I am going to admit up front that I am not a Microsoft fangirl or much of a 360 gamer at all. I bought my Xbox 360 back in January 2009 after I moved back to California from my study abroad in South Korea. At the time it was still the cheapest console on the market and while I wanted a PS3 there were enough exclusives on the 360 that I figured I could tide myself over until Sony got it through their heads that they needed a price drop stat. Plus used 360 games were always cheaper and I was a college student paying my own way and working three to four on-campus jobs.

So, I spent a good ten and a half months playing my 360. I bought a bunch of games (half of which I still haven’t played yet) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Even though for the first five months I was playing it on my dad’s old thirteen inch TV/DVD player combo that my uncle had sent him back when he was overseas in Afghanistan. I went though all the motions like any new 360 owner would. I plugged it into the internet router downstairs with a 50 foot ethernet cord my dad had bought me a couple years before. I made my XBox Live account and I even upgraded to a Gold Account when my friend bought me a pre-paid card for Christmas.

I didn’t play much online and once my subscription ran out I didn’t renew it. By that time I had won my flat screen TV in an on-campus raffle and then I got a PS3 during Black Friday. I wasn’t really playing my 360 any more. I neglected it for the most part for years after that. I only bought the exclusive games and played everything else on my PS3. Unless, you know, I could get it super cheap used on my 360. When I moved to Ireland in 2010 I left my 360 at home with the Wii I had abandoned to the care of my sisters in 2008 and took only my PS3 and DS.

Considering the fact that I really didn’t care about playing online or playing my 360 at all you may wonder why I would even care about reviving my Xbox Live account at all.

Well, it all began at Phoenix Comicon 2013 and, honestly, I blame Peter Orullian. He ran what he later said was an impromptu panel for Microsoft at the convention. He was there promoting a book he had written and figured, hey, why not? I felt kind of bad for him because he was there to talk about SmartGlass and wound up primarily fielding a lot of questions about the recently announced Xbox One. But he did a great presentation on SmartGlass and it was the first time I had actually heard about the whole growing phenomena of second screening. I was intrigued. It seemed awesome.

And with the Xbox One panel at E3 and the looming prospect of picking up the new console around launch… I didn’t want to have to start from scratch with a new profile. I use the same profile name on literally everything. ‘SAMASIDE’ is my name on PSN, Steam, Tumblr, Twitter, and every single website I join. Except for Gawker and Kinja because I lost the sign in information for ‘SAMASIDE’ and now use ‘8bitesque.’

Anyway, for the sake of consistency I decided to revive my Xbox Live account.

After Phoenix Comicon I tried to sign in to my account online through the website and realized that I couldn’t. Something was wrong with the account and it didn’t seem to be recognizing the information I was putting into the sign in information. I was just about to start my summer internship so I figured I would call later. But then I almost died and wound up in the hospital so it was about a week and a half before I could revisit the situation.

My next step was to call up the help line. It turned out that somehow when I registered my email address at the time – which was a .edu account – had been saved in the system as a .com account. No idea why. No idea what happened there. Whatever. Once I figured that out I figured I could login, right? Wrong. I didn’t know my password. And because the email address I used to register was never a real address I couldn’t have the password reset through my email.

They made me do the account recovery from about three times. This guy named “Chris” from Xbox Live Support told me that as long as I filled out the forms as best as I could and included every possible answer, the right address, the right contact information, and whatever else I could then I should be good. I just needed to do that, call back, and ask them to escalate my case. So I provided whatever information I could – and God only knows what I put down as my favorite http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/arimidex/ movie for my security question when I was a junior in college – and tried to think of what possible passwords I might have used. My address was at least something I knew. And my phone number has never changed. But I never used a credit card on the account and even if I had that would have been back in 2009. I wouldn’t have known the card number. Nor did I have the number on the pre-paid Gold membership card I had used.

All I had in the end was my address, phone number, the email that wasn’t even my email, some passwords that I might have used, and my best guess at what my favorite movie had been. I called in and had the matter escalated and was told I would get an email back in a few days.

I never heard back from anyone.

Fast forward to about a week and a half ago. With my internship done and about three weeks before school started I once again tried to get my Xbox Live account recovered. I thought that I must have been denied or something so I was trying to figure out the best way to state my case. I mean, honestly, there was no way it wasn’t my account – I knew all the information – and even if I was trying to steal the account so what? I have literally the lowest gamerscore in the world. There are three year olds playing Sesame Street on the Kinect on their parents’ 360 who have higher gamerscores than I do.

When I finally got around to calling up the support line again I got this lady who seemed to be fairly confused at what I was saying. She kept asking me “did you do this” and “did you do that” which I explained I had done and that I had escalated my claim and I wanted to know what happened after that. It took probably forty-five minutes but she realized what the problem was. Apparently, they had escalated my claim and sent out an email asking for further information… to the wrong email address. Well, no, they sent it to my current and active gmail account except they misspelled my first name – Samantha – in the email. They wrote ‘samatha’ instead.

Great. They were going through the final step before releasing my account back to me and Microsoft ONCE AGAIN messed up my email addres some how.

Thankfully the lady was able to escalate it for me again and make note of the actual address. I did the password recovery form, got the service numbers, and went through all those motions again. After less than twenty-four hours I got another email in the mail which asked for some additional information and I actually wound up calling in the information because at the time I couldn’t bend or really use my left arm at all. A new girl at my doctor’s office neglected to look in my file, used this massive ass needle, and then told me to remove my bandages about ten minutes after my blood draw. I listened. And because I have a borderline dangerously low platelet count I developed a hematoma bigger than a golfball. Basically it meant I couldn’t really type it all up. The guy who picked up at Microsoft was really nice and I wish I had gotten his name because he did an excellent job. He took my information, helped me get it all in, and wished me the best. (I also emailed in the information a day and a half later when I was able to type again just in case.)

After two and a half months things finally worked out.

They sent a password reset to my new email and I was able to once again log into my Xbox Live account. I signed in online. I signed in on my console. The gamertag ‘SAMASIDE’ is once again and always will be mine.

Except, I’m not out of the woods yet. For the next 30 days there is a security hold on my account. I can play games and Therese can come over and download the DLC for Mass Effect 3 that she’s wanted so badly to play. But I cannot update my security information at the moment. This means I am STILL logging in with the .com account that never existed.

At least I can long in, though.

For now, until I get my Xbox One whenever I actually get it, that’s going to have to do for me, I guess.

What matters is that ‘SAMASIDE’ is mine and I am ready to lose to everyone and anyone at every game ever once we venture into the next console generation. Huzzah!


Have you ever had a problem with your gamertag? Have you ever tried to recover it after a lengthy absence or some other issue? How did the process go for you? Was Microsoft able to help you out or you still languishing in limbo?

Let us know your story in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “My Epic Quest to Reclaim my XBox Live Account”

  1. Your epic quest sounds like mine.
    I had an Xbox360 back in 2007 and it died in 2009 or 2010. I bought another one, and it died by 2012. I thought… forget xbox. and it sat……
    Fast forward, the new xbox one is coming out. I always let systems do their thing for a year before I purchase and of course, my favorite game at the time for the 360 was rock band. Also, I would have to stick with the same platform to maintain all the songs I had purchased from my rockband 1 and 2 days.
    So i get this xbox one, set rock band 4 up. Ready to download some content baby and get in to this account!
    …bad luck.
    I forgot the email it even was on which was a work email. That work was purchased by a large telecom company so I had no access to it anymore. I only got the email after stating what my gamer tag was (which matches my name).
    Try as i might, none of my passwords worked.
    I called in and gave all my information, tried the reset form and filled all the information as best as I could.
    I got a shiny new email “We’re sorry but the information you provided doesnt match what is on file”.
    So i called in and had a 2-3 hour call with this call center employee. I offered my driver’s license, my letter of offer from this old company of 43 total people. Fired off when abouts i logged in last and what i purchased. etc etc etc.
    Finally she said she could circumvent some 30 day rule if I just got the serial number from my old xbox 360.

    Do what? That old 360 that ROR on me not once but twice? I had given it to my father-in-law to send off to colombia for repairs due to the fact xbox;s are cheaper in that country than here in the states. No way I could find that cursed box!

    Well I lucked out. Evidently my father-in-law in all his laziness, forgot to send it off. He had a box with my old 360, all the busted and decent shaped rock band stuff, and some games.

    AT LAST!


    So i called back up and gave them my serial number. It is at escalations atm, but it may have a happy ending as well. I find it a HUGE security problem that the ID is tied to the device though. They should go off birthday, address and such when you registered the account. Not some serial number.

    For instance:
    I could go in to a pawn shop, buy a beat up 360, log in to it and claim that it was my ID the whole time and here is the serial number meanwhile “blehing” about when i logged in last.

    Account should be tied with the customer information. That is my only gripe. However, I played their little game and it worked out for a legitimate retrieval but eesh. What a PITA!

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