A reader asks:
What can I do if my account has been hacked and I haven’t already added security information to it?
It would be easier to recover your account if you had already associated it with information that cybercriminals can’t easily access, like your mobile phone number or an alternate email address. For example, if your account is compromised, Microsoft could send you an account-recapture code in a text message to help you regain access to your account. If you do have access to your account, add security information to your account now.
If your account has been hacked and you can’t get access to it, the first thing you should do is scan your computer for viruses. Do this before you try to change your password. Hackers get your password through malware that's been installed on your PC without your knowledge (for example, when you download a new screen saver, toolbar, or other software from an untrustworthy source.) It’s important to clear your PC of viruses or malware before you change your password. That way, the hackers won’t get your new password.
If your computer is running Windows 8
Use the built-in Windows Defender to help you get rid of a virus or other malware.
From the Search charm, search for defender, and then open Windows Defender.
On the Home tab, choose a scan option, and then tap or click Scan now.
In addition to the color codes for your PC’s overall security status, Windows Defender applies an alert level to any suspected malware it detects. You can decide whether to remove an item entirely, research it further, or let it run because you recognize it.
If your computer is running Windows 7 or Windows Vista
Run the Microsoft Safety Scanner. The scanner works with the antivirus software that you already have on your computer, regardless of whether the software is from Microsoft.
Download Microsoft Security Essentials for free, and then use the software to run a scan of your computer. For more information, see Help protect your PC with Microsoft Security Essentials. (Note: Some viruses will prevent you from downloading Microsoft Security Essentials. If you can’t download the software, follow the instructions for using Windows Defender Offline.)
Some malicious software can be difficult to remove. If your antivirus software detects malware but can’t remove it, follow these steps.
Get more help removing viruses
Once you’ve scanned your computer for viruses, reset the password on your account.
If you can’t reset your password, and you haven’t already added security information to your account, you can still get back into the account by filling out a questionnaire. You will be asked specific questions about the account and email messages that might be stored there. Someone will get back to you within 24 hours (typically a lot sooner).
For more information, see How to recover your hacked Microsoft account.
I have requested help with getting my old email, back as I deleted it and I did not want to do that...so I did get another email well, you sent me information to recover my old email address...well as above it is very frustrating to try and remember the information you want to recover...as I can see above from others that they are having problems too. when I signed up like 15 years ago I had this email and I so want to get it back...how do you suggest I get it...besides trying to remember a bunch of stuff I don't remember....couldn't you ask me something that is easier ...please help me...I don't want to lose all my contacts etc.
Thanking you in advance for any help you can give me...
I received a recovery note when I signed on. I use my hotmail account daily. I tried to add my mobile phone number to my security info, but your automatic settings would not allow it until I input my "security code" but I can't receive the "security code" until I input my mobile phone number. Endless loop.
I have two msn acct I am tring to recover my acct but the link you sent me to change my security on the acct doesn't work I have been locked out of that acct for 3 months now please email me the right link so I can get into my acct thank you
I am having the same problem. All was fine in the early hours of the 29th March when I had emails from Giff gaff, now I'm locked out of my email account saying the network password has changed, sends me to the recover your microsoft account page, and wont let me submit the details of all the securuty questions it asks, the page just sits there.. please assist!
I have been going around for 3 days trying to get to my emails. You make me send a Code to an old account that I have but do not use so I can't access it all I want is to get my emails enough of this security sh..t! Someone contact me please!!!!!!!!!!
I tried to recover a password & my account was cancelled for 30 days. I was sent a 4 digit code when I need a 7 digit code. Anything I do keeps bringing back to the same code recovery page. I can browse & access my e mail. This is a new lap top with programs I've never used. I can't access programs I need for the volunteer work I'm involved in. My Lap Top keeps coming up with errors I can't correct because of this. The program keeps using an e mail address I haven't used in a couple of years & can't edit my security profile. Please call me so I can get on with my volunteer work.
I am having the same issue I have had Hotmail for almost 20 years and now I cant' do anything because you want a 5 digit security code and I don't know it. You send me a 4 digit code for what that doesn't work. I even pay yearly extra amount for additional email data.
enabled two step in security in my account , never received an email with an MCID or a code now can not get into my account to remove that dum two stepthat is nothing but trouble, and grandson cant get into his xbox live and seems no one can help for you cant get a person to talk too.
I've been trying to get into my Hotmail account since last week. I do not have a computer at home so I use the ones in my local library. You're asking for a security code. I don't know if I have one. If I do, I would like the code sent to my cell phone; BUT THE STUPID SYSTEM WILL NOT LET ME CHANGE THE NUMBER ON FILE, even though I hit the button that says I no longer have these numbers. Also, this is the only email account I have (and I've had it close to 20 years.) PLEASE PLEASE open my account, with my original password. Thank you.
How do i change my security info as i lost my cell phone that was used for my security an i wish to change my security info please can you help thanks
I had problems with getting into my account an i need help in changing my security info so can you email me info on how to change that
Okay please help get me back to my e-mail. I use it for work and the email u code to is no longer mine. you sent code to my email available now but it is only 4 numbers and it says I need seven!!!!What is up??????
Exactly the same problem . i created a new account to get sent code. Code I enetered has 4 numbers, not 7. Keeps defaulting to an account I can't access. Absolutely no help anywhere.
Same thing here...I have 3 accounts and it started with one now I can't access ANY. I NEED this for job searching!!
Hackers got into my account and changed my passwords for Facebook and email and I'm trying to recover it I've awnserd some of the questions but not all and they haven't gotten back to be and it's nearly been 24 hours should I fill it out again??