Microsoft Account: How to get the most out of it and how not to get locked out


What is a Microsoft Account?

Your Microsoft Account is what you use for almost everything you do with Microsoft devices and services. Your account consists of an email and password, plus your profile info, privacy settings, communications preferences, and your billing and payment details.

In most instances your Microsoft Account will be the same email and password that you used when creating an account for online services from Microsoft such as Hotmail/Outlook.com, Xbox Live, Messenger, Skype, Office 365, OneDrive and Windows Phone.

When we launched Windows 8 back in 2012 we also began asking customers to login to their devices using a Microsoft Account, something we will continue to do with Windows 10. So to make that process as easy as possible for customers w e started to allow new Microsoft Accounts to be created using an existing email address, including those from other online service providers such as Yahoo! and Google.

 

What if I have more than one Microsoft Account?

We can help you choose which Microsoft Account you’d like to use for your single sign-in. Just tell us which email addresses you already use for each account, then we’ll help you choose which one to keep, and explain how to change the others. In some cases we can even help you merge your accounts so you don’t have to choose between them.

 

Where do I go to find out about my latest Microsoft Account activity?

The Microsoft Account Dashboard enables you to manage your account. From updating your info, to reviewing your purchases and updating your subscriptions.

 

What does Two Step Verification mean?

Two-step verification is a security measure to ensure that only you have access to the online services associated to your Microsoft Account. As the name suggests, it requires us to ask you for two pieces of information anytime you access your account from a device that isn’t trusted — for example, your password plus a code sent to a phone or alternative email address registered to your Microsoft Account.

To review whether Two-Step Verification has been enabled on your account please visit – https://account.live.com/proofs/Manage

 

Why is it important to keep your personal info up to date?

Two-step Verification is a great tool to help protect your account, but it does require you to be careful to keep your account up to date. If your security information changes (i.e. phone or alternative email), it’s important to update your Microsoft Account before you stop using the old info.

If you know your password but lose access to your secondary security proof, customer support cannot update it for you. Your only option is to go through a recovery process that enforces a 30 day* wait before you regain access to your account. This ensures someone malicious hasn’t used this as a way to take over your
account.

Also, please note that if you lose access to your password AND all your security info you will not be able to regain access to your account.

To add security information to your Microsoft Account, sign in to your Microsoft Account, and go to the Security & Password page. Under Security info helps keep your account secure, follow the instructions to add or update different types of security info (such as an alternative email address or phone number)

*“You may be asked to fill out a security questionnaire, you’ll be asked for info like the subject lines of email you recently sent from your account, your birthdate, credit card info, and other details only you would know. There may be a 30-day waiting period to get full access to your account. Learn more about security info here: Security info & security codes.”

 

What do I do if my Microsoft Account has been blocked or hacked?

If your Microsoft Account has been compromised – or hacked – it means that someone has stolen your password and might be using your account to access your personal info or send spam. We can help you recover your account and help prevent it from being hacked again.

 

How do I close my account?

When you close your Microsoft Account your email and contacts are deleted from our servers and cannot be recovered. The email address will be released 60 days after you close the account and can then be used by someone else. If you use your Microsoft Account with other Microsoft services, you will no longer be able to access them. Get more info on the effects of Closing a Microsoft Account or find out How do I close my Microsoft Account?

 

Does anything happen if I don’t use my Outlook.com account for a while?

To keep your Outlook.com account active you must sign in to the account at least once every 365 days. After 365 days of inactivity, your email will be deleted and cannot be recovered. After 2 years of inactivity, your Microsoft Account will be deleted and cannot be recovered. 

 

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