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How do I prevent Hotmail from locking me out when I travel overseas?


Each time I travel overseas, my Hotmail account locks me out because it becomes suspicious of my new location and that someone is someone is trying to hack into it. How do I fix it so that Hotmail will never again lock me out when I’m in a different location than usual?

First, I don’t think that you can change that feature in Hotmail. I honestly don’t know of a way to stop it from locking you out when you travel overseas.

But to be honest, my take is very different. I don’t think you want it to stop.

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Hotmail is a target for account theft

The issue, as you point out, is all about account theft. Hotmail accounts are notorious for being compromised and stolen. You can imagine that this causes no end of grief for the people who own (or used to own) those stolen accounts. So, Hotmail and other email providers are taking additional steps to try and detect and prevent account theft.

Since so many of the accounts are being stolen by people overseas, one of the approaches that Hotmail uses is simply to note sudden and large changes in location. If you’re in the USA today and Europe tomorrow, well, that’s unusual. It may not be unusual for you, but it’s unusual for the vast majority of Hotmail users. So, Hotmail locks your account.

Hacked!Locking is a hurdle, not a barrier

To be clear: locking your account isn’t something that’s permanent. All it really means is that you need to go through a couple of additional verification steps to simply prove that you are indeed you and not some overseas hacker. After those steps, you should regain access to your email.

It’s all for security. And for all we know, this technique has already prevented your account from being compromised in the past.

So ultimately, I recommend that you simply accept it. Blame hackers if you like, but really be thankful that Microsoft is proactively protecting your account this way. Gmail does something similar.

If you can’t live with it, then all I can suggest is that you switch to a provider that doesn’t do it. You could set up your Hotmail to forward automatically to that new account, or use a POP3 pickup from that account to go grab your Hotmail email and bring it over, if that kind of thing is supported.

If you chose this route, however, be very careful with your account as your travel the globe.

150 comments on “How do I prevent Hotmail from locking me out when I travel overseas?”

  1. This is funny, in a way. Way back when, I signed up with Hotmail because I would be travelling (from Canada) to China, so I needed web-based email. It worked great, at that time. I visited numerous friends, and I could always check my email from their computers.

    • Apart from the fact that this article is totally irrelevant [- are hackers always from some other country? I think not, most hacks as I understand it are from attachments or dodgy websites] the point remains, why does hotmail not simply ask your security questions? The present system is unbelieveably irritating and pointless – hard to believe anyone could design a system that is so user-unfriendly. People travel everywhere all the time and we need a system that recognises that. This bureaucratic nonsense is like something out of Bulgaria in the 1950s – wake up to the 21st century hotmail, or lose your customers.

      • Absolutely – the idiots have now locked a couple of other hotmail accounts I have so that I can’t receive a code from them, anyway.

        All you need are two or three security questions as a safeguard. It’s pathetic.

        • I had the exact same problem. I didn’t have any other accounts besides Hotmail accounts to verify, and as a result;
          a) My family thought I’d died in a train crash in the area and
          b) Was locked out of all of them for such a long period of time I forgot my password anyway.
          Why not just ask security questions? It would make a lot more sense.

      • For lockouts we have to be grateful? This is even more idiotic than the whole system to begin with. Just look at the mess the miscrosoftees who – obviously- have nothing to do and must impress THE BOSS by devising new tortures! It appeals to their egocentric paranoia! The absurdist lunacy of all the WINDOWS that have been foisted on the public in the last few yrs should make every user wince and march to Seattle – or wherever micro has its locked-behind-doors headquarters and demand a halt to tomfoolery! Leading international universities are still using Wind 7 while the helpless public is forced to accept Wind 10 etc. whether they want it or not.

        But to be blocked out when one urgently needs to send messages to family is criminal. There oughta be a law!! Or common sense of the part of the zillionaires in Seattle.

        • It’s not egocentric paranoia; it’s a response to a huge and real problem. Until Microsoft made these (extreme) changes Hotmail was the most hacked email system around. Believe me, in the end having your email account hacked is way worse than having it blocked while you are traveling. When you are hacked you can lose everything forever, and also open up all your friends to danger.

          Yes, it’s the opposite of that now, and the changes are certainly annoying to people who have been locked out of their accounts.

          It’s completely within your right to be looking for a email system that more suits your needs. Here is an article on how to buy your own domain name and get away from Hotmail, or, entirely:

    • To top it all, every time I get locked out I am asked to provide a new Password…. Which could be 3 times a day in the same location, if I get online to check my mail 3 times…. Why do we have to change our password when we have confirmed our identity using the Code.


    • best way to keep them from locking u out is lock them out change service and never use hothell again simple

      try safemail works perfect

    • Why not have a security setting where we can specify the geographic locations ( countries list ) we will be on given period. Hotmail can then send us a code to the given mobile to confirm changes. Problem solved.

      • I’ve seen other websites using something like that. The problem is: I don’t expect Microsoft to do anything like that in the near future. A better solution is to switch to a different email account such as Gmail. In fact, if you have a Gmail account you can use it to download all of your, Hotmail, and others.
        How Do I Route My Email Through Gmail?

  2. I agree this is for security but I really think Microsoft is so stupid. when you are overseas most of the times we do not have a cell phone, how can we receive a code, the other option is they will send a code to other email we have registered but we will be screwed if it’s hotmail also. They basically encourage you to use email from other companies which is bad business decision, why can’t we validate our birthday or other personal info in the hotmail account…I travel often and always having problem to log-in to my hotmail accounts

    • Agree….we all don’t have international calling or can’t afford it and if you have a Hotmail ass a second acct yes again you are screwed…..Microsoft is way off track…’s been heading that way for years…now look at Windows 8 etc….pooh poohed by everyone who uses……get it right Microsoft…..fix this security issue with a simpler alternative approach……your developers get paid heaps….make them work on this problem ….you are going to drive users away and you are digging your way into ever increasing black hole

    • So I am in France without a boarding pass to my next destination… I have done all the steps and still can not gain access. How can I get it fixed?

  3. I have never had a problem before, accessing my Hotmail account in Argentina, Thailand and India, but I was shut out in Costa Rica in December 2013, did not have a mobile which could receive a code to unblock the account, and when I supplied the year of my birth the website simply became unavailable. An American friend with a different e-mail provider had taken the precaution of phoning them to say she would be in Costa Rica for two weeks and had no problems. Surely it should be possible to inform Hotmail (in the same way that you inform your bank or credit card provider) that you will be in a certain country on certain dates?

  4. Sorry, this article was a letdown. First, the headline is a misleading click-magnet, as the article doesn’t tell you “how” to solve the problem, but instead lectures us on why the problem isn’t a problem. “If you don’t like it, quit Hotmail” isn’t a valid solution. Hotmail has gotten so “sensitive” over security it now locks an account if you merely travel a distance WITHIN a country, as in between states in the US. Meanwhile, there are other technologies available to MS. For example, Google now sends a one-time application password that you use to unlock an application for the machine — which negates the need to phone home every time and compare locations. That means your machine works wherever on the planet you are. No cookies, or nonsense that gets reset if you reboot or close your browser. There are other options available to Microsoft, but they elect to remain fixated on technology that is not only ancient, but which doesn’t help defeat spam and hackers anyway.

  5. This is a seriously poor bit of work from Microsoft. And before anyone jumps in saying ‘well don’t use it’ that’s exactly what is going to happen. Travel is not such a big deal these days, but many times we need to travel light, don’t take a cell phone or it may not be usable in certain countries. Plus a couple of times I’ve gone down the route of getting a security code on the cell phone only to be told “This code has expired”. Several times; even when the whole cycle of ask-receive-type the code takes only a couple of minutes. This is just not good engineering. As Jose noted above, if MS suspect an unauthorised attempt to log-in, then ask a couple of extra security questions! I also agree with Chris Paris.

  6. I am currently locked out of my account and I didn’t even leave the country!!! I travelled from Toronto to Calgary. This is a ridiculous feature in my opinion. Isn’t the whole point of email convenience and easy accessiblity? This isn’t a credit card or banking site where I could understand all the extra precaution. If the extra security is needed because of the new features like sky drive, etc. we should be able to opt out of these, I just want my email. This must be a recent change with hotmail as in the past I have travelled all over Europe, Australia and the US and never had an issue with this.

    I spent an hour of my vacation on live chat with support and then filling out a lengthy verification form as best I could from memory. They still couldn’t get me access. Sadly, after 20 years as a loyal hotmail user, I will be switching to gmail or yahoo when I return home. Well done Microsoft.

    • Actually, security on email accounts is very important. Especially accounts such as Hotmail which have a long history of hacks. Your email account is your window to many other services online such as your banking. If a hacker gains access to your email they could retrieve passwords from your bank account, from your investment accounts, even from places like where they could go on a spending spree. And it wouldn’t be rocket science for them to figure out which bank you use, and where your investments are held. All they would have to do is glance through your past emails and see which businesses send you emails. Once they have access to your email they can literally wipe you out in minutes. It’s much better to tighten up your security – including all your retrieval options. Leo has a great article on that:

      • My email is not a way to access my bank account, and if my email is hacked my bank details are completely safe. However, my email like that of most people is important for communicating – so being locked out for a month is ridculous and unnecessary.

      • I don’t have any passwords on my email accounts let them hack away. The point here is that Microsoft security has gotten so stupid
        that a buddy of mine can’t even get emails in the us anymore while I who’s email account has been hacked can.
        How do they choose what account to stop? By all rights my account should have been the one to be suspicious of not my buddies.

        I think you and Leo would sing a different tune if every time you traveled 100 miles you got blocked from your email account like my buddy is.

      • It is an email account not a bank account. I don’t need Microsoft to take care of my account. Let me use it the way I want it. Set an opt out for this stupid security system. Whenever I travel I can’t open my account and when I am asked for an alternative account to send a code, I can’t open the second account either and what makes matters worse is that I am asked to provide personal information like credit cards numbers, DOB, and a lot of stuff. LET ME USE MY ACCOUNT FREELY. Do you want payment? OK . That seems to be the whole point.

        • Hi you mention that when you tried to verify your hotmail account your other account was locked out too. What did you end up doing in the end. The same thing has happened to me. Thanks.

          • We did some tests and found out that a good way to get into the account is to find someone in your home country to log in and set your security information to something that you can access. Bottom line: if you can access your recovery methods then you can access the account.

  7. this is just stupid. I’ve been to hong kong before and I had no trouble accessing my email account previously and there was no suspicion whatever so that came from microsoft regarding my identity just because i have changed to an infrequent location all of a sudden. and now I am asked repeatedly to fill in security questions in a very very long form and when i have provided information as much as I can remember i am informed that the information is not enough and when i try to get a code sent to my yahoo account i receive no code at all. microsoft hotmail team, this is an epic paranoid failure on your part. and now it is increasingly true that yahoo and gmail are getting better than hotmail. didn’t use to be the case but now it is like this. hotmail doesn’t even block spam properly like gmail and yahoo does. and it has no social category for messages from social accounts included as part of the email inbox feature. I’ve used hotmail for such a long long time now and it is so disappointing now that I can’t take it anymore. there’s no option for users to opt for less stringent security too. Totally undemocratic and inefficient at that. disgusting. bye hotmail.

  8. @Connie and the questions are excessive. just too many questions and some are totally unnecessary. the security is not warranted at all.

      • i would rather be hacked then locked out of my email when i really need it
        Hotmail is the only service i have trouble with so i never use Hotmail anymore,its very simple
        i hate microsoft with a passion ,
        i switched over to Hushmail it looks like hotmail did 10 years ago
        i also use safemail which is simple and no games
        and i pay 50 bucks a year for startmail which is more private beings it is out of the united states in a free country.

          • Not necessarily, if you so much as log onto hotmail from a new device it thinks someone is hacking you…and that is overkill. I would contact Microsoft if I thought my account was hacked. I am locked out of accounts at least once every couple months and it is completely inconvenient. If for some reason you don’t have the same phone or same number then you can’t verify it, then you have to wait months for the chance to get back into it. I have made a second account so that if I get locked out again I will have a backup to send a code to and that’s kind of sad that I had to do that, I’m sure ill eventually be locked out of that one too. I get they do it for safety but obviously a lot of people use it for communications and don’t have sensitive information in their emails so there’s no reason for it. I definitely have nothing in mine to worry about, therefore, it’s just wasting my time. For an example what I experienced these past few days, I was locked out for logging into a “new” device which ends up being my laptop, It asked me if it was me or not and I told it that it was me….and I still was locked out, I had to wait a day and fill out form of questions, some that I left off because they dont need my credit card info? That seems a little much. It’s just an email account…

    • Ray, I had the same problems. I had to wrestle with these stupid MS and Google security verifications every time I traveled and each time after returning home. I have been using some other email services for some time now and I almost finished transferring MS and G mail contacts. The worst thing was having to stay in totalitarian countries for a few days frequently, where some MS and Google services were banned. I had to use proxies, VPN services and my IP changed a few times in a day. Got the stupid security nags again. i am quite satisfied with Yahoo mail and believe me, there are very respectable free versions of paid email services out there with some limitations like storage size only and their security records are not tarnished like these big names.

  9. I can’t believe the people at Microsoft are really so incompetent that this Hotmail-Outlook transition can take sooooo long to resolve. Plus, as others have remarked on other sites, they give you a 4 digit code then ask for the 5 digit code number. This is a joke right?

    It appears that Microsoft is really trying to get rid of tetra-bytes and tetra-bytes and tetra-bytes of the free storage of old Hotmail users.

    Like Connie said, “You get what you pay for”.

  10. I agree with so many of these comments, microsoft has done an awful job with this. These people just don’t have the basic common sense to see all the problems they have created. As alluded to by some of the commenters, there’s much simpler ways to deal with this on microsoft’s part.

  11. When someone is traveling overseas and they get locked out and can’t access their phone messages, Microsoft also gives the option to get the recovery information sent to another email address. Then the problem comes up that they’ve closed that account or forgot that password. I thought about that when I set up my Hotmail account and have 2 mobile phones and 4 alternate email addresses set up for account recovery. If you don’t have an alternative recovery email address, you can set up a couple specifically for that purpose. I recommend several because it would be terrible to try to recover your account and have your alternate email accounts also require the same kind of 2 step verification.

  12. Just adding my voice to the despair. Going round England visiting friends, some of whom have come over from Australia to meet me. All correspondence, itinerary, changes of plan via hotmail: the planning has been gong on for months. . And now hotmail won’t let me in because I’m not at home on Grenada, which is of course where my phone is.
    Yes, I’m grateful I’ve not been hacked, but what use is email if you can’t use it?

  13. I also have a problem with Microsoft’s new security policy.
    My mother in law came from China to the UK, she obviously cannot access her email account anymore due to location. Cannot get a code through phone as that is a Chinese phone and is in China anyway.
    Secondly the backup email account is another microsoft account so no joy there. Lastly cannot remember enough information to complete the form.

    Microsoft best effort was to say try and remember more to fill out form.

  14. I find this new “security” feature to be a complete pain! a) I travel overseas and even log in from different machines in my own country – the whole POINT of having a hotmail account b) I have set up a hotmail account for a volunteer group – several people want to log in from multiple locations – quite validly – to check for email enquiries. Solution?? How about hotmail in it’s privacy section has a set of allowed locations? couldn’t be IP since that’s too hard (and wouldn’t work from say, the Library), but at least if a log in is from anywhere in a certain location (city, state or country) – then LET ME IN!!

  15. I don’t remember receiving any kind of warning that this would happen. I used hotmail in BC and Washington recently, Kauai and New Zealand within the last 6 months. Then, with no warning, I couldn’t access in the UK. Like others, I don’t OWN a cell phone and I only have 1 email address now that I’m retired. I am STUCK. I don’t even know which hotel I’ve paid for in London because the information is in a hotmail folder. I filled in the extra security questions and gave my sister’s email address (because I could remember it). Even after being accepted I STILL couldn’t access because of this other email issue. I had no IDEA this was going to happen. I’m really upset. I have to be making contact with people and have no way to do that because their addresses are on hotmail and they expect to reach ME in the next couple of days on Hotmail. I want to TALK to someone.

  16. No…!!! I DO NOT want it “that way.” Here I am 600 miles from home desperately needing to check my e-mail and lo and behold I can’t because MS has blocked me from access to my own account. The only place I can send a “code” is to my HOME TELEPHONE. This is the classic, “Pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining” scenario. When I get home I am DUMPING HOTMAIL in favor of a mail service that is not so nit-noid anal.

    • It’s unfortunate that you had to discover this problem while on the road. People who read Leo regularly know to be prepared beforehand. And unfortunately, other free email services have “protections” like this too. The only way you are going to get exactly what you want is to look for a paying service, such as getting your own domain and email address there.

  17. I think the writer is living in Plato’s republic; let me tell him this scenario that was not taken into consideration:
    I live in North America & I will have to wait for a decade to get my wife’s sponsorship processed so that she joins me… meanwhile, she is living in a country that the US wants to be retarded or a follower… this is why I need to gain access to her hotmail every once a while… then her account will be inaccessible for her… what kind of security verification is that if by the time she receives her sms, the security code will be expired???

  18. Another user here stuck with no access. Why does Microsoft expect you to use a roaming cell phone, that’s very presumptuous of them. They must have gone through the scenarios for people traveling???

    I can’t access my email for 3 weeks now and there was one particular discussion that is very important to me.

    I note that Gmail had no issues in this regard.

  19. I’m really sorry, and please excuse my language, but that’s BS !!! (cannot type enough ! to emphasize my point!)
    I was on a trip, in another country, in another continent for an INTERVIEW(!) and had provided my hotmail email account! After the interview, they told me that I should receive an email within 48 hours for the next ‘step’… I tried to log in, but NO! Locked! Tried the ‘alternate email’ process, but guess what… it is also a hotmail account, that was locked too!!! I freaked out, and was SO F#$@^%N upset!!! I was trying like mad to get a hold of the HR lady to change my email account to a different email/domain… I managed to do it, but how nice uh? To go through all this hassle because hotmail has decided to act that way… just BS to say the least!!!

  20. My email was recently locked as well when traveling from Canada to the US. I rarely carry a cell phone and since I wasn’t in Canada to answer my land line, the only option I had was to have it verified thorugh my other email adresses. Well guess what, they had been locked as well! Talk about a downward spiral into oblivion! Have traveled to over 40 countries in the past 12 years and never had this problem. I get back to Canada and everything was fine, didn’t need to have them call my phone or anything, as if it was never locked…. Oh and btw, same deal with Gmail… Is the only option to buy and carry a personal cell phone wherever you travel??????

  21. I may (not 100% sure) have found a solution for avoiding being locked out from gmail when traveling. It involves setting up backup codes before traveling. You need to do this before traveling and set up the codes using the device (laptop, ipad, etc…) itself (I’m guessing it records the mac address or along those lines).

    Here’s a brief explanation on how it works:

    Here’s the actual google (for gmail) link for setting up backup codes:

    Hope it works and hope it helps!

  22. Just today, I logged into my GMail account in a different country on a different computer and one of the recovery choices was to simply enter the recovery phone number. Now, that’s intelligent. I think that’s as safe a confirmation as anyone needs.

  23. Hi Connie, thanks in advance for your response linking to an unhelpful article.

    Like others have said, this protection has obvious pitfalls. It seems as though they skipped the forest/planning phase and skipped to the tree/implementation phase. If they’re trying to keep costs down because they provide a free service, they should target their effort better. It doesn’t take long to realise this could quickly turn into a catch 22 situation with both primary and recovery accounts asking for verification, or the registered mobile phone not available in the foreign country.

    Good design happens at the concept phase and adds little cost, but finding the right people is a challenge. The bulk of the cost is in implementing the details but this is essentially a commodity – small value add.

  24. Just home from France where my email was blocked… Didn’t even know why it wasn’t working until I got back because obviously I couldn’t access the email telling me why it had been blocked and how to unlock. Seriously Microsoft, emailing someone to tell them their email is blocked? Surely you have more sense than that?

  25. We should be able to opt out of this. It’s ridiculous. All I have to do is drive 2 hours from home, and I’m locked out!

  26. When I check my account activity, I see that at least once per week someone from another country is trying to hack into my Microsoft/Hotmail account. And some weeks the attempts are daily. While I sympathize with the pain of a world traveler, I am certainly glad that this type of protection is available. To see the account activity from, click on your user name in the upper right-hand corner. After the password request, click on Recent Activity on the left side of the screen. I was shocked the first time I saw all of the attempts made to hack into my account. I’m not sure if my experience is typical, but I’m thankful that I must have a good password. I don’t have a solution to the problem, but I think my example might help shed some light on the reason this problem exists.

    • Your experience is probably typical – and explains why is taking such drastic measures.

      Actually Leo gives a very good solution for folks at the end of his article. It might even be possible to initiate when traveling. Just buy a domain name from a company with a server that resides in your country (for instance, in the U.S. use Hostgator, Godaddy, etc.). Set yourself up an email on the domain and import your Hotmail or email through POP3. Then you can log into your new email account and access your emails. If you can’t do it yourself, contact a local webdesigner from your home location and have them set it up for you.

  27. Travel isn’t even the issue. I can’t look at it from my cell phone or even from work only a few km away. It’s completely impractical and defeats the entire purpose of having an online e-mail client. If I needed extra security I wouldn’t be using Hotmail anyways. A password and a security question is more than enough for bank accounts but for my personal e-mail which could never have any conqsequence if it was hacked has to have alternative e-mail addresses, special codes for every computer you login from, they want my cellphone. I can’t wait, 5 years from now they’ll require your DNA. The idea that switching clients is a simple fix is naive. I should have the option of whether I want to give them all my personal information so they can pretend I’m more secure (clearly more vulnerable the more of my info you have) or whether I can simply use a password/PIN like for bank accounts.

  28. it is so much inconvenient for the sort of ‘security for customers” . In fact, it has created problems to us that know well how to protect ourselves. So far, I haven’t been able to log on my email. I requested the code that is 5 digital and I did receive it. But it says that the code should be 7 digital when I entered the code each time…………
    Could any one tell me how to log in please?
    thank you

  29. Hello, I’ve just been locked out of my hotmail accounts because of this. I have been asked for a verification code for both my accounts. unfortunately the account I linked my verification to be sent to is also a hotmail account and is asking for a verification which has been sent to the account that initially needed a verification so I’ve reached a but of impasse. I’ve tried to answer the security questions but failed miserably and there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to contact hotmail directly. Does anyone have any advice how I should proceed to get my accounts unlocked? Any help would be much appreciated.

  30. Here’s the sheer STUPIDITY of it all – and yes, even Gmail is screwed on their “security” (they ask WHEN I last accessed it and WHEN I *opened* the account??? WTF?! How STUPID is that? I’d rather go through a series of SIMPLE security questions – what’s my 1st pet’s name; what street did I live on when I was 5; what city was my mother born in; etc. The chances that anyone is going to get ALL of your security questions correct is pretty bloody slim. I can get into my CREDIT PROFILE easier!!!

    What makes things worse, is that there IS NO WAY TO CONTACT OUTLOOK/HOTMAIL SUPPORT!!!! Lock people out and don’t provide a contact method. Again, STUPID. Also, I will *NEVER* associate my cell phone with my email acct – that’s just ASKING for your info to be stolen.

  31. LEO I pray to god that your email account gets stopped by Microsoft every time YOU TRAVEL and just cause you are traveling!
    Would you still think OH this is good. Great job Microsoft for protecting me. Its easy to sit and write like you do and justify if you never had the pleasure of being locked out time after time just for crossing a stupid border and even after going thru the verification process being locked out again a few hours later.
    I truly pray and wish this on you Leo I truly do. I will stop and pray to god right now so you to can enjoy the Joys of Microsoft Hotmail security.

    • I appreciate your well wishes. I never said I agree with what Microsoft is doing, just explaining why they do it. If your email is THAT critical to you, then perhaps you shouldn’t be using a free email account.

  32. Help.

    Parents are in Myanmar. Im in UK. Both they and I have access to the same account.

    Everytime they are trying to access it locks them out.

    Im unlocking it here and trying to tell hotmail (some how on the code reset) its fine.

    They are in their 60’s and need email. They can’t get the access code as when they access their second email account, hotmail. It locks them out.

    They have no mobile signal, as no roaming in Myanmar and they wouldn’t understand how to mobile reset anyway. Email is their only coms. They are gone for 3 weeks and we are in an emergency situation.

    Dont give a feck about account hacking as it’s a generic email account. Not linked to any finances or personal id.


    Need a solution quickly please.

    • I know of no way. When email is this critical I recommend avoiding free systems like Hotmail. Maybe set up an account for them with a local provider (local to you, I would expect, but one that could be accessed anywhere, and that has real support) and switch them to that.

    • Both Yahoo and MSN screwed me royally at the same time….since each account was the back-up (verification) of the other. After reviewing the MSN questionnaire, I decided to hell with both of them since the questions were too invasive and a clear violation of my right to privacy, which I was not about to give up. AND…..I certainly DO NOT trust that all the information I would have provided would be secure. A total bunch of B.S.

      • Last month I was locked out of a Yahoo account when I traveled to Argentina. I use it as a spam catcher so I didn’t bother to set up an alternate email. I set that account up in Thunderbird using IMAP and I was able to download all of my spam 🙂 plus the email I needed to sign up for something. I don’t think that would also work with Hotmail.

  33. We had no idea that we were going to hit this issue, they currently have their travel details and other critical info in the hotmail. I can access it here but we have no comms, they are travelling around. They have travelled for years and it’s never been an issue.
    Will set up a private email for future. Why Microsoft have not set an authorised country list in the account settings is beyond me. Parents actually pay for the email account, stroage etc. Its not free.
    They have a gmail, but they wont remember the loginas they dont use it. Never hit this issue in all the years they’ve travelled.
    The problem is this issue is not only critical, it’s going to cost them several hundred pounds unless they can some how access the travel docs.
    Everythign is hindsight and I need a solution.
    Have emailed ms support via :
    Not sure if it’s going to help, if they unblock it for myanmar great. If not we live and learn.
    I dont see how another provider is not going to also hit this issue. Support or not, there’s no comm’s.
    I’m going to set up a private webpage for them so if there’s emergency in the future they can access it for messages. So at least there’s some comms.
    We live in a world of forward thinking and meant to be more dynamic. Yet it’s instances like this that put people at risk and cause stress, possibly financial loss. We will see.
    So worried. I feel angry at myself, microsoft and American companies trying to dominate everything on their own terms.
    No logic, common sense or regard for individuals. Just themselves!
    Thanks for your responses, I know you mean well. Just frustrated and at a loss.
    No more hotmail or msn. That’s for sure.

    • It sounds like you have access to their account. Try setting up another one, on a different service. Contact them with the login info, and then forward the critical information. You may even be able to set up a automatic forward from the old Hotmail account.

  34. The ‘solution’ offered here by seems to be, if you need to access outlook when travelling then you should be using another email service. This is the pathetic kind of doublethink that companies like Microsoft resort to when they can’t be bothered to listen to their customers. This ‘free’ service is funded by advertising and hooking people into other Microsoft services, i.e. it is not free. Customers are telling Microsoft that it doesn’t work. One of the biggest reasons why people need email is to keep in touch when travelling and this is now almost impossible. Moreover, many people access emails via guest wifi provided on company premises and in many cases this access is routed through an overseas domain. So I can’t even access my outlook account when I go to work, in the same city as I live. Totally impractical. The responders on this site are, like Microsoft, simply not listening. Instead of offering a solution (‘How do I prevent Hotmail from locking me out when I travel overseas?’) they simply insist that to access email we need a second email account. Perhaps we need an infinite chain of email accounts to access our emails. How absurd. Perhaps when users start abandoning outlook accounts (and the associated Microsoft services) Microsoft may wake from their torpor and ‘discover’ a solution.

  35. Does Hotmail think that everybody on this planet spends their entire life in one singular spot – additionally the system is not consistent – I recently travelled from Victoria Australia to Tasmania Australia- For 4 days in Tasmania I could access my e-mail account but on the 5th day it was blocked with the reason cited as a recognition of an attempted access from a different location. What about the previous 4 days. How can the modern day business man work with such pedantic tomfoolery.

  36. Just travelled from the south coast of England to london st pancras station – about 50 miles and got locked out on my tablet. That must be a record!

  37. install anonymox ( or any IP change addon ) on the computer you are working from and let the IP adress come from the country you normally live . That is the trick I allways use , it is pretty f*****g annoying though! Peace . Miky

  38. Thanks Miky! (Feb 3 2015)
    Microsoft’s “Security Surveillance Feature” is such a headache for the frequent traveller that it makes you #&*£¤ irritated.

    Installing a VPN proxy that provides a fixed access point is the simple solution! I elected to use Freedome from F-Secure at a cost of about 6$/year. It now provides VPN-jumping for my computer/pad/smartphone whenever I travel to a single point of net access every time I need to use hotmail. In addition it also gives VPN protection for public WiFi so it is a double kill at a cheap price!
    Maybe I should say “thanks” to Microsoft instead of being irrited?

  39. My Hotmail Outlook account locks up when I travel out of the states. Going into the MSN homepage and physically logging into your Hotmail/Outlook account will unlock it. EASY !!!

    • Thanks for that. I’ve been experimenting with it as well, and find that with some perseverance I can get back in. I think it’s also possible that Microsoft has lightened up on the security. But most important is for everyone to make sure they have their retrieval information set. If you don’t have a cell phone, find a good friend who will let you use theirs in case you need to retrieve a code.

      • Sorry for my english. I’m from Europe and don’t speak proper english.
        Anyways, you have been commenting a lot but fail to realize there are simple solutions!
        Now you are saying people should ask their good friend to add their phoine number so the security code could be received at their phone. This is really BAD! Personally i DO not want to add any number to my hotmail account!
        What if a hacker will find out about my number too?? Anyways, Just ask for an extra pincode or whatever code (2 extra codes) if possible and problem is solved.
        Or just add the option to no longer fully secure your account.. For example NO 2 step verification etc.
        Of course MSN has the right to do it the way they want to do it. They are the business owner so they can basically do whatever they want. They could also charge us 1000$ a month to use their email if they want. So yes CONNIE.. All your comments are right on point if you looki at it from your point of view.
        But on a social level its absolutely abnormal what MSN does.
        Why on earth they try to force people to provide so much information.
        Like one person said before… Being abroad also for job interview then waiting for answer on email and then finding out you are not able to login plus the alternate email is also hotmail so basically you are SCREWED.
        Why all this??? Is there really no other solution? I mean, Serious??????

        • Personally I think it is still much better than the old Hotmail with little security. Back then people’s accounts were constantly hacked and they would lose everything.

        • Using a friend’s phone probably isn’t for everybody, but there are people I would trust with that. In any case, there are a couple of simple solutions: 1. Have a few alternate email addresses. Those work as well as a mobile number. 2. This is my solution: switch to another email provider such as GMail. When I needed to confirm my identity with GMail, I didn’t need to get a text message. They just asked me to enter last 4 numbers of my cell number to prove who I was.

  40. So I try to log into a Hotmail account from my work computer. It says that I can’t because I haven’t logged in from this device before. Tells me I have to enter a code that they will send to the alternate address. So I try to log into that account to get the code but it won’t let me log in as “you haven’t logged into the account using this device, enter code that they will send to the other account”.
    In Excel, this is referred to as a circular reference. Calling one cell from another that refers to the cell you are entering data into.
    Anyone that claims that Hotmail is free is full of crap. Nothing is free, using a Hotmail account is just one more way that MS makes money by advertising. MS would loose billions in advertising dollars if everyone cancelled their Hotmail account.
    Fortunately both Hotmail accounts are junk accounts used to register for access to things that you know are going to result in hundreds of spam messages. I have a real account with real security for real email.Time to delete the Hotmail accounts and open new junk accounts with someone else cus Microsoft sucks.

  41. One of the reasons that I use is because the security is better than any other Webmail service that I have used previously. Everyone needs an ISP to connect to the Internet from home or work. Every ISP provides subscribers with free email addresses. I use the email address with my ISP to receive the MS Code. So, it is NOT a case of MS encouraging users to subscribe to a different email service provider – the vast amount of users (probably 99%) already have an alternate email address with their ISP. The MS Code system to protect email accounts provides excellent security and requires a minimal amount of user input to manage it effectively. Well done Microsoft… !! (And I don’t even work for them).

  42. Here’s a question for Ask Leo! readers. I use the email service provider as one of my recovery addresses. I use 3 or 4 recovery emails per account. One is not enough. My question is: does anyone out there recommend another free email service provide which doesn’t check if you are logging in from a new location or browser? I ask this because has such limited service, that I’m afraid that one day they may just disappear.

  43. When I was in Nepal I can open my hot mail but now I’m in dubai but can’t open my hotmail please help me to open.always asking code but here I’m using different phone number know what the hell

    • This is a longshot. It worked for me with Yahoo when I traveled, and I’m hoping it’ll work with Hotmail/ I set up the Thunderbird to retrieve my email using IMAP for that locked out account. As I said, I have no idea if that will work. Please let me know your results one way or the other.

  44. If you don’t know how to remove that feature then don’t bother preaching about why it is necessary. It is the most annoying feature, you don’t always have time to sit down and go through the processes to access your damn account. I have since deleted my Hotmail and only use Google Mail now. Screw you Hotmail.

  45. Gmail does exactly the same stupid thing. There is an easy fix to this problem, simply a tiered security query. First password, and then if their are issues (ie. your location is different), then you get one of your verification questions, which has to be answered to continue. If providers are really worried, put in a third tier. But just locking the account is complete BS, I agree with previous posters. Email accounts that lock when you travel are so useless as to be almost a fraudulent service. I live in Canada. Here *everyone* travels. My girlfriend has just had her account locked in Japan. She chose the hotel, because it advertises WiFi access, which works well. But Google Gmail simply locked her account, claiming “suspicious activity” ! This is complete nonsense, which borders on fraud. Her air ticket and trip data are on her email. When I logged into her account to set the “Yes, that was me” flag, the morons at Gmail *FORCED A PASSWORD CHANGE*. So, now, until I can contact her, and provide the new password, she is now locked out because of this absolutely moron-stupid so-called “security” heuristic. This is just lazy, stupid nonsense. It is *protection* like gangsters provide “protection”. Proper design, with tiered security access, would not need operate this way. Being locked out in this manner is no different that being hacked, and having all your email damaged or deleted. The net-effect to the user is basically the same. And I also agree with another poster. If you make a website to offer a solution, you should – hey – *offer a solution*. The solution here is to use some kind of private file-sharing approach, or set up your own domain-specific email. Email services which operate as Gmail does now, are deeply dishonest, and so useless to travellers as to be dangerous. It would be good if the operator of this site provide actionable solution information to this very real problem. The current Gmail/Hotmail model is broken. A list of working replacements would be nice to see.

  46. I’m in the process of disposing of my g-mail addresses for the same reasons everyone is complaining about here. I thought I’d go with mail, but if anything, MS is worse. I set up two outlook accounts, which seemed just fine…until I logged in from a different ip address while using my VPN. After unblocking with security codes and phone numbers, it happened again, then again. One account is now blocked for 30 days. Fortunately I’m not yet invested in using those accounts.

    So far I’ve found that AOL and AIM accounts will allow logging in from anywhere, but from what I’ve read, other aspects of their security are especially poor (like providing full access to the NSA and gawd knows which other spook agencies).

    After doing some research, last night I hit on what may be a workable solution. It’s one that the NSA has no access to, unless they’re able to hack their way in; I really don’t give a shit if the Russian Federation reads my e-mails (in case they do), and I don’t believe that the alleged Russian hackers who seem to get blamed for just about everything evil happening on the web, are any more likely to hack my Yandex mailbox than the ones at G-mail, Outlook or Yahoo.
    So I set up two Yandex webmail accounts, used IMAP to plug them into my mail client (Thunderbird), and then logged into them from multiple locations in the US, and then from Canada, with no problems. The only glitch seems to be that the Thunderbird folders are labeled in Russian. Oh well. I’d much rather learn to read 5 Russian words than deal with being locked out of g-mail or outlook every other time I check my mail.

    • One possible use for a Yandex account could be to open one specifically as an alternative recovery email for your Hotmail, Gmail or whichever email account you might be using. I have 3 email addresses and 2 cellphone numbers (one is my daughter’s, so I can phone her up for the code) as recovery methods in case one of the others don’t work. One of them is a relatively unknown email provider (similar in that way to Yandex) which has no lockout security. That seems safer to me than relying on using something like Yandex as my primary email address. I expect Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo to be around longer than some of those other email providers.

    • Ultimately the best thing to do is to buy a domain and get your own email attached to it. If you use a service like Hostgator, 1and1, or Godaddy you will have access to an account to manage all the emails you want. My only advice is to pick a service that has good phone tech support. Then you never have to worry about losing an email address. You could even route it through Gmail to take advantage of their great spam filters.

      Here are two articles that will help you:

  47. We had a similar issue when in France on holidays, 1000 km away from home. No Hotmail accessible in a similar way as stated here.
    But I’ve got an escape. For public wifi’s I always use Teamviewer (avoid password to be spread publicly on that wifi…) to access my server at home and through this server I could visit Hotmail.
    The server works on Debian, so the risk to get compromised is extremely low and we have a full and excellent back feature.
    So I do not surf through it only pick my mail.

    You have no server at home? You only need a low energy pc or laptop (else it becomes expensive running all the time you’re away).
    Let it boot from a live USB that either already has Teamviewer on board, or make a persistent USB stick (meaning it can save the settings, even when you reboot… use Google how to do that) and run Teamviewer and add your PC to your account and protect it with a good password. Now you can access this system at any time at any place in the world for checking your mail. Teamviewer is free for private use. Experts may also set up an own VPN/VNC or Windows RDP (remote desktop). You can do that also with your desktop, but these are generally very hungry in energy.. My systems uses about 20 W. Laptops are a good alternative, 2nd hand or your old laptop could be cheap options.

    So accept the nags of free services or use your provider’s mail option, things that were already mentioned several times. Or try my suggestion.
    Safemail : good option, free up til 3 MB quota. So useful for small talks… else pay for extra services.

  48. To be honest, I hate Hotmail. I was just answering the question of how to prevent being locked out of Hotmail/

    I use a VPN to watch American TV in Europe. That causes Hotmail to constantly be blocking my account and asking to verify it was me. I only maintain Hotmail just to have it and even then it drives me crazy. My real suggestion: Switch to GMail even Yahoo Mail isn’t too bad.

    Holland must have something comparable to GMX. If not you could use a VPN or proxy server 🙂

    • You could read already my comfortable solution. Using the mentioned Rasb-Pi in a similar way may be a very attractive solution for others…

  49. Obviously the author doesn’t realize what a real hassle this is if you are traveling with a terrible internet connection on a mobile device. A couple of extra steps is the reason why no one will use it any more. You don’t see google doing this bs with gmail. It’s ridiculous. I think they are doing it to get rid of people who use hotmail because only a glutton for punishment would continue to try to use something that they can’t even actually use!

  50. Hi

    Yes the major email providers are being a major pain over their psuedo security. I experienced it 1st in Hong Kong after having no problem there the previous year on Hotmai. I then opened Yahoo acount and had a fiasco in the Philippines this spring coz 1 asked for the other for verification and vice-vers and so I was effectively cut off completely. Just to add eBay do the same thing to you!

    • I have an account with the 3 major free providers. I find GMail to be more forgiving in allowing you to access your email in another country. For verification, I only had to enter my mobile phone number. They didn’t send any confirmation. Their security assumed that if I knew the cell number, the account was mine. That seems like an adequate security measure to me. I don’t know if they still do this as it was almost a year ago, but they probably do.

  51. I have just got back from a three week trip that was completely ruined because I couldn’t get into my Hotmail. I couln’t access flight information, Hotel information, tickets that I had booked through Ticketmaster and couldn’t pick up email advising me on changes of one of my tours. They say I am blocked for ‘my security’ but I’d rather someone hacked my emails than being stuck in a foreign country without access to any of my trip information.
    Not only was I logging on from the same Outlook folder I always use but I also provided my first employer, date of birth 2 previous passwords, the names of 3 of my Inbox folders, 4 recent subject matters and 4 recent email addresses but apparently that wasn’t enough information. The only question that was left blank on the secrity form was the last 4 digits of my pre-paid XBox… I DON’T HAVE A F**KING XBOX!!
    So the genuis that introduced these secruity measures can give themselves a pat on the back for developing a system that completely blocks people out of their own email! Oh… and another thing Mr Hotmail… It might make it easier to answer their secrity questions if Hotmail didn’t default the language to the current country!!!!!!!! Just because I am visiting Spain doesn’t mean I have suddenly turned Spanish!!

  52. I set up a laptop for a friend who had Hotmail. She would access it at work mostly or at my home. She quit that job and starts a new one soon but wanted internet at home too. Unfortunately Hotmail blocks her account and asks for another email addy so we used mine and got the code. It then asks for information such as; details of past few Subject lines, general description of content last few emails, something about her Xbox account (BUT SHE DOESN’T HAVE ONE), then something about another account type she doesn’t have, then info about her credit card details BUT she has never used her card with MS. WITHOUT ALL THIS DETAIL IT WILL CONTINUE TO BLOCK HER FROM HOTMAIL!!! Unless you have all these extra accounts with MS you can not recover your Hotmail account when at a different computer anymore. I am only 20 Km from where she worked, not in a different country or state. Go Figure

    Microsoft you have gone completely SOFT IN THE HEAD!@#@! She now has no choice but to walk away from MS. BUT is that what MS wants I wonder. And what an ugly way to go about it.

  53. How can Microsoft be so dumb?. When we travel we may not have the same number. Even if I answer all security questions they dont give me access. I have to switch completely to GMAIL. Such a pity. Microsoft puts their worst performers in hotmail team. That could be the only reason. The architect who envisioned this is one reason why companies fail.

    • You can set your GMail account to download your Hotmail so you won’t lose it when you travel. Setting up recovery email addresses will also work. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize they have to do these things until it’s too late.

  54. Security is a good thing but MS took things waaaaaay too far! Getting the security codes is already very annoying: they know I have the password right and it comes from a know machine. That they next keep on forcing me to change my password is driving me completely crazy. Please MS, stop being so overprotective! And if I wish to revert to a password I used before, it is my responsibility, right? Please stop treating me like a kid….

  55. Micro Gone soft In the head ! Why once you have answered several security questions do they insis on pointless pages of verification crap, For a 21st Century system it’s got insecure about some its security . Wake up Microsoft and get up to speed , failure to provide a useful / user friendly service will result in not needing the service , We all understand the need for security but really the length of questions just to get my e mails it utter rubbish , Thank god for the other providers ,. And I don’t actually beleive this location querying mentality works at all, Is there a way we can just tell you where we are going and you believe us ? Maybe one day !! Rant over back to good old NTL world ,. Virgin Media ,… Signed NomadMally

  56. Go figure…. You don’t even need to move… I change my internet provider, leaving Rogers which servers are in Toronto, to Bell, which servers are in Montreal… Out of the 6 hotmails in the house, 4 got locked out for security reason ! And it seems I can’t answer enough questions to Microsoft’s taste to get the emails back. At least, 3 of those are the kids one and they don’t recieve much yet… But I lost mine, where I recieve the bills, you know, those damn bills you have to recieve thru email if you don’t want to pay 2$ for getting them thru snail mail… And microsoft techs are no avail… Overloaded because of Win10… I guess I’ll have to forget my account, only had it for the last 25 years, without any problem !

    • Word of advice: don’t give up. I find that simply taking a deep breath, and slowly reading through the recovery options eventually gets me back into my Hotmail account. Yes it’s very secure, but it is manageable.

  57. The outlook team is somehow not intelligent enough to solve this problem. I live in Europe and as I travel throuh the US the most stupid thing ever happened to me, I could not lock on to my email account in outlook. This is SOOOOOOO STUPID! They send you a code, WHERE TO? I CAN’T LOCK ON AT AAALLL! So how the hell can I get hold on the code. Please contract more intellegent than you got at the moment, They will sure be not able to solve thi problem, have a nice day!!

  58. My bank allows activity on my DR/ CR cards and accounts if and when I inform them of my travel plans – where and when I’m going. Am somewhat surprised MS does not have this functionality. When trying to login, I was asked too many personal questions and feared my identity was being stolen. Why not have just a few general questions such as favourite food/ mother’s middle name/ first girlfriend or boyrfriend name/ favourite flower/ favorite sport/ birth city etc?

    • If you set up a recovery email account, you should have no trouble getting into your account when you travel. One important caveat: make sure it’s an account which doesn’t lock you out when you travel. I have a few alternate recovery accounts. One of them is They are a barebones email service which doesn’t lock you out when you travel which I find useful as a last resort. It is unfortunate that Microsoft doesn’t make it clear that this is necessary until it’s too late.
      You can also set up a recovery code and keep it in a safe place.

      One problem with the mother’s maiden name etc. kind of questions is that those answers are often too easy to guess.

  59. I just want to join in on the Microsoft Bashing. It is ***MY RESPONSIBILITY*** to come up with an unusual password. If your password is something stupid like mike1234 you fail. If you password IS something complicated, then it’s not going to stop THAT level hacker from getting in… sorry… that’s how it works. Microsoft’s feature is COMPLETELY bullshit because if you use your phone to log into your account while your computer is also logged in you immediately get screwed right from your own home.

    Now last time I fixed this I changed my security e-mail to my gmail and I am 100% positive but when I hit “forgot password” it says my hotmail account doesn’t even exist. When I try to say “know my password but can’t sign in” it tries to ask for my old hotmail account which was permanently locked for this same exact reason.

    I am transferring all my accounts to a different company and NEVER going back to Microsoft. I also threw away my Xbox and Got a PS4. Microsoft if filthy.

  60. ***I wasn’t clear in my previous post***

    I am saying when someone signs up for an account, if they come up with a very good password, they won’t get hacked and if they do, the hacker is too advanced to be stopped by some silly security setting that actually makes it easier to get into your account than a good password.

    If you have a simple password and you get hacked, you can’t get mad at Microsoft to begin with – it was your fault for having a easy password.

    Their customer service is also garbage and keeps responding to my question with the same information I give them.

    “I’ve been locked out of my account and I went through the account verification process but haven’t gotten a response”
    “We have an account verification system that allows you to… bla bla bla”
    “I still haven’t gotten a response as to weather the verification process passed/failed and it’s been way more than 24 hours”
    “You will receive a response in 24 hours…”
    “I’m saying I HAVEN’T gotten a response and it’s been 2 weeks now”
    “We have an account verification system that allows you to… bla bla bla” (again) lol
    “@#$% is wrong with you @#$holes?”

  61. The article does not answer the question!

    I sympathise with the comments. hotmail is a total nuisance lately, this “feature” is just another example of their “user-abused” service.

    E-mails were supposed to be a technological feature of “globalisation”, you could access your e-mails from anywhere, BUT like many other technological advances in the hands of a FEW huge corporations, there is a hook to it, more even so if Something is sold as “FREE”, remember Bill Gates – Microsoft OWNS Hotmail – has not accumulated more wealth than anyone else in our planet for free. Microsoft is into software and into hardware directly and/or indirectly and some years ago they started too to have stakes in the smartphone business. So they too, like Apple (iphones), like google, want to be able to be in control of you … never the other way around … and if you don’t use the same device and/or access from the same location or are not easily traceable … well then you just are not a stupid teen who is being cookied 24/7 and whose habits/movements/preferences etc are going to be followed to the milimiter for the rest of his live … so Hotmail, Microsoft and all those ultra billionaires don’t like it.

  62. If MS wanted a simple solution they wouldn’t pay big $ to highly skilled developers. How much would anyone pay for something anyone could think up.
    Some rekon you get what you pay for but why would any sane person pay for a premium service when the basic one is becoming so crap.
    Had issues last July with a winter escape to Fiji. Wifi was very limited and only took my ph as travelling light. Changing from email to sms with ultra slow internet that keeps dropping out is hopeless.
    Travelling NZ to Sydney in a couple of days. Hopefully fully prepared for this as have practice when visiting Mum and Dad (10 min drive up the road).
    Anyway solutions have already been posted but for F#$% sake MS I won’t buy any of your products unless you can do better than this.

  63. Dear Mike, I travel for work and I am always abroad (hence me needing mobility and emails in the first place..). I have never had any issue before though recently I went to Hawaii and now Italy and in both cases I got locked out of both the ‘connected/linked’ accounts with hotmail and yahoo!! (one provides the back up to the other when the security check at sign in is concerned and requested). So I am now screwed completely and unable to contact either yahoo or hotmail to direclty fix the issue. The question I have for you is then, how did you fix yours? Is there a number to call, an email address or a building to blow up to get some attention here?

  64. I am on a European holiday and moving from country to country every few days. Each time I move I make new hotel or Airbnb bookings, I hire a car and maybe I book a flight. Soon as I land in the new location I am locked out of my Hotmail account. Yes, I have access to all prior emails but if any one in the country that I have arrived in, wants to tell me that there has been a cancellation of my booking or any other change then I have to wait 24 hours until I have completed the verification process before I can know about the change. And every time I have to answer the same list of questions. I have been a Hotmail user for around 20 years. Microsoft have been receiving these complaints for many years now and have done nothing about it. Sorry Hotmail but I cannot take this risk that I will miss a critical travel email with you anymore. I am off to Gmail.

  65. Okay, so my account was reset this time in much less than 24 hours, maybe two or three. I had to change my password again and no doubt will have to do so twice more in the next week as my holiday progresses. Every time I change my password I have to change it in my Apple mail account and in my Samsung phone. Gmail does not seem to require this level of messing around just because I am on holidays. There really should be a setting to allow me to tell them I am on holidays and not to block my account. I am sticking with my decision to move to Gmail.

  66. does there exist a free web based email that I can access anywhere on any device at any time from any isp? that IS THE POINT of web mail after all . . .

    • I’ve had good results from They don’t require any special authentication when traveling. I mainly use it as an alternate email address to authenticate my other accounts when necessary, but it can be used as your main freemail provider. They are owned by 1&1, one of the largest ISP’s in Germany and a major Webhosting service in the US. So I expect them to be around for a while.

    • I think it’s easy to miss the point of this article. The answer is, “Yes.” Hotmail itself is a free web based email that you can access anywhere on any device, at any time, from any ISP. So is Gmail, and any of the other free services. The catch is that the account has to be set up properly. All recovery features set, tested, and kept up-to-date.

      The problem is that people don’t know they need to set recovery and authentication features before they travel. Suddenly they are cut off of their accounts and have very little recourse. Mark and I have done numerous tests while traveling. We have even set up new Hotmail accounts with no recovery and then on purpose got ourselves locked out. We’ve been able to recover the accounts every time. Once I had someone back home simply log in and authenticate, and I was back in business. The problem is that every time we’ve done it a different little set of tricks were required, and it makes it impossible to come up with a clear set of steps “Here’s exactly what you do.” Bottom line is that it’s really hard to figure out what do to when you are cut off and don’t understand how or why.

  67. One might wonder if VPN’s actually work, and this is a test to show they do. I set my VPN location o Munich, and many sites are blocked like Netflix and Comcast, along with some mail, and my news sites are in German. VPN is not the solution to all problems but they do work.

  68. The problem we are having during overseas business trips as regards hotmail accounts can be solved easily by just add an extra very sensitive password requested only when the person arrived in a new country, which means that every country he visited he must applied for a new password, thus, when he returned back home he need to get back to his original password.


  69. Yes I was surprised when my Hotmail account was blocked when travelling. I had been using for years on various holidays abroad. I do not use a cell phone and my security number was my home land line.
    I tried the security questions and was able to answer questions but this was only because I use the account regularly; I was also lucky to access my gmail account which I do not use in normal circumstances. There also seemed to be an assumption that I had an x box or had registered my credit card with MS!!!
    I was hoping to add my tablet as a trusted device but the feature does not seem to be available for an android tablet which is a shame.

  70. It’s so annoying and it’s happened to me so many times at the worst situation! Literally just crossed from Thailand to burma(right next to each other) and it happens again! This will probably cost me money as I can’t print my boarding pass etc, why not make a feature that we can turn it off then we’re to blame if we get hacked, simple idea huh!?

    • This is a relatively new feature of Hotmail that was created to help with the huge problem of hacking. More than likely, in the future, Microsoft will suddenly change things again. Meanwhile, if it’s causing you problems the only real solution is to switch email providers.

  71. I have travelled 4 hrs away from my usual home. I stayed within Germany. I logged in whilst at my hotel and immediately got locked out due to suspicious activity. When will Microsoft realise people travel for a living.
    I now have to go through a process of receiving a verification code via phone ( not feasible sometimes if roaming) or via another email address. This can take a while as Microsoft are not the fastest at sending verification emails.
    So I have done this 3 times previously at the same hotel in the last year. Always tick the box saying I use this device. Can’t wait until I have to come here again and verify for a 5th time.
    My advise which I will take when I go home is migrate to another provider. Microsoft is now such a massive corporate giant they don’t care bout the little people. Thanks for reading my story.

    • I travel a lot and find that most free email providers take you through a few steps while traveling, although is the worst. I always carry a cell phone with my German SIM card and I’m able to receive the SMS confirmation number for free wherever I go. I also have several recovery email address for all my important accounts. GMX for example doesn’t send you through a bunch of hoops when you travel (or at least, it didn’t last time I logged in to it while traveling), so you might open an account with them to use as a backup recovery address.

  72. Actually Microsoft also locks you out if you change provider. Even though using the same computer at the same location. Whether that is a ‘security threat’, changing ones provider I sincerely doubt. If it wasn’t because of all the history connected to my account I would just tell them to go *** themselves. As it is I’m trying to recover it but it seems really difficult.

    Maybe they don’t want customers?

  73. I would say that the point of all this intrusiveness from Microsoft’s side is not about protecting ones account, it’s more about data mining to be used as they , and possibly others, deem fit. I won’t support that. As I find that the information I gave not is ‘enough’ to decide by, by their automatic response, I now find myself in a sinuation where they seem to need my whole life as it seems?

    * that, and them.

    I’m gone.

  74. The “couple of additional verification steps” the author thinks are no big deal are a big deal because they require you to receive a code on your cell phone, which if you are traveling overseas you either don’t have or if you do, it doesn’t work, or receiving a code on your back up account, which is ALSO blocked. I’ve been through this many times while changing planes in Frankfurt Germany. My cell phone doesn’t work, and I can’t get the code I need to use Hotmail on my Yahoo account because that’s also blocked. It’s insane that you can’t notify these sites that you’re going to be in a certain area, the way you have to do with credit cards. A VPN is the only solution.

    • The only thing we can think of which may possibly work is to get someone at home to either get the code from your phone, or log into your recovery account for you. We tested that once while one of us was traveling and it did work.

    • I live in Germany, and when I travel to the US, I can get text messaged on my German cell phone. It’s even free to receive texts. I’m not sure how US cell phones handle SMS texts while traveling. It might be that the US cell phone service providers block you from receiving texts unless you have a roaming upgrade.
      But, if you are using a CDMA phone, perhaps switching to a SIM card based cell phone will work in Europe.

        • The only ones that I’m aware of (and in fact use myself) are apps that run on your phone and “mirror” the texts to your PC. So your phone would have be on and able to recieve texts. It’s unclear if Google Voice numbers can receive texts. I should try that. 🙂

          • If I send a text to my home phone here in Germany, I get a phone call and a robo voice reads me the text. It’s a VOIP phone which came with my internet service. I have to see if something like that works on my Magic Jack.

          • I had a couple of texts sent to my Magic Jack and the text appears on my Magic Jack Android app. So something like a Magic Jack could be a relatively inexpensive way to get account verification texts abroad. I would imagine that would work on most VoIP apps. (Update, it seems Magic Jack no longer receives SMS texts, so now I have my daughter’s phone number registered with my important accounts)

  75. I have 2 issues, which I haven’t seen in all the dialogue. I live in Canada, and have the problem both in Canada and The US. I’m now 1000 km from home, both in Canada.
    1) I have 4 e-mail accounts 2 are Hotmail, 1 Outlook and 1 webmail from my ISP. I’ve just been locked out of my 2 hotmails (but not my outlook). I got both to send a code to my webmail (great!). In each case they sent me a 7 digit code. One worked right away. but when I put in the other in it looked like it was frozen (I had that symbol circling for many minutes), so finally tried again 4 times and gave up. When I tried to log in this am, the 4th code must have worked. (and here I am :-)).

    2) I used try to use voice mail (not text) on my home landline and try to access it remotely. It left me a 6 digit code, which of course didn’t work. My guess is it started the message with the code before my outgoing message started. Have you heard of this before?

    Re: 1+2, any ideas what’s happening and any ideas on what I can do?

    Always nice to talk to another Leo.

    • The problem with the spinning page might be a browser cache issue, or a bad internet connection. Lots of times when traveling we end up on overloaded wifi. It works great one moment, then stalls out.

    • Unfortunately, not really. Since you have webmail from your ISP I’d be tempted to use that as the alternate address for Microsoft mail accounts and have confirmation/recovery information sent to it.

  76. This is really f…. ridiculous. What are security questions for then ???? I travel a lot and get really mad when i cant connect to my account because my location or the device i use is different… and it always happens at the worst time. Plus when you re abroad, the phone number you associate with your account for security reasons doesnt work because guess what….. you are abroad so your sim card n cellphone number doesnt work. I hate hotmail recovery system, it sucks it sucks it f…. sucks and it makes me wanna punch and smash the device i’m using. What would not be retarded is to give the user the option to activate or not this f…. retarded extra security system…. GFY Outlook hotmail.

    • I think much of it is a reaction to the fact that Hotmail was ruined by spammers and scammers. Microsoft wasn’t on top of it while it was happening, and hasn’t got a good grasp on what to do about it now. The most positive thing I can think is that they are over-reacting now and that will clean up their reputation as an email provider. Maybe in the future they will get it together. Meanwhile, frankly, use something else. Is it worth all that aggravation!

      Maybe this article will help:

      • If you follow Connie’s suggestion and route your Hotmail through Gmail, you can still continue to use your Hotmail account and use your Gmail account to access it. When you travel, Gmail will continue to retrieve your Hotmail emails.

  77. Phone broke while overseas.
    Now it is literally impossible to access my emails until I get home to my laptop.
    Microsoft can eat a dick!!!

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