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How to close and permanently delete your Microsoft account

Companies usually give you a bit of guff when you try deleting an account with them, but Microsoft has relatively few of hoops to jump through to do so. No matter the reason for deleting your account — switching to a new one, moving to a different OS, or just testing things out — the process remains the same. Here's how to do it.

Things to do before deleting your Microsoft account

Before you completely get rid of a Microsoft account, there might be a few loose ends that need tying up.

1. Cancel subscriptions: If you're subscribing to other services using your Microsoft account ID, cancel those subscriptions now. If not, you won't be able to access those services following deletion.

2. Set up an automated email forward: If you use an email address that ends in hotmail.com, outlook.com, live.com, or msn.com, your emails will no longer be available following the 60-day waiting period for final account deletion. You can manually send out messages, letting people know the account will be deleted, or you can set automated vacation replies.

3. Spend money: Once your Microsoft account is gone, so is all the money associated with it. Before deleting your account, spend any remaining moola on items you can keep after account deletion. Money that will disappear also includes any Skype credit.

4. Save your stuff: While using a Microsoft account, you might have been tempted to store data, like pictures in OneDrive or emails in Outlook. Following account deletion, that data will no longer be accessible if you don't back it up somewhere else that isn't associated with your account. Also, keep in mind that games you've purchased through the Microsoft account will remain playable, but you will lose saved game progress, your Gamerscore, and your Gamertag. If you use an Xbox Music Pass, that music will no longer be accessible.

5. Deal with sub accounts: Child accounts remain open even when you delete your account, but they will need another parent account to give them consent when attempting to log into a PC running Windows 8 or later, a Windows phone, or an Xbox.

6. Turn off reset protection: If you have reset protection enabled on any of your devices, be sure to disable it before deleting your account. If you don't, you might not be able to use the device once the account is deleted.

Remember, if you delete your Microsoft account and realize that something is no longer working, there is a 60-day grace period where you can retrieve your Microsoft account before it is deleted forever.

How to completely delete your Microsoft account

Once you've tied up any loose ends, you can delete your Microsoft account.

  1. Navigate to the Close your account page of the Microsoft website.
  2. Type the email address associated with your Microsoft account.
  3. Click Next.

  1. Type your password.
  2. Click Sign in.

  1. Click Next.
  2. Click each checkbox after reading each one and understanding the ramifications of deleting your account.

  1. Click the dropdown arrow in the Select a reason field.
  2. Click an option.

  1. Click Mark account for closure.
  2. Click Done.

How to retrieve your Microsoft account within 60 days

If you realize you've made a mistake and you'd like to restore your Microsoft account, you can do so within 60 days.

  1. Navigate to the Microsoft login page.
  2. Type your username.
  3. Click Next.

  1. Type your password.
  2. Click Sign in.

  1. Click Continue — I want to reopen this account. You'll be asked to verify the account with a security question. In this case, we used a secondary email address as a backup.
  2. Type the backup email address.

  1. Click Send code.
  2. Type the code you receive, whether in email or text.

  1. Click Next.
  2. Click Done.

You can now continue using your Microsoft account as usual.

Updated July 11, 2017: We've refreshed this how-to to ensure you're still getting current information about how to delete your Microsoft account, how to restore your account, and the ramifications behind the action.

Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

42 Comments
  • I won't be doing this. I love my Windows mobile, ditto my Xbox One, having jumped ship from Android and PS3 last year. I will only move on from Windows mobile if and when Ubuntu Touch takes off (or MS pull the plug)
  • Why would anyone wanna do that?
  • If you have two Microsoft accounts and want to merge them, one must be closed. But it doesn't work as advertised :/ in my experience.
  • You can merge two accounts? Also with XboxLive?
  • Yes, you can.  I consolidated two Microsoft accounts awhile back, one of which had an XBox gamertag, though at the time this procedure was only possible, bizarrely, using an XBox 360 console (which I just happen to have).  Not sure if that is still the case?
  • Lots of reasons. I have a buddy who got banned from Bing Rewards, for example, when his account was hacked. Even after verifying his account was, in fact, hacked, and even after helping him get the account straightened, they refuse to undo the ban. So his only option was to create a new MS account, which he did. He can't close his old one, however, because for whatever reason, Microsoft removed the ability we had for YEARS to move his gamertag and purchase history to the new account. Used to be able to do it, but now you can't. Microsoft: three steps forward, two steps back, trip, fall, faceplant.
  • Because they are sick of supporting this over promise/under deliver company any longer.  As soon as my stuff is migrated to icloud,  my microsoft account is closed!
  • You should boycott all things Microsoft, including this site.
  • Nope.  love to read the site.  never know...they may right the ship after getting rid of nutella.   NEVER KNOW.  At this point in time however,   it's over promise/under deliver slogan is the reason i'm gone.  announce cool features to keep the "loyal fanbase" hanging on...only to go,  NAH......we were just kidding.....right before the release of said cool features.
  • Do you really think Icloud is any better?  Apple have not really delivered much in the last coupl,e of years.  A friend of mine have a few macs and she refuses to have an apple ID on her Mac pro, she have got one for he Imac, but that is only so she can use facetime. 
    Apple seems to try to push people more into theikr Apple ID than micrsoft does into their Ms account at the moment anyway, but I can see that changing.  As I see it there is no difference between MS and Apple these dyas, both are as bad as each other and I trust each of them the same way, in that I don't.
  • Apple has full integration between devices now with continuity....so yes....ICLOUD is much better than the AGAIN half assed one drive.  I pay 139.99 CDN for office 365. i get the office programs and 1tb of storage.   Then using the storage is a pain in the rectum because you have to goto onedrive to use it,  etc...I pay 155 for 2TB of storage from icloud,  I use use my apps as I would if I was storing onto my device.   Meaning..I don't have to go into other apps to view or edit photos no matter what I took them with.  My iphone, camera, ipad,  etc...they are just automatically on icloud and therefore in my photos app.  no hunting.   I want to pay for something I purchased on line...i just use the fingerprint scanner on my phone....done!  my macbook picks it up automatically etc.  want to pay for my gas, or food,  just tap my apple watch on the sensor and bam done.   It's just so easy and nice.  Too bad microsoft was now run by a bunch of visionless twats.   They could of had ALL this plus more...but decided to go for the "cloud"  and got rained out!
  • I thought you can have full intergration between Windows devices with a MS account, I do not use office  at all, but i know fo someone who does and the office software will store the documents into one drive and he don't have to go into one drive to use it, he just selects the document and it loads back into the office software, so not sure what you are getting at there.  One drive normally have a folder on windows devices so you can acess that folder like any other folder, unless you mean directly from one drive and no folder at all on the device. How can your camera be on Icliud unless it is part of your phone?   I can go and pay for my food with my phone if I want to, I presume when you say gas you mean fuel for car, not for home, If I hjad a car I could do that as well if I wanmted to with my Android phone, but I don't like this contactless stuff. Windows phone have not taken off, so I presume that is why a lot of banks certainly in the Uk do not support it,  Windows phones came too late to be honest, people either have gone with Apple or Android, not because Windows phones are bad, but because of the lack of apps and also marketing was handled badly. 
    I do not like windows phones myself, but then I do not like Iphones either, it is not because they are bad phones, but because of the UI on both and that Apple keep trying to become non-standard.  I normjally use paypal to purcahse online, mainly because it saves me having to give my card details to every Tom,. Dick and Harry, not that I 100% trust paypal, but to be honest I have had no problems with it.   Myself I am not really for this intergration and cloudy stuff, but we all do things differently.    
  • Oh...btw....Apple delivers on EVERYTHING they "announce" or "show" at an event.  Unlike Microsoft,  who make bold promises and claims,  time and time again,  only to pull them back and scrap them.  So,  as much as I hated apple,  They deliver.  MS over promise/under deliver. 
  • But what apple deliver is nothing new, the last macbook is over priced for what it offers, even my friend who loves Mac said she would not buy one as there is nothing any different than he old Macbook pro.  she does not have a Iphone, she while likes Macs, she is not a big apple fan.  
  • See you missed what I said because you are a microsoft fanboy.  I never said apple releases NEW things...I said WHAT THEY ANNOUNCE THEY RELEASE.   fanboyism is not a good thing there.   I use all platforms and All have short comings...but some do thing WAY better than the others.  I have a bluetooth connector to my cameras...so when I take photos,  and get back to my house,  I just click one button and they load into my comptuer..and then cloud right away and I can use iphoto to edit etc..no messing around.  You cannot pay for anything in NA with a windows phone.   The new alcatel does not even have NFC.   terrible deivce.  Anyways...I am finished with fanboy semantics.  
  • Me, a microsoft fanboy? oh dear, you have certainly got the wrong person here. if you have seen other posts I have mad you will realise that I am not a fan boy at all. i did missread what you put, and you may be right, Apple may release what they announce, not that they release  anything that often.  I use what works for me, I do not normally take photos, I am more into video and the camcorder i have do not connect to anythiny wireless, it uses a good old USB  or I can take the card out and stick it in my SD card reader on the computer. 
    I do not use the cloud, even if I take a photo with my phone I do not allow it to be stored on the cloud, it is a Android phone by the way, I do not and have nevcwe owned a windows phone, I have used one, but I really do not like them, but then again I do not like Iphones either. but that is just personal preference of the UI. I can use my phone to pay for stuff here, if I wanted to, it is over four years old now, but does have NFC, but I do not use it, I prefer cash. I doubt it is possible to use a Windows phoen in the Uk to pay for anything. As I said, I am not a fanboy, if i could get rid of Windows I would
  • There is nothing wrong with posting such articles. In fact they can be useful to some people.
    I myself was pondering over whether to close my MS account (tied to India region); I have opened a new MS account as I am currently living in USA. Sadly, MS accounts can't be migrated across regions, but some MS services like Bing rewards do not work if you have multiple billing accounts from different regions. Even I can't change my developer account region because of tax laws.
    So, now I have to set up everything in my new account, but still have to keep maintaining the first account.
  • So you've disowned all of your friends and contacts in India because you moved to the US? Why wouldn't too have simply gone into setting and changed your region to US and continue to build your contacts?
  • Did you read anything he wrote? Most people don't communicate via email.  They use social services and messaging services to communicate.  I doubt even a quarter of the people he knows are going to care that he changed an email address they've never had a need or use for. And that's being quite generous.
  • Most people don't communicate via email? Email is the ONLY thing that 100 percent of all people I know have in common. Maybe most millennials use messaging apps more than email, but that's because they're licked into ecosystem thinking. I can't send out five or six different app messages because my friends can't agree on a single platform that they all like, but they all have email addresses.
  •   No, obviously I have not disowned friends and contacts from India, thats why I keep using the old account. But just changing the region to from India to US does not help in all cases. The account is not just about email. I can manage separate email accounts. Like I mentioned, in some cases like developer account, you don't have an option to change the region. In some other cases, like Bing rewards, they don't allow me to sign up as I have multiple billing accounts (from India and from US). I have actually changed the region, but the core of the account is still tied to India. I get store search results based on that region, e,g. when I search for banking apps, the Indian banks show up first. I will give you another scenario. I had purchased an Office 365 subscription for one year when I was in India. That is going to expire soon and fortunately, I found an offer of a free 1 year Office 365 subscription in the Lumia Offers app on my phone. However when I tried to redeem that offer code through my old account, I was unable to do so as my previous subscription was paid in INR, not USD.
  • It's good information anyway, I like Microsoft...though I reset my daughters Nokia 1020 the other day and somehow it being linked to her pc cleared out al her pc OneDrive and everything
  • Even the thought of being able to delete my account scares me. I have way too much invested in to it. I don't know why anyone would want to do this.
  • Amazing, fanboys can't even handle such basic information being posted without getting all defensive. You all act as if this article was the final piece of the jigsaw people were waiting for before rushing en masse to delete their Microsoft account. I guess Microsoft can expect the number of account holders to decrease significantly now, oh the humanity...... /s
  • Amazing, even a year after writing this comment, the whining haters are still going to a web site they hate to complain about people they don't know and tell people that they are wrong for using what they like.
  • My goodness, if you guys don't like the article no one's making you read it. It may be useful information for some people.
  • Need an article in how to do this with the evil google.
  • Never, ever.
  • I cannot see why you are all so negative about this, if you don't want or need to do so, just ignore it. But this information is useful for some, maybe a relative has died and you want to clear out their online profile, maybe something traumatic event has happened in your life and you have to start again. I really don't see why some of you are worked up about a perfectly reasonble article.  
  • I think having this knowledge can be a very big help for alot of reasons. My daughter had a stalker a few years back after getting a restraining order she was told to erase her digital fingerprint as much as possible. They said it would make it harder for him to locate her.
  • I will never do it, never :) !!!!
  • i don't have a Microsoft account myself, but there could be a few reasons why people want to deleat their account. They may want to change their email address for some reason, they may just see no reason to have a MS account, or they may change platforms.  
  • I don't think I can delete my account, but the article is also useful.
  • Any suggestions on items that can be purchased and kept after the account is closed? I have an account that used to be for the kids and would like to get the remaining money off it.
  • Call Hunt, your fired!
  • Cake seems to be anti Microsoft do maybe he should remove himself from Windows central and join Android central!
  • What a fitting article for WindowsCentral
  • funny. some people don't like irony though - or humour!
  • the idea that your account is permanently deleted is a nonsense. they'd be able to dig that ***** up in a 1000 years if they wanted to!
  • I still don't have one.  
  • Good article. I may do this. I am having issues with installing apps via store. It just throws me an error saying I need to unblock something. I tried going through the settings but was unsuccessful. This is tr scenario for over a year. I am just fed up.
  • get ready for the plug pulling to commence shortly.