Add a Recovery Email Address to Your Microsoft Account

Don't Be Locked out of Your Outlook.com or Hotmail Email Account

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Outlook.com is home to Outlook.com, Hotmail, and other Microsoft email accounts. These accounts require an email address and password to access email. If you forget your password, enter a new one. To simplify the password change, add a secondary email address or phone number to Outlook.com so that you can reset your password and access your account while keeping your account secure.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook.com and Outlook Online.

How to Add a Recovery Email Address to Outlook.com

A recovery email address makes it easy to change your password and more difficult for your account to be hacked. Microsoft sends a code to the alternate email address to validate your identity. After you enter the code, you can make changes to your account, including a new password. 

To include a recovery email address:

  1. Open a web browser, go to Outlook.com, and log in to your email account.

    Outlook.com inbox.
  2. Select your avatar or initials to open the My Account pane.

    My account menu in Outlook.com.
  3. Select My account.

  4. Go to the Security tab.

    Selecting the security tab in a Microsoft account.
  5. In the Security contact info section, select Update my info.

    Viewing security basics in a Microsoft account.
  6. If prompted, enter your password and verify your identity. You may need to enter a code sent to your phone number if you previously entered a recovery phone number.

    Account verification in a Microsoft account.
  7. In the Security Settings web page, select Add security info.

    Viewing security settings in a Microsoft account.
  8. Select the Verify my identity with dropdown arrow and choose An alternate email address.

    Selecting an alternate email in a Microsoft account.
  9. Enter an email address to serve as your recovery email address for your Microsoft account.

    Dialog box to enter an alternate email address in a Microsoft account.
  10. Select Next.

    And alternate email address has been entered.
  11. Go to the email account you entered as the recovery email address and look for the email from Microsoft that contains the security code.

  12. In the Add security info dialog box, enter the code from the email. 

    Dialog box to enter in a security code.
  13. Select Next to save the changes and add the recovery email address to your Microsoft account.

  14. In the Security settings screen, verify that the email password recovery address was added.

    An email address has been added as an alternate for security.
  15. Return to Outlook.com and look for the email that confirms the updated security information.

To add multiple recovery addresses and phone numbers, repeat these steps. When you reset your password, choose which alternate email address or phone number the code should be sent to.

Select a Strong Password

Microsoft encourages email users to use a strong password with their Microsoft email address. Microsoft's recommendations include:

  • Use a password that is significantly different from previous passwords.
  • Use a sentence or phrase converted to a string of numbers, initials, and symbols.
  • Make a password hard to guess by avoiding the names of family members, birthdays, or favorite bands.
  • Don't use the same password for another account.
  • Don't use a single word that is in the dictionary.
  • Don't use common passwords such as password, iloveyou, or 12345678.

Also, Microsoft recommends turning on two-step verification to make it difficult for someone else to sign in to your Microsoft account. With two-step verification activated, whenever you sign in on a new device or from a different location, Microsoft sends a security code that you must enter on the sign in page.