Hotmail verification block on all accounts

I have multiple Hotmail accounts. I tried to log in today but it is saying: “We’ve detected something unusual about this sign-in. For example, you might be signing in from a new location, device or app”.

So it then requests that I enter a code sent to my other email, but when I try and log into that account it also requests a verification code, sent to the other blocked account. So a Catch 22 situation.

So then I’ve started an account recovery process, for which I’ve had to create a Gmail account. As part of the account recovery, I have to provide “Email addresses of contacts you’ve recently sent emails to (one per text box)” and also “Subjects of your recently sent emails (one per text box)”. This is nuts! I have to provide personal information to Microsoft about who I’m emailing and the subjects of those emails - WTF! I don’t even remember who my recent emails were to or the subjects, so I’m a bit stuck.

I wasn’t sure whether to put this in GQ, the Pit or here. Any advice on what to do?

Hotmail is still around?
I swear I read that Microsoft retired it in 2013.

It’s just renamed as Outlook now, I think.

I just clicked on my bookmark, and got in quick, no fuss.

I use a Hotmail account for third-level security. Gmail for my personal friends, yahoo for trusted business or strangers, Hotmail for not fully trusted logins, memberships, etc.

Last month I had the same runaround in South Amrica, whre my tablet crashed. I tried to log in on another computer, and got the verification tag match between gmail and yahoo accounts, which was impossible to resolve until I got home to a recognized machine.

How is it that you think that email addresses to which you’ve sent mail and the subject lines of those messages are “personal information”? This is stuff that went, in plain text, through Microsoft’s servers (as it was transmitting the messages). It’s hardly secret.

Unlikely. Email has not been plaintext for a while. The server is likely HTTPS and the email is probably TLS encrypted.

And I do hate this penchant for browser identification as a security method. It just encourages people to stay logged in at all times and discourages clearing cookies. The extra protection is minimal, as IP addresses are nearly always sufficient to tell itisnt you, and spam detection can tell if a spammer got in.

That said, you shouldn’t create a catch-22 like this in your recovery email addresses. It should not be a loop. In the future, I suggest linking at least one to your ISP’s email account, which assumedly will not have a problem with identification, and will already need to have your phone number, so you can verify that way.

Of, if you’re willing to give Microsoft your cell phone number, do that for a least one account. Then they would just text you the code.

I’ll get this kind of thing randomly when accessing hotmail from my phone. I’ve always been able to clear it up by logging in from one of my regular computers.

This situation sounds really nerve-wracking. BigT is correct; your backup email address should never be on the same service. But it’s too late for that now.

If you have another device available, like a tablet or phone, try logging in from it. It might still have the cookie that will allow Outlook to recognize the device.

If that’s not feasible, I recommend taking a stab at the information they’re requesting (email addresses and subjects). I don’t think they’re looking for exact matches—just something close enough to demonstrate that you have a general idea what’s in the account.

I know that, they know that, they know that I know that, I know that they know that I know that. They could at least pretend that I have some privacy and that they’re not snooping around my emails. So I’m supposed to inform Microsoft that I recently ordered a XXL butt plug from Dildos 'R Us and that I’m having a love triangle with an actress and a bishop*?!

It just seems a bit strange to me that they are asking for this kind of information. I did order some stuff off of Amazon recently, so I’ll log in to that and see if I can use some order information to use as verification info.

  • Neither of these things are true.

That reminds me that I had this same issue a while back. I was on holiday in another country in the week before I was moving into a new rental property. I found myself blocked from my email account, which necessitated a lot of international telephoning and faxing with the rental agents.

I don’t remember how I resolved it last time, although I certainly didn’t have to answer verification questions about the contents of my emails. I do remember, though, that I said to myself that I should try and make sure it couldn’t happen again, as it could prove disastrous if I was blocked from my email when I was in a distant country for an extended period of time.

So I guess I should do that now. Anyone know of any ways of preventing an issue like this from happening? Perhaps a different email provider?

Yes, if I can ever get into my emails again, I’ll link them to an account from a different email provider. I thought I’d already given them my phone number, and that may be how I resolved it last time, but I couldn’t find an option for this this time.

My main email is with Not only no problems ( other than it being IMAP = online, whereas strictly I prefer downloadable POP ), but they’re big on privacy and all that.
Prolly ideal for you as a secondary or primary account.

Hooray! I managed to get my accounts back. I had to use Google to find email addresses of organizations I’d recently sent emails to, and used my Amazon account to check things I’d recently ordered to use as keywords in the required subject fields. Since one account was linked to the other, I was able to unlock both.

So now to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I’ll link one or more email addresses to the Gmail account and link the Gmail account to one of the others. I’ll also look into, so thanks for the suggestion. I had not heard of POP and IMAP before now.

So let’s imagine a scenario. I am travelling around the world for six months. In one version of the scenario, I have a laptop or portable device, but am accessing the internet via local sources, such as an internet cafe or hotel wifi. In the second version of the scenario I don’t have my own device and am logging in to my email from local computers, so the device that the email provider recognizes might change every time.

Are either of these methods safe with regards to accessing and reading emails? Would one type of email provider be better than another?

The main thing is that you need a link out. I believe Gmail requires you to use a phone number verification of some kind–thought they will let you use a landline. That will let you into that account.

Just don’t create an endless loop that goes A to B to C to D to A. There always needs to be a link out. And I suggest either your phone or your email address from your ISP.

Thanks. Searching online, there are others discussing the same issue of being locked out of an email account while abroad. One nightmare is recounted here and there’s a thread on the subject here*. Microsoft’s Hotmail/Outlook looks to be a bad choice for a travel email account. There are a couple of recommendations for one called Hushmail.

I’ve been through all the options in my Hotmail account and can’t see how to link another account for verification purposes. I can link another account to send and receive emails, which I’ve now done, but there’s no mention about whether the linked email account can be used for recovery verification purposes. So I’ve no idea whether I’m still stuck in an internal Hotmail loop or whether I now have an external email outlet if I ever get locked out again. Microsoft really sucks.

* [Direct link, since otherwise, for some reason, it sometimes links to the Lonely Planet shop]