How to delete an Outlook account—temporary and permanent solutions

Looking to move on to a new email service? Learn how to delete an Outlook account, keep your data, and choose a viable alternative to the platform.
Microsoft Outlook was first introduced to the public as a part of the company’s productivity suite, Microsoft Office 97. Over the years, the platform was expanded and reintroduced multiple times using various names, such as Microsoft 365, Outlook Express, and Microsoft Office. The frequent changes and rebranding have been confusing, with many users moving to more convenient services.If you think your account has run its course, we will explain:
  • How to delete an Outlook account permanently
  • What the repercussions of deleting your account are
  • How to remove an email account from Outlook (a temporary solution)
We will also introduce you to Skiff Mail—a comprehensive email and productivity suite catering to users who value convenience, security, and privacy.
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How to deactivate or delete your Outlook account

If you want to delete an Outlook account, using the platform’s Android, iOS, PC, and Mac clients will not work. These apps focus on providing productivity solutions for personal and business users, hosting only basic account management options.Microsoft offers a centralized solution to operate and manage multiple accounts via the web browser. Follow these steps to delete your Outlook account permanently:
  1. Visit the Outlook website on any browser
  2. Use your credentials to log in to your Outlook email account
  3. Once you’ve logged in, access your central account management page by visiting this link (if you did not input your credentials in Step 2, you’d be asked to enter them)
  4. Navigate to the Security tab appearing on the blue strip at the top of the page
  1. Enter your password again to verify your identity (as it’s a sensitive section). Alternatively, if your account has fingerprint verification enabled, you can use the relevant sensor to input the biometrics
  2. Click on Advanced security options—the section can be displayed as one of the cards on the main screen, but some users say they find it at the bottom of the page (you have to verify your identity again before you’re allowed access to the next page)
  1. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on Close my account
  2. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the process—you must read and tick various caveats to explain why you’re leaving
  3. Click on Mark account for closure, and you’re done
Once you finish the steps, you will get a message on the screen saying, “Your *** Outlook account will be closed on *** date”. The date is typically 60 days after the date of initiating the closure.

What to do if you cannot log in to your Outlook account?

Many users cannot delete their Outlook account because they’ve been locked out. In case you forgot your password, resetting it Outlook’s secondary email or OTP verification options should be easy. If you’re struggling to log in or delete your account, contact Microsoft Support for assistance.Another common reason many users cannot log in is inactivity. If you created your Outlook account a long time back and didn’t check in or use it for 365 days in a row, chances are Microsoft has deactivated it for good, so you don’t have to take additional steps to close it.Auto-deactivated accounts cannot be recovered, and the related usernames are typically put back into the database for other customers. Keep in mind that your non-email Microsoft account may still be active. Still, it is also prone to deletion triggered by two years of inactivity, as part of the terms and conditions mentioned in the Microsoft Services Agreement, so make sure to keep it active if you’re using the platform’s drive or document services.

Deleting an Outlook account permanently—consequences

The consequences of deleting your Outlook account can be far-reaching if you use other services within the Microsoft ecosystem. Check out the details in the table below.
Registered servicesYou’ll lose access to other Microsoft services you’ve registered for with the deleted email, including OneDrive, Skype, Office 365, and Azure
Digital games, music, and softwareAny digital purchases you made with the existing account, such as games, music, apps, and other software, will no longer be available for use (or installation)
Microsoft certificationsIf you’ve used your Microsoft account to acquire a certification online, the relevant badge and transcript will be deleted
Physical devicesPhysical devices like Xbox that must be associated with a Microsoft account may stop working. You’ll also lose access to your game progress, scores, podcasts, captures, and friends list
Subscription and account balancesIf you have purchased or won a subscription, it may be canceled, and you’ll lose any receivable balance on the service
Keep in mind that these consequences only apply to the accounts associated with your deleted email. If you’re registered for or purchased a service/product with another Microsoft account, it will remain intact.

Can you reactivate your Outlook account?

As we mentioned before, Outlook accounts are not deleted right away. You have a pending period of 60 days to reclaim or reactivate your account, typically by signing back in or contacting customer service. After the pending period, your username will be removed from the signup database and become available to other users.There is no guarantee that your data will be retained if you re-enter your account within those 60 days. Microsoft's Data Handling Standard policy varies different services associated with your account. For example, if you’ve had a Microsoft 365 account, the organization’s servers will only hold data for a limited time, as explained in the following table:
Data typeActive deletionPassive deletion
All content30 days180 days
Identifiers for users180 days180 days
Pseudonymous identifiers30 days180 days
“All content” refers to emails, attachments, documents, sound and video files, and other user-generated data, which may be gone after 30 days of actively deleting your account.

A temporary solution—remove an email account from the Outlook app

If you’re only bothered by the frequent Outlook notifications on your PC or mobile email client but want to avoid terminating the account, you can consider removing the service from the relevant app.Outlook can be added to various Android, iOS, or PC clients using IMAP, POP, and SMTP configurations. Removing the account from the app only deletes the configuration without impacting the status of your account—click on this guide to learn more. Make sure to log in to Outlook once a year to prevent auto-deletion.

Considering Outlook alternatives? Look beyond Big Tech

If you’re looking for a new email provider, search beyond Big Tech. While Gmail, iCloudMail, Yahoo, and Outlook are popular—they’re not superior in terms of security and privacy.They offer free use in exchange for selling user data to advertisers. Unfortunately, the lack of privacy is not the only issue. Most services use Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption to keep your communication safe, which does not entail enough protection for users.TLS is a network-level cryptographic practice that encrypts emails moving between two servers. The problem is that the decryption key is stored on the network server and can be targeted by skilled hackers or accessed by the service provider. Additionally, TLS is, by design, unable to protect the data resting on servers.The downsides of TLS can easily be mitigated with end-to-end encryption (E2EE). E2EE is a device-level cryptography setup with messages encrypted at the sender’s and decrypted at the recipient’s device. Since the users typically own the keys, the communication is less vulnerable to various cyber threats across the network.Despite E2EE’s effectiveness, most providers don’t offer it as the precious data remains unavailable. Skiff is one of the few platforms that provide free, end-to-end encrypted email service with a complementary productivity suite.
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Skiff—an all-in-one solution

Skiff is a multi-featured, privacy-first alternative to Big Tech email services, designed to keep you on top of your communication and digital workflow. It’s an open source platform offering end-to-end encryption. Here’s how it works:
  1. The user’s device automatically encrypts messages with the public key
  2. The recipient’s device decrypts using a private key (mathematically related to the public key)
At no stage during the communication can Skiff or other third parties read your emails. If a hacker tries to attack Skiff’s servers, they would only find scrambled text. The platform also does not collect sensitive personal data during signups.Explore Skiff’s whitepaper to learn about other safety standards, including its anti-spam and cyber-safety policies.Besides providing a sophisticated and easy-to-use encrypted email service, Skiff offers an E2EE productivity suite to manage your workflow seamlessly. Sign up to get free access to:
  1. Skiff Drive—The cloud lets you store any type of data, including documents, PDF files, photos, and audio/video files (shareable links to individual files are available)
  2. Skiff Pages—You can create new documents for work or personal tasks and edit them in real time with multiple collaborators
  3. Skiff Calendar—Your Skiff inbox syncs with the calendar, so you can create events, add invitations, and synchronize RSVPs effortlessly. Video calls are also available
Skiff boasts an elegant user interface and minimalistic, modern design, making it easy to navigate.

Skiff—features and paid plans

It’s worth pointing out that email services for privacy-conscious users typically have underwhelming free features, while the crucial functionalities are often hidden behind a paywall.Skiff offers a great combination of features and customization options for free, including:
  • 10 GB of storage (expandable up to 1 TB on paid plans)
  • Fast and effective text search
  • Mail filters
  • Four aliases (can be used as temporary addresses)
  • Options to schedule and undo messages
  • Customizable folders and labeling
  • Custom signatures
  • Unlimited pages (with version history)
  • Shared calendars
  • Integration with IPFS (for decentralized storage fans)
The platform integrates with several popular crypto wallets, allowing users to stay anonymous online!Business-friendly features like the setup of custom domains and auto replies are reserved for Skiff’s paying customers. The plans start at $3 per month.Skiff is available on web browsers and Android, MacOS, and iOS apps. Create your free account to explore its functionalities!

Does Skiff support importing data from other accounts?

If you’re about to delete an email account, Skiff will help you move the necessary data to your current account. You can import data (emails + contacts + files + any other content) from Microsoft/Outlook, Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Workspace with a single click.Follow these steps to set up your account:
  1. Visit Skiff’s signup page
  2. Set the username and password (no other personal info or verification requirement)
  3. Enter your inbox
We recommend enabling 2FA signups to protect logins on the device level.

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