When you can't sign in to your Microsoft account

Applies to: Microsoft account

What does this guided walk-through do?

Provides steps to help you get back into your Microsoft account.

How does it work?

We'll begin by asking you questions about the issue you're experiencing. Next, we’ll take you through a series of troubleshooting steps that are specific to your situation.

To reset your password:

  1. Go to the Recover your account page.
  2. Enter the email address, phone number, or Skype ID you used when you made your Microsoft account. This could be any email address, or an email ending in a Microsoft domain like hotmail.com or outlook.com.
  3. If you have security info on your account, we'll send a one-time code to the alternate phone number or email address you gave us. After you enter that code on the next screen, you'll be able to make a new password.
  4. Enter your new password, then select Next.

For more info about forgotten passwords, see How to reset your Microsoft account password.

Want to sign in securely without a password next time? Use phone sign-in and the Authenticator app.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

We're glad this guide helped get you back into your account.

We're sorry this guide wasn't able to help you get back into your Microsoft account. Please contact us for further assistance.

To find your Microsoft account using your security information.

  1. Look up your username using your security contact phone number or email address.
  2. Request a security code to be sent to the phone number or email you used.
  3. Enter the code and select Next.
  4. When you see the account you're looking for, select Sign in.

If you haven’t set up or don’t have access to your security contact information, you can try looking for your Microsoft account username within the product or services that you're using.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

  • Verify that Caps Lock is turned off and your email address is spelled correctly. 
  • Clear your browser history (here's how for Microsoft Edge and for Internet Explorer).
  • Try signing in to your account from a different internet browser.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

If you're worried that someone gained unauthorized access to your account, see How to recover a hacked or compromised Microsoft account.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

If you’ve taken the extra security step of turning on two-step verification, some apps and devices will tell you your password is incorrect, because they haven’t been updated to prompt you for a security code. Instead of your regular password, you’ll need to use an app password to get in.

Learn more about App passwords and two-step verification.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

If you see a message that says "We're not ready for you yet" when you try to sign in to your account, you probably changed your security info and you're in the 30-day waiting period.

If you have two-step verification enabled:

During this 30-day period, you won't be able to sign in to your account unless you have the Microsoft Authenticator app and had previously set it up on this account, or you have access to your old security information. This includes not being able to sign in to other Microsoft services such as Outlook.com or OneDrive.

If you don't have two-step verification enabled:

During this 30-day period, you can still access most Microsoft services, such as email, Skype, OneDrive, and devices. You can view, change, or add billing information, and make purchases. However, you won't be able to do things that require a security code, like changing your password, email addresses or manage parental controls online.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

If you try to sign in to your account and receive a message that it's been locked, it's because activity associated with your account might violate our Terms of Use.

Here is an example:

compliancelock

Select the message (below Unlocking your account) you receive:

Go to PIN sign-in issues for tips on how to reset your PIN.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

If you're having problems signing in to Hotmail or Outlook.com, make sure:

  • Caps Lock is turned off (passwords are case sensitive).

  • Your email address is spelled correctly.

  • Your account hasn't been inactive for more than 365 days. 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.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

Microsoft accounts work across all Microsoft devices, apps, and services, but a local account only works on the device where you created it. 

When you create a local account, choose a password and keep it safe are essential steps. Because we don’t know your password, if you forget it or lose it, we cannot recover it for you.

If you're having trouble signing into a local account on a specific Windows device, see Reset your Windows 10 local account password.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

To do this:

  1. On the device you want to trust, go to the Security settings page and sign in to your Microsoft account.
  2. You'll be prompted to enter a security code. Choose whether to receive the code through email, text, or an authenticator app. Once you have the code, enter it in the text box.
  3. Select the check box for I sign in frequently on this device. Don't ask me for a code. and then select Submit.

    Help us protect your account

Are you able to sign in to your account?

Microsoft always keeps an eye out for unusual sign-in activity on your account, just in case someone else is trying to get into your account. If you're travelling to a new place or using a new device, we might ask you to confirm that it really is you.

Things to do before you travel

  • Make sure that your Microsoft account security is up to date. Everyone with a Microsoft account needs to have up-to-date security contact info, which is an alternate email address or phone number where you can get security codes.
  • Download and install the Microsoft Authenticator app

Tips

  • You don't need Wi-Fi or mobile data to use the Microsoft Authenticator app. Additionally, because the app stops running as soon as you close it, it won't drain your battery.
  • Use automatic replies to tell people that you won't be responding to their messages right away. Automatic replies are sent once to each sender. Learn how to send automatic replies in Outlook.com.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

Verification codes are sent to the phone number or email address listed in your Microsoft account. When you don't receive the verification code:

  • Check whether your phone blocks calls or texts from unknown numbers. If so, change your phone settings then choose I don't have a code. We'll send another verification code.
  • Check your junk email folder for a message from a Microsoft account, and use the code sent to you. Valid verification codes come from an @accountprotection.microsoft.com email address. To receive your verification code in your inbox, mark @accountprotection.microsoft.com as a trusted sender.

  • Make sure your phone number or email address is entered correctly. To keep your information safe when you're signing in, we only show you the last two digits of your phone number or the first two characters of your email address.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

We’re sorry that your issue can‘t be fixed with this guide. 

For the protection of your account, Microsoft has strict policies on how our support team can help you with your account, and agents are unable to provide account information without proper validation. 

You can keep retrying different passwords and the recovery form can be attempted twice per day.


If you don't have two-step verification turned on:

  1. Go to https://account.live.com/acsr and provide the email address, phone number, or username for the account you are trying to recover. 
  2. Provide an email address (other than the one you are trying to recover) that we can use to contact you about your request.
  3. Enter the characters you see on the screen to prove you're not a robot, then select Next.
  4. A screen will pop up asking you to verify the contact email address. Check that email for a message from us with the security code, enter that code, then select Verify.
  5. Fill in as much info as you can, even if you're not sure.

  6. Select Submit when you're finished, and we'll respond within 24 hours.

Did you submit the recovery form?

If you don’t recognize any of the contact methods listed, select the back arrow  on your browser and make sure you have entered the correct username. Sometimes a misspelling can send you in the wrong direction.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

If you receive the following message:

Choose Next

  1. Select Next.
  2. Enter a phone number to request a security code be sent to you via text message. This can be any phone that can receive text messages.
  3. After the text arrives, enter the security code into the web page. Make sure that you enter the numbers in the body of the message, and not the numbers in the header.
  4. Change your password to complete the unlocking process.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

If you receive the following message:

compliancelock

  1. Go to aka.ms/compliancelock.
  2. Then, select Microsoft locked account review form and complete the form.

Did you submit the Microsoft locked account review form?

If you're having problems with Outlook.com, check the service status. If the status isn't green, wait until the service is running normally and try again.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

Your account might be temporarily blocked because we noticed some unusual sign-in activity. If your account is blocked, see Unblock my Outlook.com account.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

Microsoft always keeps an eye out for unusual sign-in activity, just in case someone else is trying to get into your account. If you're travelling to a new place or using a new device, we might ask you to confirm that it really is you.

See How to access Outlook.com when travelling for more information.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

If you have two-step verification enabled:

During this 30-day period, you won't be able to sign in to your account unless you have the Microsoft Authenticator app and had previously set it up on this account, or you have access to your old security information. This includes not being able to sign in to other Microsoft services such as Outlook.com or OneDrive.

If you don't have two-step verification enabled:

During this 30-day period, you can still access most Microsoft services, such as email, Skype, OneDrive, and devices. You can view, change, or add billing information, and make purchases. However, you won't be able to do things that require a security code, like changing your password, email addresses or manage parental controls online.

Are you able to sign in to your account?

To fix the issue, try the following solutions:

  • Check whether the device is connected to the Internet. If the device isn't connected to the Internet, you may have to use an old password.
  • If you’re trying to sign in with a child account, check the family safety settings of the parent account. Learn more about Microsoft family features.

Are you able to sign in to your account?