Your Microsoft account is what's called a single sign-on account, meaning that this single account can be used to logon to a number of different services by Microsoft and partner websites.
When you reset your Microsoft account password, you change the password used for all of the sites and services you use your Microsoft account for.
Microsoft accounts are commonly used to logon to Windows 8 computers, the Windows Store, Windows Phone devices, Xbox video game systems, Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail.com), Skype, Office 365, Skydrive, and more.
Important: If you're trying to reset your Windows 8 password but you do not login to Windows with an email address, then you're not using a Microsoft account to log in to Windows 8 and this procedure won't work for you. What you're using instead is a traditional "local account" meaning the slightly more involved How To Reset a Windows 8 Password tutorial is what you need to follow.
Follow these easy steps to reset your Microsoft account password:
Time Required: Resetting your Microsoft account password should take several minutes, at most
- Figure out what email address you're using for your Microsoft account, and that it's the correct account for the device or account you need the password reset for.
This might seem like a strange or obvious first step, but with automatic logons, the high occurrence of multiple Microsoft accounts, and the several email addresses most of us have, it's important to make sure that you're resetting the password to the right Microsoft account.
So, for example, if you've forgotten your Windows 8 password but aren't completely sure what email you're using to log in with, turn on your computer and take note of it on the logon screen. If you need to reset the Microsoft account you use to log in to Skype (or Outlook.com, etc.), visit the Microsoft Account Sign In page from your usual browser and see if your account email address is pre-filled for you.
Note: The Microsoft account you want to reset the password for isn't necessarily an @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, etc., email address. You could have used any email address to sign up for your Microsoft account.
- Open the Microsoft Account Password Reset page from any browser on any computer or device.
- In the Microsoft account field, enter the email address you use as your Microsoft account.
- In the other field, for security purposes, enter the text you see and then click or touch the Next button.
Tip: You can touch or click New if you'd like to try another string of characters, or Audio to have several words read to you that you can type in instead.
- On the next screen, choose either Email me a reset link (continue with Step 6) or Send a code to my phone (continue with Step 7), whichever you prefer.
If neither option is good, click the I can't use any of these options. link (Continue with Step 8).
- If you chose Email me a reset link, you'll be presented with one or more email addresses that you've previously associated with your Microsoft account.
Click or touch Next. The next screen will look a lot like the one you were just on, but will say We've sent a password reset link to these email addresses.
Check your email account and look for a message from Microsoft account team. Click the password reset link included in that email and then continue with Step 9 below.
- If you chose Send a code to my phone, you'll be presented with an option to have a code sent to the phone number you've previously associated with your Microsoft account. This code will be made available to you either via text message, or read to you aloud via phone call.
After choosing which method, click or touch Send code.
Once you receive the code, enter it in the Enter your code field and then press Submit. Continue with Step 9 below.
- If you chose I can't use any of these options, enter your Microsoft account email address in the Email address field and an alternative email address that you can be contacted at in the Contact email address field. Then press Next.
On the Recover your Microsoft account page, enter everything you can about yourself and your account. Some things include name, birth date, previous passwords you do remember, email information, billing data, etc. Then touch or click Submit.
Depending on the information provided, you might be contacted by Microsoft immediately via email or up to 24 hours later if someone has to manually look at your provided information. Once you do get an email from Microsoft account team, click the password reset link included in the message and then continue on with Step 9 below.
- In the New Password field, and again in the Reenter password field, enter the new password you'd like to use for your Microsoft account.
Note: Your new password is case sensitive and must be at least 8 characters in length. You also won't be able to reset your password to one you've already used before. For added security, you can also tell Microsoft to Make me change my password every 72 days.
- Click or touch Next.
- Sign in on the next page with your newly reset password!
Important: If you reset your Microsoft account password so you can now login to your Windows 8 computer, be sure you're connected to the Internet at the Windows 8 logon screen. If for some reason the Internet is not available to you at this point then Windows 8 won't get word from Microsoft about your reset password. This means that your old, forgotten password is still the valid one on the computer. In this case, or in any case where the above procedure doesn't work but you're sure you have a Microsoft account, you'll have to rely on Windows password recovery software like the free Ophcrack tool.