Move back from Outlook to Live to restore Windows Phone functionality without resetting

With the launch of Microsoft's new, which is set to replace its current Live (formerly Hotmail) email service, a number of Windows Phone owners quickly acted to save their desired email address. All good and dandy, but using the new Outlook address in place of your Live ID is a separate matter.

Should you decide to completely replace your Live ID with your new Outlook address, then you'll be required to reset your Windows Phone to be able to make use of integrated services and the Marketplace. This is a pain for those who have a lot of apps installed and have the device set up to the way that suits the owner. The good news is that all your purchases are saved and moved across to the new Outlook address, but what if you weren't aware of the fact you'd need to reset your device and don't wish to do so?

Windows Phone Central reader Benjamin got in touch with us to reveal a quick walkthrough he used to switch his Outlook address back to Live to kick his Windows Phone back into life, but he also retained the claimed email address in the process. But before we get into how you can restore use to your Live ID and keep your Outlook email address, we previously published a few pointers for those who are thinking of switching to the new

  • Create a new 'alias' with the email you want; don't just create a new Outlook account (which is what we'll achieve with this tutorial)
  • Wait for Windows Phone 8 to come out and when you get your new Windows Phone 8 device then make the switch to your new account

So, let's kick off our short tutorial on how you can return to use your old Live ID without losing your new Outlook email address, which will save your Windows Phone from a required hard system reset. A quick tip before we dive right in - be sure to let your account propagate your purchases and account information from your Live ID to your Outlook (takes up to 48 hours) before moving back.

Step 1 - We're going to have to remove our previous Live ID from the new Outlook email address, so we can then press on with both keeping the claimed Outlook email address and begin using our old Live ID. This can be achieved by heading to the Outlook Alias Management (link) on our Microsoft Account. Once you've removed your old Live ID from the populated list, head on to step 2.

Step 2 - Now we've removed our Live ID as the alias, we'll now need to change our account email address from Outlook back to the Live ID. We can do this by heading to the email update settings page (link) on our Microsoft Account.

Step 3 - We'll now be able to use your old Live ID, which is currently the integrated address on our Windows Phone, to make purchase on the Marketplace (and more) within 48 hours once Microsoft has completed the transfer of personal account details. Our new Outlook email address will remain active (so no one else can steal it) and should be an alias to our Live ID. That's it, done!

While the new Outlook is a superb successor to Hotmail / Live, though some are missing functionality and placement of features, it's a real pain when it comes to Windows Phone. Luckily Microsoft has measures in place to enable consumers to hop between email addresses on their Microsoft Account. Let us know in the comments how you get on with the above few steps, should you attempt to go through it yourself.

Big thanks to Benjamin for the heads up!

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • I was ok doing the change over, my HD7 needed resetting to recover from some minor problems, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to change to to
    Quite happy with the look and feel of the site aswell.
  • I got my new outlook, did a painful hard reset and I just finished installing all my apps. I lost messages but at least I have everything back to normal with my apps and settings. It's a painful deed we've to deal with. You can create your outlook and wait maybe 7.8 will allow us to detach and add a new Microsoft account.
  • Too late for me, I use reinstaller app to load all my apps back after I reset my WP. I did have to change the email associated with my Xbox live account. I haven't had any problem but I did lose my game saves and text massages.
  • for me everything was completely messed up. I found this solution yesterday and it saved my life (kinda). I'll switch my account to one of my @outlook adresses as soon as the first wp8 device arrives in my arms.
  • I still don't understand this change. Is it only related to hotmail accounts ? Since for my Live ID I'm using other mail, should I do something ?
  • Are you using your Outlook address as an alias to the external email you're using as your Live ID? 
  • No. Must (or should) I do something ?
  • I just reserved the @outlook address I wanted, set up forwarding to my hotmail address and I'll slowly phase out the hotmail over time.
  • You should probably mention that this only works with @live accounts and not @hotmail ones...
  • No, they shouldn't, cause that ain't true.
  • Didn't work for me. Followed it perfectly then it said I can't use/make a hotmail account
  • Is the new really required? I already have a Live ID. What difference will it make if i dont migrate to keeping in mind that i am going to buy a WP8? is it just for having and the new interface?
  • The only difference it makes is that you'll have an main address instead of or
  • So if I don't change anything, I'll be able to keep all my stuff (Xbox Live scores, purchases, etc) ? I mean I don't use hotmail or Outlook. I just have a Windows Live account for: Zune (not Zune Pass), Windows Phone, Xbox 360, Skydrive and that's it. I'm lost plus my English sucks:) but I do try:'D
  • Look for IDSwitch on bazaar
  • This is a cluster bang and should of never happend. the one thing MS really needs to do is have all the departments working as one.
  • No one should've rushed to switch in the first place. There were warnings on the site on day 1. It's not MS fault if people choose to ignore it. Absolutely no one said 'this needs to be done'.
  • I made the alias or w/e in my Live account, all seemed ok. Reset my phone which wasnt a big deal. now I noticed my phone wont sync messages so I only see the hello to Outlook and the same on my iphone. I havent even loaded up my xbox to see what happens. I may be doing some things wrong but MS should have planned this out better. This is one example of why ppl give MS shit
  • Have you checked your folders to see if you old email is being sent there? That's what Outlook asks you to do.
  • hmm well I tried this and at step 2 I got this message
    You can't use in your Microsoft account email address. Please try a different email address.
    So I'm expecting my windowsphone will stop working as well as my xbox.
  • Do people realise that you get the new interface without needing the domain?
  • Frankly many people don't and rush into changing stuff. And neither do they realise that renaming your LiveID is merely just what it's called - namely renaming.
  • Can't switch back to the Live ID... It says "You can't use in your Microsoft account email address. Please try a different email address"...
  • Does anyone have any idea why I can't rename my Live ID to an @outlook address? I can only change it to Hotmail or Live.
  • I use the Microsoft account through What should I do?
  • کس خارت خارکسه با این راهنماییت
  • I made a new one, just to take advantage of it but, Still using my hotmail account for everything...till this stuff just works..
  • I got it! Anyone getting the error "You can't use @live/@hotmail for your Microsoft account" is likely choosing the "Use a different email" option as shown in the picture in the instructions. Instead use the "Create a new email address" option and remake your old account that way. Worked for me! :D
  • Problem is... There is no option for a @Live when I choose to "Create a new e-mail address"...
  • Holy frack, this is confusing and risky. I tried the steps above with an alternate hotmail account and it failed b/c the picture in Step 2 shows "Use a different email address" but it doesn't let you use OR I then restored my address by clicking "Create a new email address" and it worked. BUT if this was the email my WP is associated with would it recognize the new alias? I don't want to gamble until there is verification.
    MS should have made it easier to migrate emails to the tags for WPs. Some simple instructions at least. Even this 3rd party article screwed up how to do it!
    Anyone that used the "Create a new email address" option can report whether your WP successfully synced with your old hotmail account? Maybe can verify this works in an update.
  • @ nlm... I find that odd as well... Though it won't allow me to create a new e-mail with a @Live domain... Funny thing is, I saved the Hotmail login page so whenever I log out and click on this link on my Favorites, then I'm directed to a Hotmail login instead of the Outlook... I tried to create a new account there and it gave me an option to create a Live or Hotmail address but if I go here and try to create an account, I have an option for a Hotmail but not a Live...
  • Here is what Apple would`ve done:
    Click here if you want to keep your current account that is synced to your Windows Phone as the preferred email address. This will generate an account as your alias so that you can still receive email addressed to
  • Ok so I created an Outlook alias in prep for WP8 later this year. However, the alias is just that - an alias... how does that become the primary Liveid account which will be used for the WP8 setup or will I have to use my Hotmail a/c? In that case what was the point? Should have created a new Outlook a/c and done a hard reset. But now I can't as the alias I set up has reserved that address. I'm confused?