Some Microsoft Office 365 users reporting problems signing up for

Some Microsoft Office 365 users reporting problems signing up for

Summary: Rogue, hard-to-delete cookies may be the culprit thwarting some testers from signing up for Microsoft's newly launched web mail.


A number of users attempting to sign up for Microsoft's new free email preview are reporting they are having problems that seem to be connected to their Office 365 accounts.

Peter Bright, an editor with Ars Technica, said he believed the issue to be connected with Office 365 cookies that may not be clearing correctly.



"The big problem is that O365 used the Outlook domain for some things, and it doesn't let you clear the cookies right," he said on Twitter, where I asked individuals experiencing problems to weigh in. "Because the cookies aren't cleared it refuses to let you sign up for a new account, instead directing you back to O365," Bright added.

Microsoft launched a preview of its new service on July 31. Immediately, a number of those with existing Office 365 accounts began reporting "infinite loops" which prevented them from being able to create a new account.

I asked a Microsoft spokesperson about the issue and was told users might try clearing their caches. "If they sign out and then sign back in with the correct account info, it should auto detect what account to log into," the spokesperson said.

Other theories as to what is causing the problem also seemed to center around cookies. "Appears 2 be WL Sign-In related. Went to 'clean' machine with no prior use of O365 in browser. In with WL (Windows Live) account w/no issues," said Don Sorcinelli on Twitter.

Other users said they could only get around the issue by using a different machine and/or a different browser.

"Inifinite loop when I connect to  or any service using microsoft account+ Must delete cookies to access o365," said Christophe Bossan on Twitter.

ZDNet UK reporter Simon Bisson, who is also encountering the issue, said Microsoft engineering is looking into it. In his case, his Microsoft Account uses his Office 365 mail address as the default.

If and when Microsoft officials have any guidance to share on this issue, I will add it to the post.

In the interim, Microsoft's team has been fielding user questions on Reddit. Last I checked, no one had asked about the Office 365 issue.

Someone did ask, however, about Microsoft's warning to Windows Phone users against completely renaming their existing addresses with ones. 

A workaround is to set up an Outlook alias, a number of Twitter folks have noted. But users who proceed and rename their existing email addresses should know the following, according to Microsoft officials on Reddit:

"You will not have to re-purchase anything. For WP7 you will need to reset your phone, and signin with the new account. You will need to reinstall all apps, but won't have to re-purchase any of them. You'll also need to go to sync settings and make sure mail is enabled."

On Windows 8 (that's what the person responding said, though I'm unclear if s/he actually meant Windows Phone 8), users who make the switch will "need to disconnect your account and then reconnect your new one, but then everything is preserved," the Microsoft team member added.

According to another answer on the same topic: "The (existing Live) account will stop syncing once you rename your account on the next sync. You would have to then reset your phone and sign in using the account. Unfortunately, this would erase your personal data as well, ouch. You can use Reinstaller to help you reinstall your existing apps."

Update: Users are continuing to try to unravel the mystery of why some Office 365 users can't manage to sign up for blogger Robert McLaws made an interesting observation on Twitter, noting that Office 365 users who want to check mail through the Outlook Web App use the URL to do so. "Once you sign into  w/ a MS Account, it redirects u to a  server," McLaws tweeted.

So perhapd this is a backend infrastructure/identity issue that Microsoft needs to address? Just a guess. Still no further information from the Softies on what's going on here.



Topics: Cloud, Microsoft, Mobility, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Just Keeping my

    I love the new interface, but not changing my email to Maybe I'll do it when I get my Windows 8 Phone. I don't want to have to redo all my preferences and download all my apps again on my current Windows Phone.

    I do love the interface though. Can't wait to try it on my Android Tablet (ASUS Transformer). I'm assuming that the interface for SkyDrive and Calendar will be updated soon also. The contacts section is just like the People section in Windows 8 RP.

    Who needs an app on other tablets when the websites are like this.

    Good Job MS.
  • Got the Alias I Wanted

    Mary Jo,

    I ran into some issues using the Live ID with which I ordinarily log into Office 365 but changed to my GMail alias and all went OK with rogerj at

    Julie Lerman said julie at was taken when she tried this morning.

  • outlook,com

    I am so glad I have been reading Mary Jo's articles since I heard about the Surface. It has been interesting reading about the cloud; tablet; OS; and phone wars. Now I was able to go to outlook and get my favorite email name before anyone else............Also

    Reading CaviarBlack and company's comments is almost as good as watching the Big Bang theory.

    • Hey, I can always use fanboys

      For the next Big Bang theory.

  • And what you expect?

    Is Microsoft, even they choke with something simple as a login system. And the clueless fanboys expect the surface will launch without problems, running smooth that "fluid inteface", don't know if is funny, or tragic. Most consumers are used now to Apple quality levels, they reject half baked solutions.
    • And yet it continues to frighten you

      to the point that you feel compelled to post little more the negative statements.

      Yet I sense that it is actually done in an effort to lessen the attention on the same issues that Google and others experienced, though to a greater degree.

      Most here are accustomed to intelligent discussions theo_durcan, and pay little attention to your 'half-baked' excuses and criticisms.
      Tim Cook
      • Intelligent?

        Hopefully is your sense of humour... look I know when to engage in an intelligent debate here & there; for all the rest, trollboys, fanboys & employees that pollute this board, I write in simple (& clear) terms.

        The fact is quality is not in MS dns. They used to sell because they dominate the market. But there is a new game in town, and is all about choice, the user experience and the smart packaging of the whole enchilada; and I'm not talking about the ecosystem, orphaned kernels, and other faux pas, and products. I'm just making fun of those rabid and clueless fanboys that are all trumpeting W8/surface/WP8/Metro, the same way they were trumpeting while ago Tango, mango, kin, WP7, Silverlight, Zune, Vista, etc, etc. You know an intelligent person when is able to have a critical judgment.
        • "You know an intelligent person when is able to have a critical judgment."

          Enough said.
          milo ducillo
          • You're one of the ones he was talking about

            Which you seem to lack, dickweed.

            Enough said.
          • Still doesn't make sense...must be Appletalk :)

            "You're one of the ones he was talking about which you seem to lack"

            Yeah, you said it.
            milo ducillo
          • Yeah, I did

            Aren't you proud of being a dumb ass.

    • Seriously? Apple Quality what?

      It is a preview so of course there is bugs. But at least Microsoft doesn't keep things in beta for years (ala gmail for the first few years).

      I'm glad that Microsoft doesn't match Apples quality levels otherwise I'd be taking my device back every other week to get something fixed on it. (Based on the number of friends with Apple products who are tired of doing so with their devices - Macs, iPhones and iPads - and all new).
  • I can keep my existing email address...

    For the sake of convenience, I’ve selected “Keep me signed in” in my Hotmail/ When I first learned the existence of, the supposedly planned successor of Hotmail, from Ed Bott and Mary Jo Foley, I went to in Internet Explorer 10, which led me to with my Microsoft Account being signed in. I’ve made all of my existing Microsoft accounts “upgraded” to from Hotmail. There is no need to sign up for a separate Microsoft account, which is an option when I visit using In-Private Browsing (i.e. not signed in to any Microsoft account). Only when I visited, I saw an option to sign up for an email address; otherwise, I can only sign up for or email address, just as before.
  • Issue With Captcha

    My wife is unable to get past the captcha verification after successfully logging into Changing to the "audio" for the captcha produces multiple voices spouting gibberish.

    I was not presented with a captcha when I logged into with my email address.
    • Same issue - I must not be human

      I tried several times to log in but was unable to get myself verified as being human. It kept telling me that my input did not match. Went to audio, and I got the same thing with several voices speaking at once. I even did the alternate verification process, which worked for a short while, then it was back to the Captcha.
  • No problems here

    I have 2 Office 365 accounts and a Live account. I log into each on the same PC, and this morning when I found out about, and first went to it let me log in with my Live account without any problems. I'm running Win 8 RP and used IE Metro.

    Love the new interface, it is very in line with the overall Metro look, also it is very quick to load and quick to respond to actions.
  • This account can't be used to access

    The problem I have is that my long-time-existing Hotmail/Live account is using the same email address as my Office 365 (Exchange Online) account - ie. it's an address using my personal domain name, rather than

    In the past I could log into both Office 365 (using as well as Hotmail (using and access both accounts. They are two separate accounts of course, even though they have the same email address.

    But today I tried to log into Hotmail after I read about the new Outlook upgrade of Hotmail. After I enter my email and password, I get this error:

    This account can't be used to access
    You're currently signed in with an Office 365 email account, which can't be used with Please click here to sign out of your Office 365 account, then use another Microsoft account to sign in to (for example, your,, or account).

    So it looks like Microsoft are now comparing the account email addresses of Office 365 with Hotmail and refusing to allow accounts with the same address to access Hotmail. :(

    What's worse, is that I went to to try and change my account email (it did let me log into that site fine), but it wouldn't let me change my email address to anything else! I do actually have a address attached to my account as an alternative address, but it won't let me change that address into the primary address, or to add a new address as a primary address.

    I do hope these are just teething glitches that will get ironed out soon. As it stands, I currently have absolutely no way to access my Hotmail Inbox via the web.
  • Signing into outlook service

    Well I have to save that everything went well with no hang ups. I think maybe those that are having problems may have a hardware or device problem preventing them to sign up.
  • hijacks home page

    The problems are not jusy with Office 365. I tried to create a new account but it only allowed me to use the hotmail address to create a new alias, whatever that means, Worst of all though is that now hikacks my home page whenever I open up internet explorer. I also used to be able to see my hotmail on my home page but now that part of the page shows a warning that the page can't be show because content is unsafe. Then, no matter what I do, the home page immediately goes to I try to return to my home page and it shows for moments and then goes right back to I wish I never heard the words because I now have a mess and can't access my home page as needed due to microsoft. And of course other than forums which give no information, there is no support for this problem I am now having with my computer due to Microsoft. I now see why people switch to Apple because at least they have tech support in their stores.
  • Some Microsoft Office 365 users reporting problems signing up for Outlook.c

    i have done this but my problem not solved.