Configure Hotmail’s New Security Features

Here’s how to activate those new security features for Hotmail … apparently, they’re not as self-evident as they could be.

The Windows Live team announced yesterday that they added additional security features to Windows Live Hotmail. The majority of those features were aimed at protecting email accounts against hijackers, and improving options to recover hacked accounts.

This guide describes how to configure Hotmail’s new security features to improve the overall security of the email account.

Load and log into the Hotmail website as usual. You probably do not see any changes on the first screens, as Microsoft somehow has decided to display no notifications of the new features to the user. That’s rather strange, considering that only a minority of email account owners read the Windows Live blog or tech blogs like ours.

In Hotmail, click on the Options link in the upper right corner of the screen, and select More Options from the menu. Now click the View and edit your personal information link under Manage your account.

password reset information

password reset information

Locate the Password Reset Information entries. Hotmail lists four now, instead of two which has been the case before the update. The new options are Mobile Phone and Trusted PC.

A click on the Add button next to one of the proofs that have not been configured yet. Let’s take a closer look at each option:

Email: This one has been available before. Hotmail users can enter a secondary email address for verification purposes. This can also be used at a later time to send the password reset link to.

hotmail secondary email

hotmail secondary email

Mobile Phone Number: The Hotmail user can link a mobile phone number to the account. This can be used to reset the email password whenever necessary.

add mobile phone number

add mobile phone number

All it takes is to select the country code and enter the mobile phone number to add the proof to the Hotmail account. The mobile phone number will not be tested during creation, so make sure it is the correct number to avoid difficulties when the password needs to be reset. It is possible to configure multiple mobile phone numbers.

Trusted PC: The second addition to the Password Reset Information options. This requires the installation of Windows Live Essentials, which means it is only a valid option for Windows users.

This apparently does not seem to work with Windows Live Essentials Beta, at least that’s what I was told when I tried to add a trusted PC.


To add a trusted PC to your account, you need to have Windows Live Essentials Installed.

I tried using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, thinking that maybe it was a browser issue, but the same error message appeared. I’m not sure why there is this limitation. Let me know if you managed to add a trusted PC and which version of Windows Live Essentials you have installed.

The last proof available is the security question and answer. Most users have probably configured that already.

The new password reset proofs give users more flexibility when reseting passwords and recovering accounts. To bad the trusted PC proof is currently limited to the Windows operating system, and there to users who have Live Essentials installed.

© Martin for gHacks Technology News, 2010. | Permalink | Add to, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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