Deleting your Microsoft account is a big decision that requires some forethought. Once your account is gone, you lose access to all associated Microsoft services and products tied to that account. However, there are legitimate reasons you may want to delete your Microsoft account for good.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about permanently deleting your Microsoft account, including:
- The risks and downsides of account deletion
- Step-by-step instructions for closing your account
- What happens during the account closure grace period
- How to restore your account if you change your mind
- Considering backup strategies and pre-deletion steps
- Factors to weigh before making your final decision
Let‘s start by looking at why you might want to delete your Microsoft account, and what you stand to lose if you do.
Why Delete a Microsoft Account? Risks and Downsides
There are a few reasons why someone may want to permanently delete their Microsoft account:
- Switching email providers: If you want to move away from using Outlook/Hotmail and use Gmail or another provider instead, deleting your Microsoft account can make sense.
- Account consolidation: If you have multiple Microsoft accounts and want to consolidate down to just one account, you may choose to delete your extra accounts.
- Privacy concerns: Some users opt to delete their Microsoft account due to privacy reservations around the company having access to their data.
However, before rushing into account deletion, be aware of the major downsides:
You Will Lose Access to These Services and Products
- Email: Any @outlook.com, @hotmail.com or @live.com email addresses associated with the account will be lost.
- OneDrive: All files and backups stored in OneDrive cloud storage will be erased.
- Microsoft Office: Office product licenses and subscriptions tied to the account will stop working.
- Xbox Live: Your Xbox Live gamertag, profile, game progress, and any remaining subscription time will be lost.
- Skype: Your Skype username and contacts will be deleted.
- Microsoft Rewards: Any unredeemed points and account balances will be forfeited.
- Microsoft Certifications: Achieved certs like Microsoft Certified Data Engineer will be removed from your account.
As you can see, deleting your Microsoft account has huge implications. Before moving ahead, ensure you‘ve downloaded or transferred anything important stored through Microsoft services.
Step-by-Step Guide to Deleting Your Microsoft Account
If you understand the risks and still want to permanently delete your Microsoft account, here is how to do it:
1. Visit the Account Closure Page
Go to https://account.live.com/closeaccount.aspx in your web browser. This is the account closure page.
2. Sign in to the Account You Want to Delete
You will need to sign in with the username and password of the account you wish to delete. Make absolutely sure you are signed into the correct account before proceeding further.
3. Verify the Account Name and Hit "Next"
On the next page, verify that the account name displayed is indeed the account you want to delete. If so, click "Next" to continue.
4. Review and Accept Account Closure
You will now see a page reviewing everything that will be deleted by closing your account. Read through carefully, then check the boxes to indicate you understand and accept that the listed services/products will be lost.
If you fail to check any of the boxes, Microsoft will not let you advance to permanent deletion. So check all boxes before clicking "Close account".
5. Wait for Account Deletion
Once you complete the account closure process, your account will be scheduled for termination.
It can take anywhere from 30-60 days for deletion to fully complete. During this time your account will be in a closing pending state.
You will lose access to account services and products during the closure period. But you still have a chance to reverse course if you change your mind…
Reactivating Your Account Within the Grace Period
After initiating the deletion process, Microsoft gives you a grace period of approximately 30-60 days in case you change your mind.
During this window, you can still log back into your account and reactivate it. Here‘s how:
- Go to https://account.live.com and sign in with your account credentials.
- You may need to complete additional identity verification to get back into your "closing" account.
- Once signed in, find and click the link to reactivate your account.
- Confirm you want to reopen the account when prompted.
If successful, you‘ll regain access to your account and services as if nothing happened. But don‘t cut it too close – make sure to reactivate before the grace period ends.
After the grace period, there will be no way to recover or restore your deleted Microsoft account.
Preparing for Account Deletion
Before pulling the plug on your Microsoft account, take some time to get prepared:
- Back up important data like emails, OneDrive files, photos and anything else you want to save. Transfer it all to a separate storage location not tied to your Microsoft account online.
- Cancel paid subscriptions like Office 365, Xbox Live Gold, etc. Otherwise, Microsoft may continue billing you even after the account is closed.
- Use up account credits such as gift card balances or Microsoft Rewards points. Remaining balances will be forfeited after deletion.
- Consider transferring licenses like for Microsoft Office to another account instead of outright deleting them.
Taking these precautionary steps will help prevent losing anything valuable or getting billed for inactive services once the account is gone.
Should You Delete Your Microsoft Account? Key Considerations
Before you initiate the permanent deletion process, seriously evaluate whether getting rid of your Microsoft account altogether makes sense:
Pros of deleting your Microsoft account:
- Start fresh if you‘re unhappy with Microsoft services
- Consolidate multiple accounts into one
- Keep your data separate if concerned about Microsoft‘s privacy policies
Cons of deleting your Microsoft account:
- Losing access to all associated Microsoft products and services
- Missing out on features like Microsoft Rewards
- Forfeiting purchases like Office 365 licenses and Xbox content
- Needing to start over from scratch if you rejoin Microsoft ecosystem
For most users, the disadvantages usually outweigh the benefits of account deletion. Proceed with caution – remember, there is no going back after the grace period!
Deleting your Microsoft account permanently is a big decision requiring careful thought. Be sure to fully understand what you stand to lose in terms of products, services, and personal data.
Follow the step-by-step instructions to successfully close your account. If you change your mind, you can recover the account within 30-60 days. But after that grace period, the deletion will be irreversible.
Hopefully this guide gave you a comprehensive overview of how to permanently delete your Microsoft account and key factors to evaluate beforehand. Think through your decision fully since you cannot undo it later on. But if you understand the implications and still want to proceed, follow the steps outlined above for a smooth account deletion process.