The account recovery form is meant to be the last option to get you back into your account. If you haven’t tried resetting your password yet, first go to Forgotten password and other sign-in problems for troubleshooting suggestions. If, however, you can’t reset your password or an attacker changed your account settings, the recovery form gives you a chance to prove that you own your account.
This article walks you through the account recovery process, and offers tips and tricks to help get you into your account as quickly as possible.
Before you begin
The account recovery form works by asking questions about your account that only you could answer. Then, we review your answers and respond within 24 hours with either instructions to get back in to your account or a denial. Keep these tips in mind to help you succeed:
- Use a computer we’ll recognize. If possible, fill out the form on a computer that you’ve used to sign in to your account before.
- Answer as many questions as possible. Not all the questions will apply to you, and that's ok. Don't worry if you don't have an answer. But it's better to guess and be close than to leave a question blank.
- Give us a working email to contact you. We won't use this email address for spam, only to give you the results of your recovery request. You can even use a friend's account, or create a free temporary email.
Fill out the recovery form
Follow these steps to get to the recovery form:
- Go to the Password reset page.
- Select the reason you can't sign in, then click Next.
- Enter the email address or phone number you used to create your Microsoft account.
- Enter the characters you see on the screen to prove you're not a robot, then click Next.
- Select I don't have any of these when asked to verify your identity, then click Next.
- You may be asked if you have an account recovery code. This is something you would have created in the past and saved in a secure location, not a code that was sent to your phone or email. If you can find your code, enter it here. Otherwise, click No.
Now you should be at the page that says Recover your Microsoft account. Follow these steps to fill out the form and send your recovery request.
- Check to make sure the account name listed under Microsoft account is yours, and is spelled correctly. If not, start over from the Password reset page.
- Enter an email address that we can use to contact you about your account recovery, then click Next.
- A screen pops up asking you to verify that email address. We'll send you a security code in an email. Enter that code here, and click Verify.
- Now you're asked to answer several questions about yourself and your account. Fill in as much information as you can, even if you're not sure.
- Click Submit when you're finished.
After you've submitted
We'll send the results of your recovery request to the email address you gave us in the form. This can take up to 24 hours because our support team reviews the forms that have guesses or almost-right answers.
If your recovery request is accepted, we'll send you instructions to recover your account. After you get back in to your account, make sure you set up security info to help prevent this from happening again.
If your request was denied, you can keep trying up to two times per day. If you don't remember enough information to successfully recover your account, you'll have to create a new one. To protect everyone's privacy, our support agents can't see your account details or unlock accounts.
Article ID: 17875 - Last Review: Jun 22, 2016 - Revision: 19