February 20th 2009 2:04 am PT

Windows Live ID’s and Gamertags

I want to take a moment to talk about Windows LIVE ID’s and Gamertags. Recently,

there have been a few stories about Gamertags becoming unrecoverable. I want to set the record straight, and let you know what is going on, and what we’re doing about it.


What happens:

In the rare case that you DO NOT sign in to Xbox.com or another website that uses Windows LIVE ID (like Hotmail) it is possible that your Windows LIVE ID expires (goes dormant.) 

An Xbox LIVE Gamertag is unrecoverable from the system only when the associated Windows Live ID has become dormant and the Gamertag has been deleted from all Xbox 360 consoles. 

Members with dormant Windows Live IDs can continue to enjoy the benefits of their Xbox LIVE Gamertags on their Xbox 360 consoles, including earning Achievements; however, they will not be able to use their expired Windows Live IDs for activities such as account management on Xbox.com.

 

It is important to note that an Xbox LIVE Gamertag is unrecoverable from the system only when the associated Windows Live ID has become dormant and the Gamertag has been deleted from all Xbox 360 consoles.

What you can do to prevent having any problems:

We recommend that people log into their Windows Live ID on Xbox.com or Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Web at least once every four months.

 

What we’re doing:

We are actively working on an update that will allow you to link your Gamertag to a new Windows Live ID if one becomes dormant.

If anyone should have an issue regarding their Xbox 360 or Xbox LIVE account should visit xbox.com/support so we can assist you.

 

Archive By Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson

  • oO Creech Oo

    I’ve never heard of a company that will shut off your account, and make it so you can not get it back.

  • jrrronimo

    Thanks for the info, Major.

    I lost my original Xbox Live account (for original Xbox) by not logging in for a number of months… or maybe even a couple of years. I don’t recall. What really chaffed me, though, was that Microsoft told me that that username could never be used again. (I used to be “jrronimo”, now I am “jrrronimo” due to the mix-up.)

  • Carl72x

    Yay, Glad to see you guys are addressing this. I have been without my beloved gamertag(Carl72) for almost 3 years. I just hope I can figure out my password on my original Xbox to the account…

  • Oatmeal25

    Live IDs (.net, passport, whatever you want to brand it) have been inconvenient from the start. I think it’s time to rethink them and come up with something secure, convenient and functional.

  • Col Hartman

    YES! I hope they release an update my original gamertag back from the xbox was Gold for 2 years and I could not transfer it to the 360 when my live id went dormant!

  • Turtle502

    I’m just sitting here and finding it really hard to believe that Microsoft EXPECTS people to login to Xbox.com (or something else, for that matter) to keep their Xbox gamertag active. Wow. Just Wow.
    .
    From a programming standpoint…if a user needs a Windows Live ID to setup a gamertag…then why doesn’t Xbox Live communicate FORWARD to the Windows Live ID system and say “hey, this person logged in today…set ‘disable’ to FALSE”. Even if they synchronized data ONCE A MONTH, would it really be that difficult…?
    .
    This is especially perplexing since Marketplace is on Xbox.com…AND the Xbox.com Marketplace and the console obviously communicate with each other…!!!

  • Hyunkel07

    I’m european, but as a Jack Bauer fan I wanted the dashtheme and gamerpics from 24 season 6 ( a long time ago now ), so I created a US account to get those, and used it in my regular European Gamertag. But after my XBOX 360 RRODed, it went to repair and when it came back, after I connected my HDD, it refreshed every DRM, so US content was not allowed on my european gamertag anymore. I tried to use the DRM repair tool from XBOX website, but it didn’t worked, so I deleted it from my XBOX and tried to connect to my old US account, but couldn’t connect to it. I tried to access the mailbox from hotmail but it didn’t work either. And after changing my 24 gamerpic that was still on my GT to register on majornelson blog, I couldn’t put it back.

    All that because we, eurpoean, have the poorest marketplaceever, despite the fact that our XBOX Live Gold subscription is ( a lot ) more expensive than american one. And we don’t even have TV Shows on VOD, nor Netflix or a huge quantity of other services and gift US gamer have.

    DRM ( and region lock games ) are evil, why are you using it? It’s one of the rare good things on PS3 ( with the free online part, hope the big announce of next E3 will be a free XBOX Live gold or at least a good price cut on it, or degressiv charging depending on the time you are a XBOX Live Gold member )

    I feel better, but still think every word ;)

  • P00K

    @Turtle502: Exactly. It seems very much like one of those half-implemented ideas someone in a board room came up with.

  • P00K

    @Hyunkel: “I’m european, but as a Jack Bauer fan I wanted the dashtheme and gamerpics from 24 season 6 ( a long time ago now ), so I created a US account”

    And in doing so violated the terms of use.

  • P00K

    Sorry – Point being, this post by the major is about something that’s broken and doesn’t work as designed. You’re complaining about using something in a manner other than designed and it not working for you. Not the same thing.

  • Osty

    @Marvic

    Did you even try the steps I gave? That is not your “alternate” email address. That is the email address associated with the Live ID. Change that and your login name changes everywhere.

    Do not click “Change” on the “Alternate email address” under “Password reset information”. Click “Change” on the email address right under your name. For example, if your name is John Doe and your email address is john@doe.com, you’d see this at the top of the page:

    John Doe
    john@doe.com _Change_

    Click that and you’ll change the email address associated with the Live ID and *not* the alternate address for password recovery.

  • oO Creech Oo

    Sadly I don’t have my original XBox, and I have no freaking clue what my email address was back then. So unless Xbox support is gonna help, I’m pretty much SOL. Even though my original account was from the beta testing phase. *sigh*

  • Celtic82

    I think I found an easy solution. Everyone hates junk mail right? What I do is use hotmail for my junk account and gmail for my address that never gets junk mail. I give out my hotmail address like it is going out of style. If people are trying to sell me some crap, and want an email address, I say sure, and give them the hotmail one. I check the hotmail one probably at least once every 2 or 3 months. I check my GMAIL account every day.

    Microsoft, in my opinion, makes two superior products:
    1. Xbox 360
    2. OneNote

    Other than that, their products are subpar. They are all maligned with issues of this sort. Microsoft needs to listen to customers and fix stuff like this. It would even be nice to have Major Nelson even respond to some of the comments on here. This situation is just bad business. They may think that they are being smart by forcing people to use/create hotmail accounts, but it is driving people away from the Microsoft brand. The more I use microsoft stuff, the more I don’t like it, except for the previously mentioned, fantastic products above (not that they don’t have issues).

  • Turtle502

    @Celtic82 —
    The issue, though, is that most people who sign-up for Xbox Live probably don’t know they’re actually subscribing to Windows Live services…and they probably never log into Hotmail or Xbox.com because they either don’t need to OR they don’t want to. My guess is that this is much more of a problem than we here realize — people who come to this blog are pretty active in the community, and probably log on to Xbox.com (and other Microsoft Windows services) fairly regularly. It just doesn’t affect us. Having separate email addresses doesn’t solve the problem, unfortunately.
    .
    I wonder how many people are offline because of this, because they don’t understand the problem and have given up trying to connect…

  • TreyTable

    Hey Major, what about the people who do not own computers?

  • xLiKx

    Xbox.com down for anyone else? dammit, now i need to enter all my codes via the 360…

  • Zeuxis

    how about you guys do something about people who move to a new country and can’t migrate their account with them (can’t change payment address)? tired of you guys ignorring this, its f****** pissing me off to be honest after hours on the phone with your shitty support who have no clue.

  • Wickedneoq

    And this is a prime example why, Microsoft (not Xbox Live) should step up with things. Heck, an incredibly simple solution to this is a web browser on the 360. Never say never.

  • Y0UNIK0RN

    Hello Major can you answer me or anyone for that matter?

    I have many accounts for my family even paid for a f*cking 12 year account for my brother.

    Our xbox gets red ringed and 3 months later we get it back, my hard drive for some reason won’t let the accounts be used? So eventually we upgraded to an elite and tried recovering the accounts and it kept saying the email or password were wrong. So I then went online and it says the email doesn’t exist so I can’t do anything now I have my money spent on account that I can’t play. Seriously what are you guys going to do about it? If the email doesn’t exist and we can’t access the account on our xbox even if you fix it how can you prove that someone even owns that account?

  • Xbox Sonic

    I’ve got another problem – my freindlist is now full.
    Could you please add the limit a bit?

  • Jaymo1978

    I was about to post this info, but someone earlier beat me to it. Folks, LISTEN TO OSTY back on Page 1 of the replies. He said:

    “If you have any doubts at all about possibly losing the email linked to your Live ID, go change it now. It’s pretty simple to do, and most email addresses will work (gmail.com is good).
    1. Go to https://account.live.com and log in
    2. Click the “Change” link next to your email address on the page
    3. Choose the “Use your own email address” radio button under “Change your Windows Live ID”
    4. Put in your address and save
    You internal Live ID number will stay the same (so-called PUID, the number that identifies your account), but your login will now be your new email address. I did this a couple years ago and it worked just fine with my Xbox Live account. It’s pretty much seamless.”

    Originally you used to be prevented from changing your Live ID logon once it was set up, you could only change the Alternate. BUT this problem was fixed a couple of years ago during, IIRC, a Fall update. At that time I changed mine from a “dummy” Hotmail address (which I used ONLY for Xbox Live) to my personal email and have been able to use that to log on ever since.

    Good looking out for posting this, Osty, and thanks for being on top of this Major.

  • thetonyclifton

    This is a bit about face

    Signing into xbox live should be enough to keep the account alive, the fact that it isnt seems ridiculous and needs to be rectified.

  • thetonyclifton

    Sorry for the double post but I think it is worth saying

    If I were to lose my xboxlive account, I would never play again. So you have done a good job making an online profile and achievements an essential part of online gaming but with that comes the responsibility that you must protect that profile for your users.

  • Lucky 13 X

    Thanks for the update Major.

  • MACPH1ST0

    In regards to your tweet, I think “FTW” and “woot” have both long overstayed their welcome.

  • Blue Thunder28

    This would be nice because my brother wants to change the windows live ID on his gamertag to his usual one so he can use MSN but can’t because he already made a zune tag with his normal one windows live ID and that also apparently counts as a gamertag… and can’t because it says it’s already attached to a gamertag.

  • Celtic82

    I like that people, of all things, have walked the moon (some believe), yet MS cannot think of a way to have an interconnected product (live and the xbox) actually speak to each other and say that it is not inactive.

    Microsoft amazes all once again with ingenuity and customer service!

    The rumor of the known problem of scratching disks and now this. It seems like they want people to really question how much they care about their customers.

  • killer rin

    sweet nice update major good thing this is nt a problem for me as i sign into bungie.net everyday… and xbox.com everyday and a manage my acount from xbox.com almost everyday and whenever i sign into xbox live on my gamer tag it signs me onto live messenger so it will be imposible for this to happen…
    good thing to know you guys are trying to do someing like that to relink your gamertag to another email… this is a good thing and a bad thing because if someone finds out your email/pass after your account becomes dormant they can switch your acount over to their email address making it impossible to get it back even with support (that was hardly any help to my r/l friend when someone stoll his account and tried to sell it it got it locked so it couldnt be used and he had to call back like 2 months later (after they did nothing to try to get it back)angry and everything) but what im trying to say is good thing to know you guys are working on something like this.

  • killer rin

    sweet nice update major good thing this is nt a problem for me as i sign into bungie.net everyday… and xbox.com everyday and a manage my acount from xbox.com almost everyday and whenever i sign into xbox live on my gamer tag it signs me onto live messenger so it will be imposible for this to happen…
    good thing to know you guys are trying to do someing like that to relink your gamertag to another email… this is a good thing and a bad thing because if someone finds out your email/pass after your account becomes dormant they can switch your acount over to their email address making it impossible to get it back even with support (that was hardly any help to my r/l friend when someone stoll his account and tried to sell it it got it locked so it couldnt be used and he had to call back like 2 months later (after they did nothing to try to get it back)angry and everything) but what im trying to say is good thing to know you guys are working on something like this.

  • MoonKnight

    well that makes me very mad since I called in october relating to my wife’s yahoo account that was not tied to her gamertag anymore. Funny how she can download, play online (free weekend) and behave like she is on a silver account but trying to access her account and it throws the support error. Support says they are looking into it and since it is now four months later and she still has not been fixed, makes it really hard to convince her to get a gold membership if we can’t even get this fixed!

  • Logic Squirrel

    All hotmail.com and live.com live id’s should be protected accounts when used in conjunction with xbox live. I would of thought that would of been common sense, but i am glad something is getting done about it.

  • Jaymo1978

    Okay, Major, can you clear this up – I’m understanding a bit more about this problem. From what I understand, the issue of MS Passports expiring has only started in the past six months or so. Individual accounts like Hotmail accounts have always expired after periods of inactivity, but PASSPORTS never used to. But now they DO. So, even if you DO change your Live ID to match your personal email instead of an expiring Hotmail address, your Passport will still expire if you don’t log into a Passport site once every 30 days or so…?

    So, doesn’t it seem like the only SENSIBLE solution to this problem would be to make it so logging into Live through your CONSOLE would count as a login hit on your Passport? That way, people who set up a Passport ONLY for the purpose of using Xbox Live wouldn’t then be required to otherwise needlessly log into a Passport Website?

  • Sim31

    I agree, signing in on your xbox, should at least keep the account active

  • SkyyPlum

    This is good to know and while I’ve never had this problem, the past couple days I’ve been having xbox live disconnect problems. I posted a topic on xbox.com and others around the US seem to be having the same problems with just random disconnects the past couple days. Is something going on Major that we should know about because tomorrow I was going to get the lost and damned and enjoy some of the new multi player modes but a little scared to because I don’t want to be disconnected during. Any info would be appreciated.

  • DesertBear360

    This is the worse policy ever made since Outlook, Outlook Express, and Windows Live Mail external software does not count as logging in on the website. Before they think of doing this policies then they need to take into account users whom use Outlook, Outlook Express, and Windows Live Mail software to access their e-mails instead of using the website.

 

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