Microsoft services like Office, Outlook, Hotmail, Live, or variations of peer-to-peer chat platforms like MSN messenger and Skype have dominated the Internet and the age of computing for decades. The technology titan has its hands in every possible industry related to computing, whether through providing cloud storage or connecting online to play games with friends on an Xbox.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Permanently Delete Your Own Microsoft Account
- How to Delete a Deceased Loved One’s Microsoft Account
Keeping accessibility in mind, Microsoft has bundled most if not all their services in one main account hub. So even if you’re not aware of the many platforms or services you or your loved one used, you can still find a way to cancel and ultimately delete them by logging into one or two websites.
How to Permanently Delete Your Own Microsoft Account
Microsoft’s procedures may take longer than many other online account deletions, mostly because they want to double-check that the account is yours. No service would want to delete an important account erroneously or because of a hacking attempt.
In particular, they prohibit deleting your account within 60 days of requesting security information. For example, if you forgot your Microsoft password, you’ll have to wait 60 days after recovering your password. So if you’re closing up a few accounts, make sure to remember your password if you can without requesting security info, since doing so will delay your deletion.
Tip: Ensure that your digital assets are taken care of according to your wishes by making a will. You can easily create one from home with an online will maker like Trust & Will.
Review your Microsoft account contents
As mentioned before, your Microsoft account may be attached to lots of services. These include cloud storage options and documents in OneDrive, gameplay data from Xbox, Skype call history, and a host of email accounts (Outlook, MSN, Hotmail, and Live).
Make sure to review what’s linked to your main account. In most cases, you can’t selectively delete parts of the account. Instead, you’ll be deleting the entire account.
So consider downloading your data from all these services before you delete the account. This is a key step before closing it all down.
Select to close the account
After you sign in and review the data and services linked, you can go directly to “Close your account.” You’ll have a few things pop up, making sure you are aware of the consequences of canceling your account.
Make sure to review and check each box, and then select a reason why you are closing the account.
Mark account for closure
The final step in this process is to select “Mark Account for Closure.” The odd phrasing is to note that your account will not be immediately deleted.
Microsoft developed a failsafe mechanism to hold your account information in limbo, just in case. You have to finish the subsequent step before your account will actually be closed, because again, Microsoft wants to make sure they don’t delete your information willy-nilly.
Do not attempt opening the account for 60 days
However, if you attempt to sign in to your account or sign in automatically, your account will be removed from the list of accounts marked for closure.
Unfortunately, you can’t just check on your Microsoft account and see if it has been deleted. This will reset the clock, and you’ll have to go through the steps of closing your account again. So consider it a done deal after you hit “Mark Account for Closure.”
How to Delete a Deceased Loved One’s Microsoft Account
Like with your account, you probably want to make sure that you can either retrieve your loved one’s important documents or securely delete them if they are no longer of use. This is included as one of the many steps in our comprehensive post-loss checklist. Access the free checklist yourself to discover other important steps to take after a loss.
If you don’t have the username and password handy, contacting Microsoft about this concern is the best way to get their account closed. However, it is rare to be able to access anything that was in this account prior to the deletion.
Tip: You can continue a loved one's digital legacy with a virtual memorial on a platform like GatheringUs. They even have specialists who can guide and support you through the planning process.
Contact Microsoft support with your needs
Keep in mind that you will unlikely get access to anything inside a Microsoft account that doesn’t belong to you. You can email or connect with Microsoft through their Contact Us page. Provide your connection to the deceased person alongside a request to access or delete their account.
The best outcome in most cases is that the account is closed permanently. You can provide evidence that the user has passed away with a death certificate and that you are a close family member or administrator of the estate.
There are some administrators who have requested access to a Microsoft account of a deceased user. While you can inquire, some users mention being unsuccessful at gaining access to accounts of deceased loved ones.
Follow up steps for your situation
When you get a response from Microsoft, follow their instructions to the letter. If the account is slated for deletion, make sure not to automatically log in. Make sure to remove your loved one’s account from apps like Skype, Xbox, or even Microsoft Office.
In addition, make sure to review their computer or cell phone. If anyone accesses them and uses Microsoft-driven applications, they may accidentally reactivate the account.
Reviewing Closed Microsoft Accounts
Closing a Microsoft account is an easy way to also stop subscribing to a variety of other software options. By simply deleting a Microsoft account, it makes the organization of one's digital assets easier. However, it’s important to consider deleting such an influential and wide-ranging account. When you’ve made up your mind, however, the process is fairly simple.
No one wants their digital legacy to be hacked or involve the release of their personal information. In this sense, it’s smart to keep your passwords and sensitive data in a useful password manager.
This service can also include detailed instructions you wish to leave for others when they access and manage your accounts later. If you want help with managing your digital assets, start end-of-life planning today at Cake’s easy-to-use website.
If you're looking to delete more accounts for a deceased loved one, read our guides on deleting eBay account, deleting Skype accounts, and deleting Uber accounts.
- “How to Close Your Microsoft Account.” Microsoft account support. Microsoft. 19 August 2019. support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12412/microsoft-account-how-to-close-account
- “I need to close a dead person’s account.” Microsoft Community. Microsoft. 22 May 2018. answers.microsoft.com/en-us/skype/forum/skype_accountms-skype_payms/i-need-to-close-a-deceased-persons-account/7708f25f-efea-4a3d-b066-6c4f45938972
- “Close your Outlook.com account.” Microsoft Office support. Microsoft. support.office.com/en-us/article/close-your-outlook-com-account-564b801e-2a47-4cb2-afa8-12ead3185038