The undead Microsoft account



  • I wanted to try some of those new Microsoft services, you know, Outlook.com, Office Web Apps, Windows 8 account sync... so I needed to log into a Microsoft Account (formerly known as Microsoft Wallet, Microsoft Passport, .NET Passport, Microsoft Passport Network and Windows Live ID). Now, I don't have any hotmail/outlook email address, but fortunately Microsoft accounts don't require that, you can use any other email address to register. In fact, I remember having used my email address to sign in to a Live account many years ago. So I think "Great! Maybe it still works?".

    I go to login.live.com, enter my email address and try a few passwords, but no luck. "Incorrect email address or password". Oh well. I click the "recover password" option, enter the same email address again, solve a captcha, and get "We'll send a password restore link to <the same address partially obscured>". So my account still existed! I get a message in my inbox immediately, click the link, enter a new password, success!
    ...except I still can't login. "Incorrect email address or password" again. Damn. I repeat the whole process, this time using IE9 for extra Microsoft-compatibility and taking extra care not to mistype or misclick anything (however this time I have to use a different password, since it wouldn't let me use any password that had previously been used). No success.

    I try another option: "solve a small questionnaire and we'll contact you in less than 24 hours". First thing they ask for is a secondary email address to contact me, but I can't actually use my email address since it's the same I'm trying to recover. I guess that makes sense since I'm supposed to use the recovery link if I have access to it. Then you have to choose which language you want to be contacted in. I pick "English (United States)" from near the top of the list, and get "This service is currently unavailable". I go back, pick Spanish, and it works this time. I am taken to a form where I have to fill in the last passwords I used, the last topics I talked about in my messages, the folders I had created, the last addresses I sent emails to, and (optionally) the credit card number I used in my Xbox Live account, but there's no "Extra comments" field. Since I hadn't used the account in years all I can enter is "none". I suspect this won't be very useful, and decide to try something else instead.

    I go back to the main login page and click on "Sign up". I enter the same address, the same password, and my personal data (wtf do you want my postal code for anyways?). It works flawlessly and I can finally log in to my new? account. So apparently my old account existed (as I could reset my password) but was not alive enough to login into. Not a very nice user experience I should say.

     

    Bonus WTF 1: the password you choose has to have at least two of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. So "86386120174866856852" or "cllxazsnxfptaedlrued" are not secure enough, but "123456aA" is.
    Bonus WTF 2: I had to solve a second captcha to "validate my account" and "stop spammers" before it would let me send an email, despite the fact that I had already solved one to sign up (not counting the extra dozen before that). Wouldn't a spammer that has already solved one captcha be able to solve the second one?
    Bonus WTF 3: If you go to hotmail.com or outlook.com and try to sign up for a Microsoft account from there, you'll have to sign up for an @hotmail.com or @outlook.com address too, but if you go directly to login.live.com you can use your own address.



  • Once upon a time, I needed a Passport account for something work related. Naturally, I used my work email. However, I wanted to keep that account after changing emails - so I changed my email. Now I have to sign-in with an email address that has not existed for about a decade, and my contact address is my current email. If I try to login with my contact email it won't work, and I suspect I could create a new account with that email - but I can still only reset my password using my current email, so my account is secure in case someone else ever inherits my old email address.

    I suspect you might be in the same boat - you've changed emails so your account id is your old email but the email for renewing passwords is the new one.


  • SockDev

    @spamcourt said:

    Bonus WTF 3: If you go to hotmail.com or outlook.com and try to sign up for a Microsoft account from there, you'll have to sign up for an @hotmail.com or @outlook.com address too, but if you go directly to login.live.com you can use your own address.
     

    I wouldn't call that a WTF - after all, why would you sign up to Hotmail/Outlook if you already have an e-mail account?

     



  • @RaceProUK said:

    why would you sign up to Hotmail/Outlook if you already have an e-mail account?

    Because a Microsoft Account required one of those address, forcing you to signup to another MS-centric address to obtain a login.

    At least, that's how I interpreted it.



  • @configurator said:

    Once upon a time, I needed a Passport account for something work related. Naturally, I used my work email. However, I wanted to keep that account after changing emails - so I changed my email. Now I have to sign-in with an email address that has not existed for about a decade, and my contact address is my current email. If I try to login with my contact email it won't work, and I suspect I could create a new account with that email - but I can still only reset my password using my current email, so my account is secure in case someone else ever inherits my old email address. I suspect you might be in the same boat - you've changed emails so your account id is your old email but the email for renewing passwords is the new one.

    Yeah, I've got an old Playstation Underground account under an email address of a domain I no longer have access to, and looks like is actually registered to some Asian company now. My old password still works, but as it doesn't meet the current PSN password requirements, they send an email containing a reset link to that address, which probably does exist (webmaster@....)



  • Yeah, Microsoft's logins have been a huge wtf-tastic mess for a looooong time.

    I remember back in 1999, a friend of mine had me come over because his sister was locked out of her Hotmail account.  She had done a password reset and gotten a new password, but it wasn't working.  After a bunch of poking around, I discovered that the new password Hotmail had given her as part of the password reset process did not meet Hotmail's password guidelines, so she wasn't able to log in with it.  So I figured out how to set her up with a new password that did meet the guidelines, logged her in to make sure it worked, then told her to change it once I left.



  • @RaceProUK said:

    @spamcourt said:

    Bonus WTF 3: If you go to hotmail.com or outlook.com and try to sign up for a Microsoft account from there, you'll have to sign up for an @hotmail.com or @outlook.com address too, but if you go directly to login.live.com you can use your own address.
     

    I wouldn't call that a WTF - after all, why would you sign up to Hotmail/Outlook if you already have an e-mail account?

     


    True, if you're on hotmail.com you'll probably want a Hotmail address, but after all you're signing up for a Microsoft account, so for consistency, why not at least allow you to not have one, like they already do on the other page? I guess it confused users too much.



  • @configurator said:

    Once upon a time, I needed a Passport account for something work related. Naturally, I used my work email. However, I wanted to keep that account after changing emails - so I changed my email. Now I have to sign-in with an email address that has not existed for about a decade, and my contact address is my current email. If I try to login with my contact email it won't work, and I suspect I could create a new account with that email - but I can still only reset my password using my current email, so my account is secure in case someone else ever inherits my old email address.

    I suspect you might be in the same boat - you've changed emails so your account id is your old email but the email for renewing passwords is the new one.


    But I only have one address, I haven't even created a Hotmail or Outlook account yet. Outlook is asking me for the password to my current email so I can use it as a client, but I'm kinda scared to do that.

    Also, you know you can "Rename your account", which means changing the email address, right? It's not letting me do it (probably because it's too new), but it might work for you.



  • @Mason Wheeler said:

    the new password Hotmail had given her as part of the password reset process did not meet Hotmail's password guidelines, so she wasn't able to log in with it.
     

    Yikes... WTF indeed.

    You'd have thought the check was applied during password change, not password submission - like most systems.

    How the glorified hell did someone get that particular part of the process stuck in the wrong (sequence) position?



  • @configurator said:

    Once upon a time, I needed a Passport account for something work related. Naturally, I used my work email. However, I wanted to keep that account after changing emails - so I changed my email. Now I have to sign-in with an email address that has not existed for about a decade, and my contact address is my current email. If I try to login with my contact email it won't work, and I suspect I could create a new account with that email - but I can still only reset my password using my current email, so my account is secure in case someone else ever inherits my old email address.

    I suspect you might be in the same boat - you've changed emails so your account id is your old email but the email for renewing passwords is the new one.

    Happened to me with Steam. No, I have not been a Fuse customer in years! But I can't change my login ID, so it still ends @fuse.net. (This was back in the days when Steam required you to use your email address for a login ID.) Fortunately I can change my screen name to something different, but if I want to log in on a new computer, I have to remember that old email address, and it always pops up on receipts and official Steam account stuff.


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