Online Email

Published on March 25th, 2013 | by adminbill


A suite of Microsoft services that includes several web services with desktop integration. The most popular services on Live include: Outlook, an online email client, and Skydrive, for file storage in the cloud.

Live and Kickin’

Using Microsoft Live services requires you to set up a Microsoft account via the sign-in page. The sign-up form requests the usual details, namely; name, date of birth, gender, username and password.

Microsoft’s password policy is quite strict compared to other services.  Passwords must have at least eight characters and contain at least two of the following; upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and symbols.  There is no indication of the relative strength of your chosen password.  A password has to be typed in twice correctly to be accepted and Microsoft offers at least three different options to rest it in case you lose it.

In the sign-up form you are given the choice to input your phone number, use an alternative email address or create a security question using one of the six questions available.  The answer for the security question has to be at least five characters long and it is not case-sensitive.

Safe and Sound

Microsoft Live lets you use its services via a secure https connection by default and there is no need to set this up manually through your account.

Since April 2013, Microsoft has rolled out a two-step verification system for all of its online products to boost the safety of users’ accounts.  To switch on two-step verification, go to and click on ‘Set up two-step verification’.  You will be asked to add your mobile phone number and an alternative email address so that you can receive security codes to access your services.  There is also the option to download an authenticator app on your smartphone or tablet so that you can get your security codes even if you’re not connected to a network or there is no mobile coverage.

Stayin’ Alive

All the security settings on Microsoft Live are located within the Account Settings page that can be accessed through

Under the ‘Overview’ list, you have the options to easily change your password as well as to access security info related to your account.

To review your security info you will be asked to input a special code that can be sent directly to your phone or an alternative email address, although this extra layer of security can be turned off.  On this page you can; enter or modify your phone number, alternative email address, security question, set up two-step validation and check the list of trusted devices that connect to your account.

Your Data: Under Control

When you register for Microsoft Live your personal information may be combined with data obtained from other Microsoft services or other companies.  The information collected in this way or recorded from cookies is used for the display of personalized content and advertising.

Microsoft may also use this data to let you know of other products or services offered by Microsoft and its affiliates, or to send you surveys related to its services.  In its online Privacy Notice, Microsoft claims that they do not sell, rent, or lease their customer lists to third parties.  However in order to help it provide services, some information may be occasionally provided to other companies that work on its behalf on a strictly confidential basis.

Leaving the Nest

Deleting your Live account and removing all your personal data (username, password, contacts and profile data)  is very straightforward.  Simply access your Account Settings page on and go on ‘Close account’ under the ‘Overview’ list.

Before closing your account, you will be requested to input your password and you will be informed of the consequences of doing so.

It’s A Wild World Out There

There have been several reports of hackers gaining access to Live accounts on the news, although these have mainly centred on accounts linked to Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console.  Microsoft has denied most of these alleged attacks.

Since the login information used for an Xbox account can also be used to access Live services, there is a significant probability that hackers having that information could have used it to gain unauthorised access to Live accounts as well.

Trusting Strangers

There are few third-party applications that integrate with Live.  These applications are mainly social networks and other email or calendar clients that can share information with Live.  Microsoft does not guarantee the security of third party applications that integrate with Live and leaves it up to the users’ discretion to decide whether to trust these applications or not.

Keeping Track of Your Data

Unfortunately, at present there are no native Live tools that help you keep track of how secure your data is.

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