Microsoft recently rolled out Outlook, the same email service as Hotmail but with an all new design in consistence with the Metro looks from Windows 8. If you try to sign up for Outlook, you can’t set a password which is longer than 16 characters. While that remains the case with new accounts, Microsoft is expanding the limitation to existing Hotmail accounts too.
So if you are an existing Hotmail user and you have a password which goes beyond the 16-character limitation, you will be prompted with a notice that reads, “Microsoft account passwords contain up to 16 characters. If you’ve been using a password that has more than 16 characters, enter the first 16.”
Why would Microsoft implement such a limitation? The probable reason seems to be that the software giant is going to calculate the hash of only the first 16 characters of the passwords and ignore the rest. This may be to speed things up a bit or for some other security reasons.
However, Microsoft has stated that this is nothing new and that it’s Live ID service has always ignored password characters beyond the 16th figure. And that now the note is displayed to the users simply because Microsoft has updated the service.
According to the company, “When we changed “Windows Live ID” to “Microsoft account,” we also updated the sign-in page to let you know that only the first 16 characters of your password are necessary. To avoid this error message in the future, you only need to enter the first 16 characters of your password.”
The company has also further stated that in its extensive research, uniqueness of a password has proved far more important than its length.