A reader is having a hard time retrieving a lost password for a Microsoft email account. Microsoft email addresses include those ending with outlook.com, hotmail.com, livemail.com, and msn.com.

“I get all the way to signing in and run into a stop, cause of my password. I get to the site to change the password, but run into the problem of their not responding to me because I don’t do text and etc or have a “new-fangled phone” for them to send me a password and if I enter my home or cell number, I get a message then cannot send to it?”

When you set up your contact information with Microsoft in case you need to retrieve your password, you have four options. You can choose to receive a text, a phone call, use a smartphone app, or put in an alternate email address where they will email you a reset code.  If you haven’t put in an alternate address (or can’t remember it or no longer have access to that address), try the following.

If you don’t have or can’t get to your security info (your alternate phone number or email address), click I didn’t get a code when you’re prompted for a code at sign-in, or I don’t have access to these when you’re resetting your password, then follow the instructions.

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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. You don’t have to know every answer, and it’s ok to be close if you don’t know the exact answer.

The best way to avoid this issue is to make sure your account security contact info is up-to-date before there’s an issue. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you’ll want to check in every few months and make sure your information is up-to-date with Microsoft. click here to go to the Microsoft Security Basics Page. Sign in to your account.  Click on Update your security info.

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You’ll need to confirm your password.

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You’ll be able to add or change the contact phone number for the account.

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If you don’t have a phone capable of receiving texts, you can ask to be called instead.

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Anytime you change your phone number or perhaps switch ISPs, you’ll want to make sure this information changes as well.  As with everything in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.