Passwords seem to be a hot topic among MSN Hotmail users. Apparently people lose them frequently, because I get a lot
of questions relating to password loss and theft.
If you've simply forgotten your password, MSN Hotmail does provide at least one level of back-door that you can use to recover it - your alternate email address or secret question. If you don't have those, you're probably out of luck.
Here's the approach to take when you've lost your password....
If your sign in to Hotmail fails, notice that there's a link immediately below the password field:
Click on that, and you'll be taken the "match the picture" question:
This dialog exists solely to prove that you are human ... current technology makes it extremely difficult for computer to examine that picture and understand the letters that are displayed within it. It's not always that easy for humans either! But the point is to prevent computer programs from being written which can try to guess passwords in some high-speed automated fashion ... you have to prove you're human first.
Assuming you are
human, you're then given two options:
If you've configured Hotmail with an alternate email address, as I strongly
recommend you do, you can have Hotmail email you at the alternate address
a special message with a link that will then allow you to select a new Hotmail password.
Since most people having problems are using Hotmail as their only email address (another practice I strongly
discourage), we'll go the other route and click on "Provide account information and answer your secret question." (If you don't know the answer to your secret question, see the related articles below.)
You'll then see this screen:
Enter the requested information exactly as you answered it when you set up the account. Assuming you get it correct, you'll then be taken to the Create a Password screen:
Once your password has been changed, if you do not have an alternate email address, Hotmail will prompt you to optionally create one:
And you're done!