"Your session has timed out. Please try again"

When you are trying to login to check your emails, the Hotmail sign in screen / form may return an error message that says "Your session has timed out. Please try again". In this tutorial, we will explore the cause of this login problem, and what to do if you consistently receive it. (And you'll learn why it is not a technical glitch to worry about if Windows Live Hotmail only gives it to you on occasions.) For reference, here is a screenshot of typical the Hotmail session timeout error message discussed on this page:

Windows Live Hotmail sign in session timed out error message


Troubleshooting the Hotmail Sign-in "Timeout" error message

Whenever you login to an online service like Windows Live Hotmail, the web server on the other end tries to establish who you are - which is especially true when you are entering credentials (user name and password) in a sign in form to access your account - in the case of Hotmail, the user name being your "Windows Live ID", which is your email address.

Windows Live Hotmail session timeout on login form (sign in screen)

In web development parlance, a "session" is a sort of dialog that is created between your web browser and the web server of the website or web application you are trying to access. In the case of the Hotmail sign in form, you need, for example, to have JavaScript and cookies enabled to access your emails. But you also need to have a number of other default settings left alone, which determines how your browser "talks" to remote sites on the internet. Below are the three main causes of the session timeout error:

Tip: you may receive this error message whether you go through the regular Hotmail sign in, or whether you automatically sign in to Hotmail. The login process will in most cases not be affected at all by this setting, since the Windows Live timeout error message has to do with the way you connect to the internet, not your web browser itself, cookies, or JavaScript enabled / disabled.

Tutorial last updated on November 26, 2011
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