How to Permanently Delete Old Hotmail Accounts


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If you grew up with the internet, chances are, you’ve set up more accounts with login and password information than you can remember. 

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Rather than leaving these defunct accounts open and accessible to hackers, you may want to learn how to delete a Hotmail account entirely. Doing so ensures your private information stays private and you won’t stay awake at night wondering if someone will access your account without you knowing it.

Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, handling their unfinished business like closing accounts can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.

Can You Delete an Old Hotmail Account Without a Password?

Everyone seems to have email accounts that were set up years ago, long since forgotten. Then one day, as you’re going through old files or paperwork, something reminds you of the old account. You may have had the email from that account redirected, but trying to conjure up your old password can become next to impossible. 

Whether you want to delete your Microsoft account, close your old Hotmail account, or shut down nearly any other email-based account, you may find success even if you don’t have your password.

You can delete your Hotmail account without a password — with a catch. The option available is to reset your password. For this to occur, however, you need to have access to the contact email that you used to set up your Hotmail account. If you didn’t choose a secondary email for your Hotmail account, then this solution is a bit like going in circles.

The password reset will send an email to the email address on file. If it’s your Hotmail address and you can't access it, then you’re out of luck. If you can access it, then you can reset your password, log back in, and successfully shut it down.

On the upside, if it’s been more than a year and your account remains unused, Microsoft will automatically deactivate your account. Not necessarily the same as closure, since Microsoft can reactivate it, but at least you don’t have to worry about an empty account quite as much.

» MORE: Are you preparing for the loss of a loved one? Get support now.

How to Delete Your Own Hotmail Account

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Ready to delete your Hotmail account? Keep in mind that once you do, you can’t access other products and services associated with the account. 

Update all associated accounts

Any accounts you have that use the Hotmail email address must be updated and given a new email address for contact and subscription purposes. If you use Microsoft applications, your Hotmail account probably links to your Microsoft account, since the company owns it. Closing your Hotmail account will also affect your Microsoft account, so make sure you close up shop and that you’re comfortable with deleting all information associated with your Hotmail address.

Sign in to your account

To close the account, you need to sign in. You should do this on a computer or a mobile browser, not on a mobile app. 

Access the security page

From the home page, click on the security page. Toward the bottom of the page, you’ll see an option for “more security options.” Click that option. On the next page, click, “close my account.”

Agree to Microsoft’s closure statements

Once you land on the closure page, Microsoft will have you read and check off numerous closure statements. The company does this to ensure that you understand closing your account will immediately close any other Microsoft accounts associated with the Hotmail address.

» MORE: A will is only the first step. Get all of the documents you need.

Submit your reason and approval for closure

Finally, submit a reason for account closure. After this, you can click the button labeled, “mark account for closure.” At this point, you have 60 days to change your mind and reopen your account.

Update personal records

Whenever you close an account such as Hotmail, update your personal records. If you keep information such as account logins and passwords in a password manager, either delete the record entirely or update it with your date of closure and confirmation number.

How to Close a Deceased Loved One’s Hotmail Account

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If you become the executor of someone’s estate or you take care of their affairs under a Small Estate Affidavit, closing accounts such as Hotmail falls to you. Microsoft offers a simple process for account closure in that situation. If you have the account login information, you can use the details above and close it in the same way to fulfill your executor duties. The following details help you if you need direct access to the account but need it before closure.

Close all Hotmail-associated accounts

When you shut down a Hotmail account, any account associated with that email address closes as well. To prevent premature loss of items like gift card balances, stored items including pictures, and any other data that your family wants to keep, first download a copy of all files and photos to a personal computer unassociated with Hotmail.

After you gather all the information you want to keep, close those accounts and collect confirmation numbers for estate records.

Acquire a court order

In the U.S., Microsoft requires a subpoena or a court order to determine whether account information, files, and email records will release to the next of kin. You can mail this to Microsoft’s registered agent in your country or state.

To determine the mailing address of the registered agent, call Microsoft’s customer service number at 1-800-642-7676. Ask whether you need to provide other documents when you have a customer service representative on the phone. You might need to provide a certified death certificate, proof of your executorship, and proof of your ID.

» MORE: Planning doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Join the peace of mind movement.

Follow up with customer service

After you’ve mailed in the court order and any other documents, a customer service representative will follow up with you regarding your request to access the account. If approved, all files and data transfer to you. You may request account closure directly or use the password in the provided document packet to close the account yourself.

Deleting a Hotmail Account: Frequently Asked Questions

Uncertain whether you should permanently kiss your Hotmail account goodbye? Learn some helpful answers to common questions that might help you decide.

What happens to your Hotmail account after you delete it?

After you close your Hotmail account, stored messages immediately delete after 60 days and the server rejects incoming messages. Your email address is saved for 270 days and if you log back in, you can restore your account minus any deleted data.

How can you delete an old Hotmail account that has been hacked?

To close a Hotmail account, you’ll need to get back into it. That means signing in and changing your password. If you can’t sign in, you’ll need to reset your password. Either option will get you back into your account, at which time you can delete it for good.

Tidy Up Your Digital Afterlife

Whether you’re gathering end-of-life information or you take care of someone’s estate, it’s important to keep the digital afterlife as tidy as possible. By simply closing accounts and organizing digital files, you prevent unused accounts from getting hacked and used without your knowledge.

  1. “Very Old Hotmail Account.” Community Support, Microsoft, 19 December 2020.
  2. “Accessing, OneDrive, and other Microsoft Services when Someone has Died.” Office Support, Microsoft, 2020.
  3. “My Account Has Been Hacked.” Office Support, Microsoft, 2020.

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