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How do I change my Hotmail alternate email address?


The email address I used for recovery is no longer valid. I can’t figure out how to change my alternate email address.

Your alternate email address is a critical bit of information that you’ll need if you ever lose your password, or if your account ever gets hacked.

It’s good of you to note that your current one is invalid – if you no longer have access to your alternate email address then it’s just as bad as, perhaps even worse than, not having set up an alternate email address at all.

I’ll show you how to change it.

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First: Login To Your Account

You must be able to login to your account in order to change your alternate email address.

If you have lost access to your account, if it’s been hacked, if you’ve forgotten your password then it’s too late.

If that’s the case you’ll need to try to recover access to your account before you can make any of the changes outlined here. What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options? is the article to read.

Change Your Alternate Email Address

If you have lost access to your account, if it’s been hacked, if you’ve forgotten your password then it’s too late.

After logging into Hotmail, click on the Options link at the upper right of the screen, and then the More Options link that appears at the bottom of the resulting menu:

Hotmail Options menu, More options item

On the resulting page, underneath “Managing your account”, click on the Account details link:

The Account details link in Hotmail's Managing your account

This takes you to the following page showing you the details of your account including your name, attributes that you included about you, and an important section on “Password reset information”:

Hotmail account overview, highlighting the add/remove links for alternate email addresses

As you can see, your current alternate email address is listed, if you have one.

If it’s no longer valid, click the corresponding Remove link.

To add a new email address in its place, click on the Add link. You’ll be asked to confirm your password (to avoid someone walking by and adding their email address while you’re away from your computer).

You’ll then be asked to enter the new email address (twice – you’d be shocked at how often people mistype their own email address):

Hotmail add alternate email address form

Once you click on Add you’ll be taken to this page:

Hotmail indicating that your alternate email addition needs to be confirmed

As you can see I have a mobile phone associated with the account, so I received both a text message and an email indicating that the change needed to be confirmed.

Note that the email was not sent to the new address, but rather to an existing email address associated with the account – either the Hotmail address itself, or another alternate email address already associated with the account. This is critically important to prevent someone from being able to add their address to your account – if they got the confirmation request, they could confirm it and in doing so would be able to take over your account.

Here’s the email confirmation that I received:

Subject: Windows Live Account Security
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 10:24:05 -0800
From: Windows Live Team <>
To: <leoold********>
It looks like you added an alternate email address to your Windows Live account
(****** You can use this email address to reset your password if
you forget it.
– Alternate email: leonew*********

If you added leonew*********, great! Use this link to confirm
leonew********:[very long string]

If you didn’t add leonew********, cancel the request by using this link:[very long string]

Thank you,
Windows Live

Microsoft respects your privacy. To learn more, please read our online privacy

Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052

Since this is a change you requested, click on the “Approve” link, and you’ll be taken back to the Account information page, with the newly added email address shown.

If You Don’t Get The Approval Email

Remember, you must have access to the email address to which Hotmail will send that approval link. That means you should make sure to remove any invalid email addresses before adding a new one.

Also, check your spam folder. My assumption is that because there are so many bogus password confirmation emails and phishing attempts that it’s quite possible that your email program or service might think that a legitimate request is a “false positive”, and mark it as spam.

And as I indicated earlier, if you don’t have access to the Hotmail account for which you want to make this change please read What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options?

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42 comments on “How do I change my Hotmail alternate email address?”

  1. My experience: Someone changed my alternate email address in hotmail from “Yahoo!” to Yahool. That’s from an Exclamation mark to an “L” after yahoo. Every time I tried to change the password it was sent to the hacker. When I tried to delete the bad alternate email address, the email was sent to the hacker as well as the new alternate email address I set up. It was very frustrating! I then contacted hotmail who asked me to prove it was my account by providing data. I had to go by memory but I gave them enough information to prove it was indeed my account.
    I told them the problem about the Hotmail alternate email address and they sent back a standard reply. I AGAIN wrote to them and explained about Yahoo! and Yahool then I gave up. I removed all the email I had and wrote my contacts to ignore all future emails from the hotmail account and gave them a new gmail account. As Leo recommends I tried to close the account and failing that I monitored it for about a month. Lo and behold hotmail removed the Yahool alternate email address. After checking everything and using the free RoboForm to put in a much better password I have my hotmail account back although I am now using gmail as my main email. My point is that you can sometimes get your account back. But be ready to jump through a lot of hoops.

    Emphasis on “sometimes”.


  2. hi this is shayan here i am using hotmail id but suddenly sumbody changed my alternate e-mail adress and i am getting alot trouble with that and when i am goint to delete that and add another id sum error is appearing si i would like to about it please if any body can solve that problem please

    This article discusses recovery options for the various ways that Hotmail accounts can be lost or compromised: What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options?

  3. You write “If it’s no longer valid, click the corresponding Remove link”, but when I click on the Remove link, hotmail wants to send a confirmation email to the very address I can no longer access and am therefore trying to remove! Any advice?

    Then you may be out of luck. This article discusses recovery options for the various ways that Hotmail accounts can be lost or compromised: What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options?


  4. I put my alternative email as an old girlfriend im no longer with.
    I have selected that I have lost the details. But just says lost next to it.

    How long does this last till removed?

  5. I used to have a mobile phone number “confirmed” for my Live account. I no longer have that phone number. I realized that I hadn’t updated my account. So, I go and try to add my new one. As Leo points out, the confirmation will go to an existing confirmed number. This just won’t work. So I try and remove my old phone number.

    The problem is: It wants to confirm the renewal by sending a text to the phone number I am trying to remove! I just don’t see how that is ever going to work. As is stated in the original article, “if you no longer have access to your alternate [method] then it’s just as bad as, perhaps even worse than, not having set up an alternate [method] at all.”

    If anyone has a work around, let me know.

  6. Hi,

    I’m having troubles changing my alternative email address on hotmail. I know where to go to have it changed but when I do try to change it there is a verification email being sent to my yahoo address that doesn’t receive email anymore because Yahoo added a .au to the end of it. I read that if you sign in with a trusted PC then that should let me override this issue but its the same thing I sign in and cannot change anything because the trusted PC needs to be verified before allowing you to use it.

    I’ve gone through the hotmail help for answers and even selected ‘forgot my password’ where I had to answer all these questions but they didn’t pay attention to what I wrote and just gave me a link to reset my password with….

    Any suggestions?

    Maybe I should wait till 2034 when Hotmail will finally have a contact help desk to give us answers… haha


  7. I had a very old(15 yrs) account that came up as the default when I tried to send some job applications. Because I cant remember the old password, the applications are locked in this account. I tried to reset the password but no secret questions came up. The alternate address is some old aol account I never heard of. Can anyone tell me how to email hotmail customer support, or call them? Im desperate.

    This article discusses recovery options for the various ways that Hotmail accounts can be lost or compromised: What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options?


  8. Yes, I’m having the same problem as the rest of you, when i first setup my primary email i used a throw away email as the password reset and now i cant get into that account to remove it as an alt email, ive even done the password recovery thing, and anwsered questions but i didnt get enough right i dont think, ive try to remove the email and it says that an email will be sent to the address and if no one responds it will be removed immediatly, well its been a week and its still there, hotmail help dont talk to you or anything they just tell you you havnt passed there tests, there are no other options that i can see, please someone help me out.

    There may be no further options. This article discusses recovery options for the various ways that Hotmail accounts can be lost or compromised: What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options?


  9. When I click remove to get rid of the alternate email address I can no longer access it asked me to confirm it through the very same email. can you help me?

  10. Hi Leo, the removal of invalid alternate email address could not be done by follow you instruction. Somehow hotmail still required to send confirmation message even to the invalid alternate email no matter I want to remove or add an email.

    Do you have any alternatives?

    Thank you.

  11. Hello Leo, i follow your procedure about putting up a Alternate email Add, but the answer is always like these * That email address is too long or contains characters that aren’t allowed. Try a different email address.* i add another email add of mine but the same thing was happen… Please advise me. thanks

  12. Here is the real solution for INACTIVE alternate emails, takes time but it works like a charm.

    1. Sign in at using your Windows Live ID and password.
    2. Locate the “Password reset information” section, and then click “Remove” next to “Email” and “Confirmed.”
    3. Click the “Remove all your information” at the bottom page.
    4. Click “Mark for removal” link to continue.
    5. “Confirmed” status of alternate e-mail address should be changed to “Lost.”

    From the time it is marked “lost”, a confirmation message with 7days validity will be send to the alternate email address if it is not acted upon during that period, the message will just go away and the alternate email address will be deleted in 30days.

    Only then, you can add your own alternate email address.

  13. hi My name is Fahad sir i m very upset my hotmail account is temprorley blocked i will try to unblocked My Account but its Not Work becouz My Alternet Email id is already hacked so i cant resived a coad for my unblocking account now i need ur help becouz i want to chang my alterneat email account & resived a coad in my new alternet account pleas pleas help me i m wating ur replay on this account {email address removed} its My temprerly email account & plz granted my request & help me

    This article discusses recovery options for the various ways that Hotmail accounts can be lost or compromised: What are my Lost Hotmail Account and Password Recovery Options?


  14. I tried to change an incorrect email on my account but it wants to send a message to that email when I confirm. The email does not belong to me. How do I delete the email?

  15. I want to delete an alternate email address. The problem is that I do not have access to that alternate email account, and in order to delete the alternate email account an email must be sent to that alternate email account. What do I do? Thank you.

  16. I am attempting to remove an alternate email that may have been added by a hacker. When I attempt to delete it, confirmation wants to be sent to the alternate email address. That requires a password that I did not create because I did not create the … alternate email email. Any suggestions?

  17. I rote wrongly alternate email address when I created my e-mail, like: ….@hotmail.cim (there’s no cim, it should be com), so when I need to change it or delete it will send the confirm e-mail to the wronge one!!! what to do in this case?

  18. i want to delete my old Alternate email address
    ,click”delete”,and click”send message” for many times, but i did not received any of the “confirm email” in my email….what s wrong??

  19. Hi,

    I have received an email from my hacker, stating he has hacked my account on facebook and MSN. He has also added his email as alternate email for the security, I have looked everywhere on how to remove this, but has no luck, it is located within the Manage security option… Please advice… If I dont remove him, there is no point changing my password 100 times.

  20. I have the same issues people are showing in their comments but does anyone have an answer? How do you delete an alternate email address that does exist if youre suppose to go to that email address and confirm you want to delete it..its stupid

  21. @Daryl
    “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is so true. Websites are working diligently to provide security on accounts, but there is very little they can do if people do not manage their recovery options. Fortunately, the future is bright and long if we learn from past mistakes!

  22. before when i opened my e-mail i have signed alternative mobile and e-mail later i have changed my mobile and the alernative e-mail is closed and trying to change my aternative contact but everything sent to the old contact,,,, how can i change them

  23. Hi – I’ve recently recovered my hotmail account after it was hacked then blocked.
    As they suggest, I’m trying to change my alternate email, but when I do anything, it wants to send the confirmation email to the old email account, which no longer exists (lycos). I remember trying to change this ages ago, but gave up because it seemed impossible – Needing to cofirm deletion of the account through the very account I want to delete.
    It’s showing the new gmail account I used in the recovery process, but when I try to confirm this address, it wants to send the confirmation email to the lycos account again. Aaaaaaagh!
    Is there anything that I can do about this – It seems like a ridiculous system?

  24. @Tom,
    I feel your pain! Lots and lots of people are having this very same problem. But think about it; if it was easy to change that alternate email, then then hacker would have just gone ahead and done so. Hotmail has a certain amount of wisdom in the way they are trying to protect accounts.

    The moral of the story (unfortunately) is that not only is prevention worth a pound of cure… in the case of Hotmail it’s the only cure. Your only choice is to try to retrieve the old email from Lycos for at least a one-time use to verify your account.

  25. I was currently blocked from my Windows Live account because someone used it to spam. I have gone thru the process and now have it back. I went into the security portion to update the info and security question. The alternate email no longer exists (AKO) since I left the military. I checked out your answer to the question. It no longer works that way. It wants to send confirmation to that email address. I’ve read all the comments on this page. We all have the same problem. I don’t find any answers for this problem. How can we fix the problem if no one will help us?

    Unfortunately I don’t know of a solution to that problem or I’d have posted it long ago. It underscores the importance of keeping the alternate email address up to date and always pointing to an active accessible account.

  26. After some digging I found out how to change your alternative email.
    First things to do is “click” the delete option behind the alternative email.
    In the next windows choose the option below that is stated “Don’t use any of this security info? Mark it all for removal”
    At that time you can change your options but after 30 days the new info will be valid and the old one will be deleted.
    Good Luck!!!

  27. I have a hotmail address, my husband also wants a hotmail address for his own e-mails how do I go about setting one up for him, not to hot on internet jargon so please explain in simple language, the idea is so we can both have individual e-mail addresses.

  28. This is outdated information. You can’t change it like this anymore. You need to wait 30 days it the old email is outdated or typed in wrong.
    What a nightmare!

  29. my email id hacked . and hacker include his own id alternate id hacker id {email address removed} sir plz solve my problem .i m too much tired.

  30. Thank you very much.
    I have been struggling to find my way around the maze that is trying to find this information.
    You opened up the right way for me, once again thank you very much

  31. The screen shots and method are all out of date now – looks nothing like this now. Maybe update the article or remove it.


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