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 (firstname.lastname@example.org or user_name @outlook.com) or another valid email address (such as an @gmail.com, @comcast.net, @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.
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 have a Microsoft account but have forgotten your sign-in information, see What to do if you forget your Microsoft account or password. If you know your sign-in information but get an error message when you try to sign in, see What to do if you get an error when you try to sign in to your Microsoft account.
If you can’t remember the email address you used for your Microsoft account, see Find 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 Reset your password 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 Microsoft account by completing an online account recovery form. To do this, go to Recover your Microsoft account and follow the steps to complete the form to recover your account.
For additional information about resetting or recovering your Microsoft account password, see Microsoft account password forgotten.
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 Xbox account management errors for information about common sign-in and Microsoft account error messages. If you don’t see the error you’re getting listed there, use the Xbox error code/status code search tool to look up the error code and find more information about that specific error.
Your Microsoft account and password can be saved on your Xbox console so that you can sign in to Xbox Live quickly and also easily sign in to other Microsoft services. 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 input of 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 completely, see Remove your Microsoft account password from your Xbox 360 console.
You may also 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 your ownership of the account. See Add password reset security information to your Microsoft account for information about how to do this.
Security proofs are means of verifying your account ownership. We can help you resolve issues with your account more quickly if we have a contact phone number and an email address to which we can send a code to verify that you are the actual owner of the account.
To learn more about security proofs and how they protect your Microsoft account, see Overview of Microsoft account security proofs. For information about setting up and managing your security proofs, see Add a Microsoft account security proof and Remove a Microsoft account security proof.
If you can’t access your security proofs because they’re outdated or incorrect or you forgot them, see I can’t access my Microsoft account security proofs. If you’ve turned on two-step verification and can’t sign in to an app or device that doesn’t prompt you for security proofs, see An app or device won’t prompt me for a security proof for help.
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 Switch a gamertag to another Microsoft account for information about how to do this.
If you want to close your Microsoft account, you can find out how at Cancel your Microsoft account. If you want to remove a saved Microsoft account password from your console completely, see Remove your Microsoft account password from your Xbox 360 console.
The following resources provide answers to some Microsoft account questions not covered above:
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