Microsoft seems to be unbeatable when it comes to the percentage of the users of Windows. However, Google’s Gmail seems to be the leader with the number of total active users, with 1.9 billion as of October 2022. Microsoft never revealed their number, although we’re sure their marketing department would boast the number if it was anywhere close. Regardless, that doesn’t make it any less important, and losing access to your Microsoft account can truly wreak havoc. For one, it might block access to Windows if you use a Microsoft account to log in. It can also deny your attempts to log into Xbox, Microsoft Store, and other online services and products. And, if hacked and used maliciously, it can truly ruin your life, from your job, finances, and even relationships.
Before you start the journey, you need to go through a preparation process. Open your notebook, whether physical or on your computer/smartphone, or look wherever you keep your private information. Gather as much information as possible, including older passwords, the time you created the account, and the usernames it held (if they changed). Finally, prepare the most recent known details about your Microsoft account.
We don’t need to scare you into rushing to start the retrieval process. Without further ado, here are some methods to recover a Microsoft account.
Method 1 – Reset Microsoft password when you can log in
There are many cases when you can sign in, but you suspect someone is trying to take control of your account. Giving it away but regretting the decision or hacking, keyloggers, and malware come to mind instantly. Or you like to be diligent and want to change it every once in a while, which is good practice. Here’s how to reset Microsoft account password when you are still able to log in –
- Make sure to log in to the correct Microsoft account.
- Either click on the user icon in the top right corner, then My Microsoft account, then Security at the top of the page or click Microsoft Security to be redirected instantly.
- Spot Change password in the top left corner, below the title, and click on it.
- You are now redirected to Verify your identity page.
- If there was a phone number attached to the Microsoft account, it would be easiest to have an SMS sent to it, by checking Text (phone number) and clicking Next.
- Enter the last 4 digits of your phone number to proceed.
- Then, enter the 7-digit code you received as an SMS on your phone to proceed.
- You will often receive a new recovery code. It’s a 25-character code and will look something like A1A1A-B2B2B-C3C3C-D4D4D-E5E5E. It is recommended to write it down physically or to print it out instead of writing it in the Notes on a computer or smartphone.
- Optional. You will be asked to download their app that uses your smartphone’s fingerprint sensor to log you in without ever typing a password. You can either click on No thanks or Get it now.
- If you clicked on No thanks, you will be redirected to the Change your password screen. Enter your current password, then enter the new password twice.
- Optional. You can also tick the checkbox Make me change my password every 72 days if you want to improve your privacy and security habits.
- Click on Save, and that’s it.
What if I don’t have a phone number attached to my Microsoft account?
In that case, you will be either asked to answer the security questions you chose, or to receive a code to your alternative e-mail address. In the latter case, the process is nearly identical, only you’ll receive a code to your e-mail instead of an SMS.
- If you can’t complete either of these tasks, click on I don’t have any of these at the Verify your identity page.
- You will be asked to improve your security information. This includes adding a new phone number or adding an alternate e-mail address, or both.
- Click Next after you entered one of those or both.
- Check your secondary e-mail or your smartphone. In the case of an alternative e-mail, you will only be asked to click on Continue in the e-mail, and redirected back to Microsoft’s website. In the case of a phone number, you’ll either receive a link to click or a code to enter.
- It will take a month for the security information to be accepted and become a permanent part of the Microsoft account.
Explanation. This is to prevent hackers from changing information, thus taking control of your Microsoft account, and running with it. This also means that you will be unable to change your password for a month. But, you will still be able to log in normally. Look at it from Microsoft’s perspective – they cannot recognize who the person is, and it was your “fault” for not adding alternative information in the first place.
Method 2 – Reset a forgotten Microsoft password
If you are not still logged into the Microsoft account, things could get a bit more tricky. Because you are already logged out, you will have to follow the regular password reset process like in any other service. We have discussed how to recover Gmail password in one of our previous articles. The steps are almost the same here as well. Following are the steps to reset forgotten Microsoft password.
- Head to the Microsoft Sign-In page.
- Enter your Microsoft account’s username or e-mail address. If there is a phone number attached to the account, you can use that instead.
- Alternative. If you use your Microsoft account to log into Skype, and you don’t remember any of the three details, you can also enter your Skype name instead.
- Click Next.
- At the Enter password page, click on Forgot password? below.
- You are again redirected to a page where you will be asked to verify your identity.
- Enter the code you received as an SMS to the phone number. Or, answer the security questions you set up when you created your account. Or, enter the code you received to the e-mail address.
What to do if I cannot verify my identity?
- Click on I don’t have any of these below.
- Your first option is to enter a 25-character recovery code we mentioned above. It will look like A1A1A-B2B2B-C3C3C-D4D4D-E5E5E. If you have it, click on the Use recovery code button. If you don’t, click on No.
- You are now asked to provide a secondary e-mail address you have access to. Make sure you do, since Microsoft will contact you there, or create a new one.
- Complete the captcha challenge below and click on Next.
- Follow the instructions you received in the secondary mail. It is typically a code that you’ll be required to give back to Microsoft when contacted and asked for it, thus verifying your identity.
- If successful, you will receive a link to reset your password, in which case it will be the same screen as mentioned above.
If you saved your password in Microsoft Edge
If you were using the Microsoft Edge password saving service, and you remember saving your account password to the Edge, you should try to locate your account password there. Being able to find it will make things will be much easier, and you will not have to go through difficult steps. Even if you lost the passwords, you can try recovering Microsoft Edge passwords to see if the password is present. Keep in mind that this will also work in any popular browsers, including Chrome or Firefox if you are using their native password store features.
Method 3 – Recover Microsoft account PIN
Do you have a Windows 10 device? Then you probably will have a Microsoft account. If you are using a Windows 10 device, then using a PIN to sign in to your device is extremely safe. It literally protects your device from prying eyes and unauthorized access. A PIN is usually a set of numbers or a combination of letters and numbers of your choice. You use your Microsoft PIN to sign in or enter into your Windows 10 device. (The PIN that you use to unlock your device is different from your Microsoft account password) Usually, your PIN is stored on your device. But at times, you may forget your PIN!
Your PIN is the only way that you can sign in to your Windows 10 device. But, you have lost it. Now, you have no chance of logging in to your device again. Or else, you may have already signed in to your device, but can’t find your PIN. You want to change it, but you don’t know how to do it. If you face any of the problems mentioned above, this is the right place for you. We have made this article to help you out. Keep reading below to find various methods that you can change and retrieve your PIN. Find the best method that suits you. sign in to your device, and continue using!
Case 1 – You are Currently Not Signed In to your Device
If you are not yet signed in to your Microsoft Account and you no longer remember your PIN, then this method might come in handy. As you have forgotten your PIN, you can no longer cross the sign-in screen. So, open the sign-in screen and follow all the simple steps given below. You can easily regain access to your account!
- Switch on your Windows 10 Device.
- Once you are on your log in screen, click on Forgot PIN or Forgot Password below the text box.
- In the next page, type in the password of your Microsoft Account.
- If you already have a security code, click on I have a code. Else, type in your email address and Microsoft will email you.
- This email will contain a verification code or a verification link. Follow the steps given in the email.
- After this, you can enter a new PIN to your device.
That’s it. You have now successfully changed your PIN and can sign in to your device with your new PIN whenever needed. Are you already signed in to your device, and do you want to change your PIN? Then refer to the next method given below –
Case 2 – You are Currently Signed In to Your Device
If you want to change your PIN after signing in to your device? Then this section will help you out. Just follow all the instructions given below, and you can easily change your PIN in no time –
- Click open the Start Menu (You can even click on the Windows Key).
- Open your Settings (Click on the Gear icon).
- Once your Settings pops ups, click on Accounts. From that, go to Sign In Options.
- Now, from the options that appear, click on Windows Hello PIN.
- Under that, select I forgot my PIN.
- After this, Windows asks you to sign in to verify that it is you. So, enter your Microsoft account password to sign up.
- Now, enter your new PIN twice.
That’s it. You have now successfully recovered your PIN and can sign in to your device with your new PIN whenever needed.
Using the Microsoft Troubleshooting Service
If you are facing any other problem related to logging in to your device, then you need a different solution. The PIN may be changed by someone without you knowing it, your account may be hacked, Microsoft may have disabled your account, or it may even be a small technical glitch. In any case, we may not be able to find the exact reason for the error. To help you with all these, Microsoft has provided a dedicated troubleshooting tool that helps you identify the cause of the error and to eradicate it. Here is how you can use it –
- Go to the official Microsoft Troubleshooting Site.
- Answer the questions given there. You need to choose the correct option that suits you. Select answers, and more questions will be lined up until Microsoft finds the exact error.
- After this, it lists down all the possible solutions. Follow all the instructions on the screen.
This will help you regain access to your account, or to solve any log-in issues that you are facing right now. If none of the solutions work. You can even search for a solution by typing in your problem on the search box given below. Finally, even if this doesn’t list related solutions, click on Contact under the Support menu.
If nothing works and if you want to, you can try to recover Microsoft notes or to restore Microsoft Teams files. So, if your specific reason for recovering your account is to get any of those things back, you may directly try recovering them even though you don’t have access to your Microsoft account.