz

I'm really upset. How can you block it without letting me know, as now I'm like blind and may loose a chance to get a job.

So be that kind and let me use my accounts again.

(My apologies in advance to those of you who tire of this type of question, but honestly - I'm just reacting to the frequency with which I see it in my own inbox, and my own resulting frustration.)

I get questions worded like this all the time. I have no idea why.

I did not close your account. I cannot open it.

I am not Hotmail: I don't work for them, I have no special access to their servers. Ten years ago I worked for Microsoft, but never even came close to Hotmail.

Today I just have this website where I answer tech questions - many of which happen to be about Hotmail.

So with that in mind, let me advise you on what I think you should do in the situation you're in.

To begin with, you should never have allowed yourself to get into this situation.

"I honestly wish I could magically open your account for you, but I cannot."

Placing anything important only in a free email account is asking for exactly the experience you're having. Using a free email account for anything as important as job hunting or - as I've also seen - running your business, not only sends a very bad message to the recipient, but you also run the very real risk of losing access just when you need it most.

Just as you have experienced.

Get your own domain name, use that for your email and you'll never need to change your email address again. Get an email account at your ISP, registrar or another service that has real people answering customer service calls over the phone. Just as most all of the free services do not.

Enough about what you should have done differently.

You're here, now, with email accounts that have importance to you, and you can't access them.

What do you do?

I have to be honest and say that the chances of recovering your account are not good.

So to start with you should set up a more appropriate email account as described above and begin the process of switching all of your important usage to it.

Next, in the case of Hotmail, you should visit the Windows Live Help center. They are Hotmail, and if they elect to, only they can help you.

The problem is that they frequently do not. My assumption is that they're simply not staffed to be able to help the incredible volume of questions, requests and complaints that I'm sure they get.

However, you will find discussion forums where you may find additional information, often from other Hotmail users. And yes, actual Windows Live Hotmail representatives are also known to post in those forums.

I do wish you the best of luck. I honestly wish I could magically open your account for you, but I cannot.

I am not Hotmail.

I'm just Leo.

Article C4334 - June 5, 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.

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22 Comments
Jacob
June 5, 2010 11:04 PM

LOL, If people are contacting you Leo about getting Hotmail access than my guess is they are not tech savvy enough to figure out how to buy a domain, hosting service and setup their own e-mail.

I know you love helping people but having your inbox fill up with questions like the one you posted above is just a waist of your time.

When we had a brief discussion out on the wall of my Facebook fan page and someone raised the stupidity issue as well. While I don't doubt that there are indeed stupid people out there, I choose to hope that this is an honest misunderstanding, either due to language or cultural issues, or due to the panic people in these situations are feeling.

Even if their technical skills are low I would hope they could at least opt for a service (paid or otherwise) that has real, honest, technical support. In fact, if their technical skills are low that becomes even more important.

My concern's not so much about wasting my time - I mean if I'm getting the same question over and over again then it's probably something I should answer. My concern's more about their time. They are wasting their time if they contact me thinking I'm Hotmail.

Since I do get variants of this question so often it was time to address it. Now I have something that a) I hope more people will find, and b) I can point people to when they ask similar questions.
Leo
05-Jun-2010

Mark Jacobs
June 6, 2010 11:55 PM

One suggestion: if that happens is to open a new email address and notify everyone on your email list. It should get most of you emails resent and reestablish contact with your new address.
And I might be wrong about this but it seems like Hotmail has the most problems of the free providers.

PaulM
June 7, 2010 8:47 AM

Leo, how do you keep from facepalming?

You're assuming I don't. Smile
Leo
08-Jun-2010

Ken B
June 7, 2010 9:03 AM

Well, if you search for things like "I forgot my hotmail password", "recover my hotmail account", or similar such phrases, your site usually comes up either first, or among the top three. Some people don't bother doing any more "research" than that.

Such is the cost of fame. :-)

Nick
June 8, 2010 9:40 AM

One protection against the loss of a free email account such as Hotmail is to have all the incoming emails forwarded to another free email account. for example you could also open an account with GMX and have all your emails forwarded there from your Hotmail account. Also BCC your replies there. That way, even if your Hotmail (etc) account goes down you would still have a complete record in the other one. Chances of them both going down at the same time are pretty slim, I'd have thought.

Jeff Lentz
June 8, 2010 9:51 AM

Sheesh. It's probably an Darwinian electronic selection technique at work. Folks who apply for jobs using e-mail are most likely expected by their employers to have some technical expertise, and this is how they weed out those who wouldn't survive in a technical office setting.

Sean
June 8, 2010 9:52 AM

From all these questions concerning hotmail I have come to the conclusion that it really sucks and that people should use Yahoo mail / GMail.

I mean seriously how on EARTH can hotmail be the second (nearly first) most popular email client when it continues to fail in such an epic way

Yahoo mail / GMail > Hotmail

Skip
June 8, 2010 9:53 AM

You say get a paid email account. Which one? Could you name a few?
Since I am with Cox, should I go with them? I think they use microsoft and I am not going to use that.

That's this article: What for-pay email providers do you recommend?
Leo
09-Jun-2010

Janis Ralston
June 8, 2010 10:01 AM

I read frustration in your response to the high volume of hotmail questions. I'm sorry you are inundated with tons of questions that are not meant to be answered in the scope of your column.
So..... this is just a note to say what you DO answer in your column is appreciated by many readers. I enjoy getting advice before I jump into things, or in my novice attempts to fix my I-D-ten-T errors. :)

Mike
June 8, 2010 10:18 AM

I might feel sorry for these guys, but you get what you pay for. Pay nothing, get nothing. Anything extra is a bonus. My daughter subscribes to an ISP which provides email service, ID and address. But she still uses a free Yahoo address. At 25, she's beyond me trying to educate her. And her husband also uses Yahoo for email, although he also has email access through the ISP. Leo, you have my sympathy; Artifical Intelligence is still no match for Natural Stupidity.

Reid
June 8, 2010 10:38 AM

I'd consider myself an expert in PC technology and have a Hotmail account. Started it about 15 years ago and am sooo invested in it. However, I PAY $20/year for my subscription. Does anyone know if that offers me any protection, or just extra space, larger attachments and no advertising? I guess I'd better get my act together and start the oh-so-painful moving process. :'(

My question to you: with that paid account, do you get "real" customer support? That would be a big plus, based on my experience.
Leo
09-Jun-2010

Tyson Richards
June 8, 2010 11:07 AM

Leo, I am sure you are aware of this page but others may not be and it's kinda hard to find. I help people with computer problems from time to time and one of my clients hotmail was hacked recently and she could not login. Everyone in her email list was getting bogus email. She filled out this information page and was assigned a private response number and was able to get her account reset and is now back to normal. Here is the link. This may be a different situation than an account closed for abusive use.
https://windowslivehelp.com/PasswordReset.aspx

I have indeed heard of this page, but I hear about it in two ways: sometimes it works. However the majority of reports I get are that people have done that and never heard back. I should highlight it though, with that caveat.
Leo
09-Jun-2010

Mark Jacobs
June 8, 2010 2:03 PM

That suggestion of forwarding to a second free-mail account is great. To make this even easier you can open a GMail account(even if your first account is also GMail)and have that back-up GMail account automatically download all the email from the first account.

I have several email accounts and I access them all through a GMail account so I know it works. I never realized that I was creating a back-up but in effect I have.

Daniel Allen
June 8, 2010 8:52 PM

My technicians have just installed Windows 7. They advise me on the best software and mail accounts I should use. Also,I bought a copy of "Windows 7 for Dummies" (Nothing proud about me Leo) and I am learning a lot from it. The person who attacked you over the hotmail account should consider borrowing the dummies books from the library. They sound insulting titles, but they are really very informative for an average user like me. Oh, and I am about to buy you a Latte Leo.:)

Tom
June 9, 2010 6:40 AM

I have 3 Hotmail accounts, 4 gMail accounts, a Yahoo account, an Opera mail account, and 3 ISP email addresses (that I do not use). In 10+ years I have not had any problems. I do not abuse any of these accounts.
You nay ask, why so many. Other than the ISP email addresses, all the others are for different purposes. It is a way of separating my different interests.
My main traffic comes through gMail because of the terrific S P A M control.

Luis
June 9, 2010 8:59 AM

I run a legit IT business from home, my clients have 2 e-mail addresses to contact me, one of them
is from my ISP supplier, I wonder how can someone depend only from free e-mail for any serious activity?, sheesh, get real, are we all that dumb (sorry for the reality check?),or what. You do great Leo on all that is technical questions though, thumbs up!.

Joe
June 9, 2010 3:49 PM

Ok, seriously Leo, if you are the madman behind hotmail,I think it is only appropriate to claim you are the one who never delivered my pizza. I WANT MY PIZZA (and pick up a 6-pack of cheap beer). Asking you to reopen someone's email is like asking... well ok I'll be polite. hehe. Don't forget the pizza.

That was a pepperoni pizza, right? I'll get right on that.
Leo
10-Jun-2010

Benmara
June 9, 2010 9:36 PM

#1 Leo, I love your e-letter...been "larning a lot"
#2 no legitimate company/enterprise has EVER sent me an email through these "freebies" so if you are trying to be "legit" through one you're better off just forgetting it. I own my own web site through which I send friends/serious mail and my ***@hotmail for signing up for e-letters, etc, until I am certain they are also legit (and Leo is!!!). Soon I'll try to figure out how to get him to change from hotmail to my real address...till then I will keep reading and learning! GO LEO!!
p.s Leo...unblock me, LOLOLOL

Henk
June 12, 2010 2:48 AM

Hi Leo,
I am using a hotmail account since yeeears. Never had any trouble with it. Two 'normal' ISP accounts (paid) sometimes block confirmation mails from e.g. hotels in the US or an airline in Brussels. Hotmail doesn't. So it sometimes comes in handy. Thanks for your nice articles!

rachel
October 20, 2011 9:43 AM

if i closed my hotmail account, then re-opened it would i still recieve any emails that had been sent to me in the time it was closed?

Nope.

Leo
22-Oct-2011
ammar al-shamma
January 5, 2012 4:50 AM

I thank you so much for your co-operation .
I have closed my account because there is a violation by many persons and i wish to return back it after I choose another password to avoid the problem of violation I faced ,THANKS

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December 15, 2012 3:49 AM

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