How to Close an Outlook Account Without Losing Your Emails

If you want to close your Outlook email account but don’t know where to start, you will find everything you need in this article. Using our easy-to-follow instructions, you will be able to delete your account permanently without losing the old emails.

But before we begin, we should explain what we’ll be referring to as “Outlook” in this article.

When people talk about Microsoft Outlook, they may mean two things:

  • Outlook.com, which is Microsoft’s online email service (just like Gmail, or Yahoo, or AOL).
  • The Outlook desktop or mobile email app. It can be used both with Outlook.com addresses and with email accounts of all other providers.

In this article, we will focus on deleting an Outlook.com account online in a browser. An example of an Outlook.com account is your_name@outlook.com.

If you simply wish to remove your email address from the Outlook app, please visit Microsoft’s help page. Remember that if you have an @outlook.com email address, removing it from the app or deleting the app from the device will not delete your account or your emails in Outlook.com.

Can you delete an Outlook account completely?

All Microsoft apps and services are closely linked. Because of this, to delete an Outlook.com email address, you’ll have to delete your Microsoft account. This means that if you are using other Microsoft services with this email address, such OneDrive or Skype, you will no longer be able to access them.

If that is fine with you, then just save your old emails and proceed to request account closure from Microsoft.

The easy way to save old Outlook emails is to copy them into another online account. Use VaultMe to avoid any manual work and get an accurate result.

Alternatively, you can delete your old Outlook/Microsoft account and start over by creating a new one.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Sign up for a new Outlook account. This will automatically create a new Microsoft account for you.
    Step 1 of switching to a new Outlook.com account
    How to create a new Outlook.com account
  2. Copy your Outlook emails from the old account to the new account.

    You can do that using VaultMe or the desktop Outlook app. We’ll provide detailed instructions for both options below.

  3. Save any other Microsoft content that you might need in future, such as OneDrive files, contacts, calendars, etc.

    Please note that VaultMe can copy OneDrive files, contacts, and calendars together with the Outlook emails

  4. Close the old Microsoft account when you are ready and start using the new account with all Microsoft services.

    We’ll provide step-by-step instructions for closing the account in one of the next sections.

Things to do before you close your Outlook account

There are some things you can do to prepare for the closure of your Outlook/Microsoft account.

Just like many other email providers, Microsoft does not close accounts immediately. After you request cancellation, your account will be deactivated and you will have 60 days to re-open it.

This means that your content will not be gone in a second. Still, taking some extra steps to ensure that you won’t have to re-activate your account will be worth the effort.

So here’s what you can do:

  1. Save your Outlook emails to another online account. We’ll cover this step in the next section of this article.
  2. Cancel your Microsoft subscriptions.
  3. Let other people know that you’re closing your Outlook account.

    Your Outlook email address will be receiving emails for 60 days after you request the closure of your account. You can set up your email account to send automated replies during this time. In these replies, you may inform people that this account will soon be closed and offer an alternative email address for future communication.

  4. Replace your old Outlook email address with another email address in all online services that are associated with the old address.

    If you switch to a new Outlook.com account, this will not replace your Outlook email address in online services (such as Microsoft apps, social media, work applications, etc.) automatically. Make sure that all of your online accounts are associated with another active email address before you delete the old one.

How to save old Outlook emails

If you no longer need your Outlook.com account or are switching from Outlook to another email provider (such as Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, etc.), you’d want to take your old emails with you before they are deleted.

While downloading the emails and storing them on a hard drive might seem like a reasonable plan, we suggest giving this option a second thought.

If you keep the archive on a hard drive, your emails will not be accessible online. This means that:

  • You won’t be able to find an old message quickly when you need it
  • The message won’t open without a desktop email app
  • Any damage to the hard drive will put the safety of your email archive at risk

This is why we recommend transferring your old Outlook emails into another online account before you shut down your account.

There are two ways to do it:

  • Option 1. Use VaultMe to copy your Outlook emails automatically
  • Option 2. Copy your emails manually using a desktop email app

We’ll discuss the pros and cons of these two options below.

Option 1. Save your emails automatically using VaultMe

VaultMe is a secure online app for automated email migrations.

You can use VaultMe to copy your old Outlook emails into another Outlook.com account or any other email account that you have (for example, you can migrate Outlook to Gmail).

Pros of the automatic process:

  • Saves formatting, attachments, and folder structure of emails
  • Requires no technical knowledge
  • Works in a browser
  • Quick, secure, and reliable

Cons of the automatic process:

  • Paid service (but definitely worth it according to the reviews of our customers!)

VaultMe is quick to set up and easy to use. All you need to do is connect your old and your new accounts and click “Start”.

If you have any questions about VaultMe, please contact us at support@vaultme.com. We’d be happy to help!

Option 2. Copy your emails manually using a desktop app

Here’s how you can do this:

  1. Install a desktop email app on your computer (such the Outlook desktop app, Thunderbird, or any other third-party email app).
  2. Connect your old Outlook account to the app and download the emails to your hard drive (use the “Export” option).
  3. Connect your new email account to the app and import the downloaded emails to the new account (use the “Import” option).

You will be able to access your copied emails from the new account in a browser even if you uninstall the email app from your computer after you’ve finished.

Pros of the manual method:

  • Free

Cons of the manual method:

  • Requires at least some technical expertise
  • Time-consuming
  • Unreliable — may result in lost or broken files
  • Needs stable broadband connection and enough drive storage space for a temporary copy of the archive

How to close your Outlook/Microsoft account

If you’ve read all the sections above, you are now well-prepared for the termination of your Microsoft account.

To cancel your Outlook/Microsoft account, do the following:

  1. Go to the “Close your account” page.
  2. Sign in the account that you wish to close.
  3. Read the list and select the checkboxes to acknowledge you’ve read each item.
  4. Select the reason why you're closing the account.
  5. Select “Mark account for closure”.

Remember that you’ll have 60 days to re-activate your account if you change your mind. To cancel the closure request, just sign in the Outlook/Microsoft account from any of your devices.