This tutorial will give you an overview of Hotmail Sign in and your Windows Live Login settings: whenever you are trying to check your emails or login to one of the Windows Live services inside a web browser, you either have to go through the login form itself, or you are automatically signed in to your account. This brief overview leaves some details off for two more in depth tutorials for Hotmail Sign in and Hotmail Login. But, if you want to limit yourself to understanding just the basics of the whole process, you've come to the right page!
Whenever you type "www.hotmail.com" or "www.live.com" inside your web browser's address bar, and you are not already logged in to your Hotmail account, you will see the following Hotmail sign in form: (the first checkbox may be pre-checked or not)
Note that you will also periodically see this form when Hotmail automatically logs you out of your account after a certain period of time, for your safety. Once you have entered your full email address in the "Windows Live ID" text field, and your "Password" below, you can make Hotmail remember your email address in that particular browser (the "Remember me" checkbox), and allow it to temporarily memorize your password (the "Remember my password" checkbox).
Tip: If you make Windows Live remember both Windows Live ID and password, Hotmail will automatically login to your account when someone tries to access Hotmail.com or Live.com - so make sure never to use this option from a computer shared with others you don't fully trust.
Behind the scenes, the Windows Live Hotmail login process keeps track of who signs in to your account, the time since you last logged in to your emails (i.e., when you last went through the sign in form, at least to enter your password), etc.
The screenshot below shows the partial sign in form you will get when Hotmail needs to check your login from time to time (assuming you have chosen to make it automatically sign in to your account) - this is a normal part of Windows Live security:
The Windows Live Hotmail team will never ask for your password - be it by phone, email, or instant message with the Hotmail Messenger ("Windows Live Messenger"). So do not share your email account credentials with anyone you don't personal know and trust. Identity theft or using your account to send spam are two common causes of attempts at hacking Hotmail accounts.
Tip: as mentioned earlier, this tutorial was a bare-bones overview of this important topic; we recommend that you also familiarize yourself with all Hotmail Sign in has to offer, and understand the ins and outs of the Hotmail Login process.