How to Delete an Old OneDrive Account Permanently

You probably need to delete a OneDrive account if you are no longer using Microsoft apps. Or you may have multiple OneDrive accounts that you’d like to merge and keep only one.

In this article, we’ll explain how you can delete your OneDrive account online. You will be able to close your account down permanently and remove all of its files both from your device and from Microsoft’s systems. If this is what you want to achieve — read on!

But if you simply wish to remove OneDrive from your computer or mobile device and keep the account, see Microsoft’s help page for instructions.

What you should consider before you delete your OneDrive account

In Microsoft, all apps and services are designed to work together and are linked to one Microsoft account. Because of that, to delete a OneDrive account, you’ll have to delete your Microsoft account linked to this OneDrive.

If you are using other apps with your old Microsoft account (such as Skype, Outlook.com and others), you will no longer be able to access them after you delete it. So before you proceed, you should make sure that no important content is stored in other apps.

To do that:

  1. Go to the OneDrive account you wish to delete and check what email address it is registered to.
  2. Sign in to all other Microsoft services that you may be using with this email address (such as Outlook.com, contacts, calendars, Skype, etc.). To view all available apps, click the nine dots menu in the top left corner.
    A list of all Microsoft apps as shown by OneDrive
    How to check what Microsoft apps you are using
  3. Check if you’ve used other apps with this account in the past and if you need to save any of the content. We’ll cover saving OneDrive files, email, contact, and calendars in one of the next sections.

If you feel that deleting a Microsoft account would be too radical, you can just delete all files from OneDrive and remove the OneDrive apps from your devices.

Things to do before you delete your OneDrive account

Closing down the account is quick. But before you go and click that “Delete” button, you should make sure you are ready for what will happen after your account is closed.

The first thing you should know is that Microsoft will not delete your account immediately. Just like many other providers, Microsoft will deactivate your account for 60 days before it is erased completely. You will be able to re-open it within this waiting period.

In other words, your account will not be permanently gone in a second. Still, taking steps to ensure that you won’t have to re-activate your account to tie the loose ends will be worth the effort.

Here's what you can do:

  1. Save your old OneDrive files to another account.

    We’ll explain how you can do that in the next section of this article.

  2. Cancel your Microsoft subscriptions.
  3. Let other people know that you’re closing your old OneDrive account.

    If you are sharing files with other people in your old OneDrive, you may want to get in touch with them and let them know that your account will be deleted soon. You collaborators may need to download the documents you’ve shared before they are removed.

How to save OneDrive files to another account

If you no longer want to keep your old OneDrive account or are switching from OneDrive to Google Drive, you’d probably want to save your old files before the account is deleted.

At first sight, downloading the files to a hard drive may seem reasonable, but we suggest giving this option a second thought.

If you keep your files only on a computer or an external drive, they will not be accessible online. Because of this:

  • You won’t be able to use an old file quickly when you need it (such as from your mobile device)
  • Possible damage to the hard drive will put the safety of your old files at risk

Considering all of the above, we recommend moving your OneDrive files into another OneDrive or Google Drive before you close your old account down.

There are two ways to do it:

  • Option 1. Use VaultMe to move your OneDrive files over automatically
  • Option 2. Copy your files manually

We’ll discuss the pros and cons of these options below so that you can choose the method that suits your needs best.

Option 1. Transfer your OneDrive files automatically using VaultMe

VaultMe is an online app for migrating drive files between Microsoft and Google accounts. You can use VaultMe to automatically copy your OneDrive files to another OneDrive or to Google Drive.

Pros of the automatic process:

  • Saves the folder structure of the copied OneDrive account
  • Copies owned and shared files as well as shared libraries
  • Can also copy email, contacts, and calendars
  • Requires no technical expertise
  • Works online in a browser (no software to install)
  • Quick, secure, and reliable
  • Has great reviews!

Cons of the automatic process:

  • Paid service (but the “free” manual process can cost you more)

VaultMe is quick to set up and very easy to use. All you need to do is connect your old OneDrive and your new account 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. Download and upload OneDrive files manually

This option involves downloading the OneDrive files to your computer’s hard drive and uploading them to another account.

To copy the files to another OneDrive:

  1. Go to OneDrive in a browser and download the files to the computer.

    Select the file or folder you wish to download and click the “Download” button in OneDrive’s top menu.

    Step 1 of Option 2 for copying OneDrive files. The download menu
    How to download files and folders from OneDrive to the hard drive
  2. Upload the downloaded files to your new OneDrive.
    Step 2 of Option 2 for copying OneDrive files. The upload menu
    How to upload files and folders from the hard drive to OneDrive

If you wish to migrate your old OneDrive to Google Drive, you may install OneDrive and Google Drive desktop apps and drag and drop your files between them.

To copy files from OneDrive to Google Drive:

  1. Install Google Drive’s (“Backup and Sync”) and OneDrive’s desktop apps.
  2. Connect your accounts to each app.
  3. Sync OneDrive files and folders with your computer to download the files.
  4. Drag and drop your files and folders from OneDrive folders to Google Drive.

    To copy the files or folders, hold the Ctrl key when you drag and drop them. Otherwise your files will be moved from one account into the other.

Pros of the manual method:

  • Free (but may cost you more in time, effort, and lost files)

Cons of the manual method:

  • Very slow
  • Requires a lot of manual work
  • Contacts, calendars, and emails will need to be copied separately
  • May involve installing additional software
  • Unreliable - may result in lost or broken files
  • Needs a stable Internet connection and drive storage space for temporary copies of the files

Steps for closing your OneDrive/Microsoft account

Now that your old content is saved and all collaborators are notified, you can proceed to delete the account.

To close your OneDrive/Microsoft account, do the following:

  1. Go to Microsoft’s "Close your account" page.
  2. Sign in to the old account that you wish to close down.
  3. Read the list and select the checkboxes once you are ready.
  4. Select the reason for closing the account.
  5. Choose “Mark account for closure”.

You will have 60 days to re-activate your account in case you change your mind. To re-open it, just sign in to the old OneDrive/Microsoft account from any of your devices.

Conclusion

In order to delete your online OneDrive account and remove it completely from Microsoft's systems, you will have to delete your Microsoft account.

Before you do that, you should save your old files to another account, cancel your Microsoft subscriptions, and let your OneDrive collaborators know that you’ll be closing your account.

To save your old files automatically, use VaultMe. It can copy your OneDrive files to another OneDrive or to Google Drive. Alternatively, you can copy your files manually, but this may not be quick or easy.

Once you are ready, go to the "Close your account" page and follow the prompts to close your Microsoft account. After 60 days your OneDrive account will be deleted permanently.

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