Manage your Microsoft account

Overview

Your Microsoft account is the account that you use to manage your interactions with Xbox Live and other Microsoft services, including Outlook.com, OneDrive, Skype, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Xbox Music, and more. This central account allows you to manage your purchases, billing information, and content from a single account.

To create a Microsoft account, you must provide a combination of email address and password that you will use to sign in to Microsoft services. The account can be set up using a Microsoft webmail address (user_name@live.com or user_name@outlook.com), or another valid email address (such as an @gmail.com, @comcast.net, or @yahoo.com address). If you’d prefer, you can start fresh with a new Outlook.com email address that you create as you set up a new Microsoft account.

Note Xbox Live gamertags are associated with a Microsoft account for sign-in purposes. If you want to switch your existing gamertag to a different Microsoft account, see How to change the Microsoft account email address associated with Xbox Live.

Topics

Manage your Microsoft account security information

Passwords
Your Microsoft account and password can be saved on your Xbox console so that you can sign in to Xbox Live and other Microsoft services quickly and easily. If you want to make sure no one else can sign in to Xbox Live under your account, you can password protect your Xbox Live profile on your console by requiring a Microsoft account password at sign-in. To do this, see Password protect your Xbox Live profile. If you want to remove a saved Microsoft account password from your console, see Remove your Microsoft account password from your Xbox 360 console.

You may want to change your password periodically to keep your account secure. To do this, see Change your Microsoft account password. It’s also a good idea to provide additional security information for your account (like a mobile phone number or alternative email address), in case you ever need to reset your account password or validate ownership of the account. See How to add password reset security information to your Microsoft account for steps on how to do this.

Security information
When sensitive account information, such as a password or contact details, is being changed, we send a security code to a phone number or email address on file to make sure that the person making the change is the account owner. The contact details are what we call “security information.” All accounts must have at least one contact method, though we encourage including both a phone number and an email address in case you lose access to one of them.

You use these contact methods to:

  • Control access to your account or activities on Xbox.com, your Xbox 360 console, Xbox Live, Windows, and other places where your Microsoft account is used.
  • Keep your account safer and help you reset your password.
  • Provide a way for us to reach you to reestablish appropriate control of your account if you forget your password or someone tries to access your account. It's a good idea to keep this information up to date. We will only use it to protect your account.

Sign in to your Microsoft account (or create a new one)

If you use an email address and password to sign in to Microsoft services such as Hotmail, Outlook, Messenger, or Xbox Live, you have a Microsoft account. If you know this email address and password, you should be able to sign in to your Microsoft account.

If you have a Microsoft account but have forgotten your sign-in information, see Find your Microsoft account email address. If you know your sign-in information but get an error message when you try to sign in, see the What to do if you get an error when signing in section below.

Note If you don’t have a Microsoft account, you can easily create one by visiting the Microsoft Create an account page.

How to recover the password you used for your Microsoft account

If you can’t remember the password you used for your Microsoft account, you can reset your password online. In a browser, go to the Microsoft account password reset page and enter the email address for your Microsoft account. You will be given different options to have a password reset link sent to you.

If you can’t reset your Microsoft account password by using the reset options provided, you can recover access to your account by completing an online account recovery form. To do this, go to Recover your Microsoft account and fill in the form to recover your account.

For additional information about resetting or recovering your Microsoft account password, see You have forgotten your Microsoft account password.

What to do if you get an error when signing in

If you know your Microsoft account information but still can’t sign in to your account, first confirm that there are currently no Xbox Live service alerts.
If there are no current service alerts, see Manage account for information about common sign-in and Microsoft account error messages. If you don’t see the error you’re receiving listed, use the Error & status code search tool to look up the error code and find more information about that specific error.

Cancel or remove a Microsoft account from your Xbox console

If you want to close your Microsoft account, you can find out how at How to close your Microsoft account. If you want to remove a saved Microsoft account password from your console, see Remove your Microsoft account password from your Xbox 360 console.

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