Closing a Microsoft account

Closing a Microsoft account can affect many of the other devices, apps, and services you use. Here are some things you should know, both before and after marking an account for closure.

Before you close your account

It's important to realize all of the ramifications before you decide to close an account. For example, you should make sure that you’re not leaving behind any money or important stuff associated with that Microsoft account. You might also want to let people know how to contact you after your Microsoft account email address is gone.

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Cancel any subscriptions associated with the account

If you have subscriptions to services like Office 365, OneDrive, Xbox Live Gold, or an Ad-free Outlook.com account, you won’t be able to access them anymore. Before closing your account, you should cancel any paid subscriptions associated with it.

You can cancel many of your subscriptions through Microsoft account - Billing.

  1. Sign in to Microsoft account - Billing, and tap or click Subscriptions.

    If you're prompted to enter a security code, check your alternate email or phone for the code from the Microsoft account team.

  2. Select the subscription you want to cancel, and then tap or click Manage.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • If the cancel subscription option appears, tap or click it, tap or click Next, and then follow the instructions.

    • If the cancel subscription option doesn't appear, tap or click Contact support, and then follow the instructions.

For subscriptions you don't find under Billing, you'll need to go directly to the service itself (or to the retailer, if you bought the subscription from a retailer) to cancel. For example, if you have subscriptions through your Xbox, go to Xbox Support and search for cancellation info. Or, if you have a Skype subscription, go to the Skype support page and search for cancellation info.

Use the money and Microsoft Points in your account

You don’t want to close your account when you have Points or balances left over. Before closing your account, you should spend any remaining money or Points in your Microsoft account by purchasing content online from Xbox, the Windows Store, or the Windows Phone store.

To see how much money or Points you have in your Microsoft account:

  • Sign in to Microsoft account - Billing and tap or click Payment options.

    If you're prompted to enter a security code, check your alternate email or phone for the code from the Microsoft account team.

For more info, you can also check the Microsoft gift card FAQ.

Let people know how to reach you

Note

  • If the email address associated with your Microsoft account doesn't end in @hotmail.com, @live.com, @msn.com, or @outlook.com, you can skip this procedure.

If the email address associated with your Microsoft account ends in @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com, or @msn.com), closing the Microsoft account deletes any email stored with it after the 60-day waiting period. During the waiting period, however, your inbox will continue to receive email messages. You can set up an automatic reply to let everyone know that the account is going to be closed, and tell them where to send email to you in the future.

  1. Sign in to your Outlook.com inbox. Click the Options icon Options icon, and then click Options.
  2. Under Managing your account, tap or click Sending automated vacation replies, and then follow the instructions.

    Notes

    • You can also choose Email forwarding under Managing your account, to have email you receive sent to a different email address. But remember, both automatic replies and email forwarding will stop working when your Microsoft account is closed after the 60-day waiting period.

    • When you close a Microsoft account with an Outlook.com email address, that email address might be recycled and assigned to another user after the 60-day waiting period.

Back up your files and data

Once your Microsoft account is closed, you won’t be able to access any files or info associated with that account if you’ve stored them via a Microsoft service. If there’s anything you still want to keep, you should save a copy. You might want to back up:

  • Email, documents, and photos you've stored in Outlook.com, Hotmail, or OneDrive.

  • Personal data you've stored on HealthVault.

  • Purchasing info at Microsoft.com.

  • Portfolio data on MSN Money.

  • Messenger contacts added to Skype. For more info about backing up your contact list, search the Skype support page.

  • Product keys for any products you've purchased with this Microsoft account. (Your installed software will continue to work, but you'll need the product key if you ever want to reinstall the software, or install it on a new PC.)

In addition, closing your Microsoft account means you'll no longer be able to access music you've downloaded using an Xbox Music Pass. (Music and videos you've purchased outright will still be playable, but can't be transferred to another device.) Any game progress, gamerscore, and your gamertag on Xbox Live will be lost.

Take a look at your devices

Devices like Windows Phones, PCs running Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, Surface tablets, and Xbox consoles all work best with a Microsoft account. Some of these devices will still work, to a degree—but you won’t be able to use all their apps and features. Before you close your account, consider setting these devices up with a different Microsoft account so that you can still sign in.

Manage your kids' Microsoft accounts

If you manage a child's Microsoft account, their account stays open when yours is closed. However, after your Microsoft account is closed, your child will be stopped when they try to sign in to Xbox, PCs running Windows 8 or later, or a Windows Phone, until they get consent from another parent account.

After you close the account

Even when you’re sure, account closure isn’t instantaneous. We wait 60 days before permanently deleting your Microsoft account, in case you change your mind or need to access something associated with the account before it’s gone forever. During the waiting period, your account is marked for closure but it still exists.

When you tap or click the Mark account for closure button, the 60-day waiting period begins. If you want to reopen your Microsoft account, just sign in again within that 60 days. We’ll cancel the account closure, and everything will be as you left it.