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How to Quickly Delete Your Outlook Account (Or Profile) for Good

Read Time: 9 mins
This post is part of a series called How to Use Microsoft Outlook (Essential Tutorial Guide).
How to Archive (or Permanently Delete) All Your Outlook Emails

Thinking about deleting your Outlook.com email account? If your email inbox has gotten out of control, you may be seriously considering taking this action. Sometimes permanently deleting an email account makes sense. Other times, it's not such a good idea. Deciding whether to close your Outlook.com account can be tough.

In this tutorial, we'll explore the question of whether you should delete your outlook.com account in detail. We'll discuss some of the reasons why you might want to delete an Outlook email account. We'll also examine some of the disadvantages of deleting your email account. We'll also provide  step-by-step instructions for how to delete your Microsoft account in order to permanently delete your Outlook account.

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A common reason for deleting an email account is because it's gotten out of control. The clutter is just too much! But deleting an email account is a drastic solution to solving a cluttered email account. We've got that can teach you other ways to declutter your inbox: The Ultimate Guide to Inbox Zero Mastery. This insightful resource is packed with inbox organization strategies and killer tips for managing all your incoming email more efficiently. 

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Still determined to delete your Outlook email account? Study the following tutorial.

Should You Delete Your Outlook.Com Email Account?

Deleting any email account is a serious decision, and one you should consider carefully. There can be serious consequences for closing your email. In this section, we'll weigh the pros and cons of deleting your Outlook.com email account.

First, let's take a look at some of the reasons why you might want to close your Outlook account:

  1. Your username is too juvenile. If you opened your account as a student, you may have outgrown your username. As a professional, you may want to switch to an account with a more grown-up username—particularly if you use your account for business.
  2. You never use this email address anyway. Closing your Outlook account may make sense If you're not using the Outlook.com email address, have never really used it much, and don't intend to use it. 
  3. You're getting too much spam. When you open your email inbox each and it's just filled with mostly unwanted and spammy messages. Cleaning it up is taking a lot of time each day. Deleting the account just makes sense.
  4. You're worried about your unused account being leaked. Even if your email account details have never been leaked, there's a possibility that your email information will be exposed in the future. If you're not using your email anyway, why risk it?

If you just want to delete your account because it's gotten cluttered, there are alternatives. For another means of organizing your email account, study this tutorial:

The tutorial was written for desktop Outlook users, but many of the strategies will apply to your Outlook.com account.

You may wonder whether you should delete your email account if it's been hacked. The answer is: "not necessarily.

If someone else has accessed your email account, your first instinct may be to delete the account. But many experts such as the security experts at McAfee now warn against this strategy, advising instead that you retain your compromised email (after taking appropriate security measures to regain control of your account). Microsoft recommends that you take similar security steps if your Outlook.com account has been hacked.

Now, let's discuss some of the possible consequences of closing your Outlook.com email account. It's important to consider each of these carefully and make plans to avoid any negative effects from shutting your email down. Here's a partial list:

  1. Your email is connected to important online accounts. It's normal to use email when setting up online accounts, including important accounts such as banking accounts, online creditors, or even social media. The email address is used to reset the password for these accounts. So, if you delete your email and then forget the password for an account you may lose access to it.
  2. You'll no longer get bill reminders. Outlook.com allows you to set up reminders to pay bills. If you rely on this feature to make your payments in a timely fashion, you'll want to make other arrangements before deleting your account.
  3. Others won't be able to reach you. There's always that one person you rarely hear from who you forgot to tell that your email has changed. Or, that company you applied to last year may suddenly try to contact you through your old email to offer you your dream job.
  4. Your information will eventually be permanently gone. You may think you don't need the email messages or contacts in your old Outlook.com email account, but if you close your Outlook account, you'd better be sure. You'll lose access to the information forever once you've deleted your email.
  5. Loss of services. You’ll lose any services associated with your Microsoft account such as Skype, your calendar, and much more.

You'll be presented with a more complete list of what you might be losing when you actually delete your account.

How to Permanently Delete Your Outlook.com Account (Video)

Study the video below to learn how to close your Outlook account quickly:

What to Do Before You Delete Your Outlook Email Account

Before you permanently delete your Outlook.com account, there are some actions you should take. Here's a list to get you ready for deleting your email:

1. Change Profile Information of Connected Accounts

Most online accounts use an email address as a means of account recovery if you forget your password or as a way to contact you. Before you delete your Outlook.com account, take these steps:

  1. Check to see what email is associated with all of your online accounts. Start with your most important accounts first (banks, utility companies, credit cards, etc.). Move on to other types of online accounts that you use often such as social media. Finally, look at the profiles of accounts you use less often.
  2. Change the email in the profile of each account to an email that you won't be deleting. Be sure to save your changes.

2. Notify Contacts of Your New Email Information

Before you shut down your email account, notify each contact in your email address book of the new email address that you'll be using. You may also want to forward your incoming messages to your new email address for a few weeks before you shut your Outlook.com email down. This can give you an idea of who might be sending you messages even if they aren't in your Contact list.

3. Save Important Email Messages

Be sure to save any important email messages that you've got stored in your Outlook.com email account. Don't forget to check your Sent items and Archive folders for messages you want to keep.

A quick way to save important messages, especially if there are just a few of them, is to forward them to your new email account.

You can also print each email to a PDF file to create an electronic copy that you can store on your computer. Open the email that you'd like to create a PDF file for and click the More actions icon in the upper right of the email (it looks like three dots):

more actions drop-down menumore actions drop-down menumore actions drop-down menu
One way to back up important emails before you delete your account is to create PDF files of them.

Select the Print option from the drop-down menu. Then click the Print icon on the copy of the message that appears. At the Print prompt, select a PDF printer. For this instance, I'll use Microsoft Print to PDF. When you've finished, click the OK button. A prompt displays asking you to name and save your PDF file:

print file to pdfprint file to pdfprint file to pdf
You can use the Print option to create a PDF file.

Select the Print option from the drop-down menu. Then click the Print icon on the copy of the message that appears. At the Print prompt, select a PDF printer. For this instance, I'll use Microsoft Print to PDF. When you've finished, click the OK button. A prompt displays asking you to name and save your PDF file:

save pdf filesave pdf filesave pdf file
Choose where you want to store the PDF copy of your email.

Type a file name for your saved email and then click Save. You'll find additional tasks to consider doing on the Microsoft Warning screen.

How to Delete your Microsoft Account

To permanently close your Outlook.com account, you’ll need to close your Microsoft account. Here's how to do it:

1. Go to Outlook Support

To delete your Microsoft account, head to the account closure page on the Microsoft support site:

microsoft account closure pagemicrosoft account closure pagemicrosoft account closure page
You can find a link to close your Microsoft account on this support page.

Scroll down and click the Close Account button on the support page:

close microsoft account buttonclose microsoft account buttonclose microsoft account button
The first step in closing your Microsoft account is clicking on this button.

2. Verify Your Identity

In the login in screen that appears, enter your password to verify your identity:

microsoft login screenmicrosoft login screenmicrosoft login screen
You'll have to type your password before you can close your Microsoft account.

Click the Sign In button. The first Microsoft Account Closure Warning screen appears:

account closure warning screenaccount closure warning screenaccount closure warning screen
Read through the suggested steps on this screen carefully.

3. Review the Warnings & Confirm Outlook Account Deletion

Scroll down to review the possible tasks to be completed before you delete your Outlook.com account. Perform any of the listed tasks, as need. When you've finished, scroll down and click the Next button. The second Microsoft Account Closure Warning screen appears:

warning acknowledgement screenwarning acknowledgement screenwarning acknowledgement screen
Click the checkboxes to acknowledge the possible consequences of closing your account.

Before you can close your Outlook.com email account, you'll need to acknowledge each warning by clicking in the checkbox next to it.

reason for closing accountreason for closing accountreason for closing account
Choose the reason you're closing your Microsoft account.

Select your reason for closing your account from the drop-down menu. Next, click on the Mark account for closure button:

mark account for closuremark account for closuremark account for closure
Clicking on this button means your Microsoft account will be schedule to be closed.

A message displays confirming that your account will be deleted:

closure confirmationclosure confirmationclosure confirmation
You'll be given a specific date after which your account will no longer be available.

Notice the actual date when your Outlook.com account will be closed.

Note: After you’ve closed your Microsoft account, Microsoft has a holding period of 60 days. During that period of time you can restore your Outlook.com account simply by signing in.

To delete your Outlook.com account, click the Done button. The system returns you to the login screen. You've just deleted your Outlook email account.

Learn More About Outlook.Com

If you're reading this tutorial, you likely use Outlook.com email. You can learn more about Outlook.com in these tutorials:

Be Careful Before You Delete Your Outlook.com Email Account

In this tutorial, you've learned how to close an Outlook.com account. If you decide you want to delete your Outlook email account, be careful.  

Deleting your Outlook.com account is a serious decision that involves closing your Microsoft account. In addition to losing access to your information stored in your email account, you could lose access to Microsoft services. Backing up your data before you close your account is an important step that you shouldn't skip.

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