- A Hotmail type account can only be closed by a valid Windows Live ID owner
- Closure requires use of the Windows Live ‘Close Your Account’ tool
- Closure requests are only finalized after 9 months (270 days) of inactivity
- Due to security reasons only valid holders of a Windows Live ID can close a Hotmail account
- Hotmail type accounts are of the form – Hotmail.com, Live.com, Msn.com and other country specific derivatives of the same or similar domain (e.g. Hotmail.ca, Live.nl, Msn.co.uk etc.) Note: The terms ‘Hotmail account’ and ‘Hotmail type account’ are used interchangeably in this article (they are one and the same)
- Account closure occurs in stages (closure request, message removal from the Hotmail server, refusal of incoming mail to the Hotmail server, and eventual/final closure ‘after’ 270 days of inactivity/use of the account)
- Closing a Hotmail type account does not close a Windows Live ID account. The Windows Live ID account will be deleted after 365 days of inactivity.
- The method shown below in the How To: is not applicable for 3rd party email addresses registered as a Live ID
- The method shown below in the How To: is not applicable to subscription based accounts (Hotmail Plus or MSN Premium/Premier) until the account is cancelled and converted to a free Hotmail type account (contact Customer Service to cancel the subscription and convert the account to a free Hotmail type account).
1. To Close a Hotmail type account access the ‘Close Your Account’ tool by first signing-in using the account’s Windows Live ID username and password (see below picture).
The url address for the ‘Close Your Account’ tool is:
2. After ‘Sign in’ click the ‘Close your Account’ option
- Note the 270 day required inactivity (subsequent use of the Hotmail account will cancel the closure request and reactivate the account)
3. Once the account closure request is processed, the user will receive the following prompt
4. Thereafter Do Not Use the Account for 270 days since use of the account will reactivate the Hotmail type account, nullify the original closure request and require the valid account holder to repeat the entire account closure process.
- The Windows Live ID associated with the Hotmail account will not be closed after 270 days of account inactivity
- The Windows Live ID associated with a Hotmail account will only be deleted after 365 days of inactivity from the date of a valid account closure request. (After 365 days the Live ID username may be available for your or another’s use. Fyi – the term ‘may be available’ should not be interpreted in the absolute sense).
- The ‘Close Your Account’ dialog box mentions that a Hotmail email address may be available for reuse after 270 days of inactivity. Since it takes 365 days (or even longer) for a Live ID (also your email address) to be deleted it would seem doubtful that ‘available for reuse’ has any practical meaning until at least 365 days of inactivity.
Supplemental Information: (What Not To Do)
(Note: editor/winston) This section ‘Supplemental Information: What Not To Do’ was included for one primary reason. Searching the internet (Google, Bing, etc) yields a variety of articles with directions explaining ‘How to close a hotmail account’ – while some are valid, too many have not been updated with current data (270 day inactivity requirement – some reference 120 days; pointing to the Live ID account information page – reason explained below; not differentiating or explaining the difference between a Hotmail account, Live ID account and/or 3rd party Live ID accounts)
- Do not use the ‘Close your account’ option available on the bottom of the Live ID Account information page (https://account.live.com) to close a Hotmail type account. This option can be used for closing a third party email address registered as a Live ID, i.e. no Hotmail account/Inbox – e.g. yahoo.com, gmail.com, your-isp.com or similar email addresses which can be registered as a Live ID)
a. Attempting to use the Live ID Account information ‘Close your account’ option for a Hotmail account will yield the following page/prompt (as promising as the notice may appear to be, for a Hotmail account, it will not work)
b. Subsequent entry of an active Hotmail Windows Live ID and clicking ‘Yes’ generates the following page/prompt [Cannot close] for a Hotmail type account.
May 21, 2011: Original Draft Date
May 23, 2011: Original Published Date