Microsoft accounts are commonly used to sign on to Windows 10 and Windows 8computers, the Windows Store, Windows Phone devices, Xbox video game systems, Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail.com), Skype, Office 365, OneDrive (formerly Skydrive), and more.
Important: If you're trying to reset your Windows 10 or Windows 8 password but you do not log in to Windows with an email address, then you're not using a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 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 10 or Windows 8 Password tutorial is what you need to follow.
Follow these easy steps to reset your Microsoft account password:
How to Reset Your Microsoft Account Password
Resetting your Microsoft account password is very easy and should only take 10 to 15 minutes in most cases.
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 10 or 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 login 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. It probably will be.
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, even your smartphone.
Choose I forgot my password from the short list of options and then tap or click Next.
In the first field, enter the email address you use as your Microsoft account.
If you know a phone number that might be associated with your Microsoft account, you can enter that instead of your email address. Your Skype username is acceptable here, too.
In the other field, for security purposes, enter the text you see and then click or tap 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. You've probably seen this process on other websites before - it works the same here.
On the next screen, choose one of the email options (continue with Step 7), one of the text options (continue with Step 8), or the Use an app option (continue with Step 9).
Tip: If you're only given the app authenticator option, continue with Step 9 or choose Use a different verification option to pick a different reset option.
If none of the email or phone number options are valid anymore, and you don't already have an authentication app configured for your Microsoft account, choose the I don't have any of these option (Continue with Step 10).
Note: The email address(es) and phone number(s) listed here are ones you've previously associated with your Microsoft account. You won't be able to add any more contact methods at this time.
Tip: If you've enabled two-step verification for your Microsoft account, you may eventually have to choose the second method to verify your identity but you'll be clearly told this when and if it applies to your particular account.
If you choose one of the email options, you'll be asked to enter the full email address for verification.
Click or touch Send code and then check your email account and look for a message from Microsoft account team.
Enter the code in that email in the Enter the code text box, then tap or click Next. Continue with Step 11.
If you choose one of the text options, you'll be asked to enter the last 4 digits of the phone number for verification.
Tap or click Send code and then wait for the text to arrive on your phone.
Enter the code from that text in the Enter the code text box and then press or click the Next button. Continue with Step 11.
If you choose the Use an app option, tap or click Next to bring up the Verify your identity screen.
Open the authentication app that you've configured to work with your Microsoft account and enter the code displayed in the Enter the code text box, then tap or click Next. Continue with Step 11.
Important: If you don't already use an authentication app with your Microsoft account, it's too late to set it up now. I do recommend using two-factor authentication going forward after you've reset your Microsoft account using some other method here.
If you choose I don't have any of these, tap or click Next to bring up the Recover your account screen.
Under the Where should we contact you? section, enter a valid email address where you can be contacted in regards to the reset procedure, and then click Next. Be sure to type an email address that's different than the one you don't have access to! Feel free to use a friend's address if you don't have another one to enter.
Check that email account for a message from Microsoft that includes a code you need to enter in on the Recover your account screen. Type the code there and then press Verify.
On the following few screens, enter everything you can about yourself and your account that might help Microsoft identify you. Some things include name, birth date, location information, previously used passwords, Microsoft products you've used your account with (like Skype or Xbox), email addresses you've contacted, etc.
On the Your information has been submitted page, touch or click OK. Depending on the information provided, you might be contacted by Microsoft (at the email address you provided during this reset procedure) 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, follow whatever steps they provide, then continue with Step 11.
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.
Click or touch Next. Assuming all was successful, you should see the Your account has been recovered screen.
Tip: Assuming you have email addresses associated with your Microsoft account, you'll be emailed, again by Microsoft account team, that your password has been changed. You can safely delete these emails.
Tap or click Next again to exit.
Sign in on the next page with your newly reset password!
Important: If you reset your Microsoft account password so you can now log in to your Windows 10 or Windows 8 computer, be sure you're connected to the internet at the Windows sign-in screen. If for some reason the internet is not available to you at this point then Windows won't get word from Microsoft's servers about your new 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.