I’d actually suggest that you seriously reconsider closing your account.
Closing your account will not stop spam that looks like it came from the account; hackers often fake the “From:” address whether or not the account exists.
Closing your account will not stop your contacts from “being bothered”; if they had even brief access to your contact list, the spammers have probably already made a copy.
Closing your account is not guaranteed to cause emails sent to it to bounce back to the sender; bounce messages are optional, and many services choose not to send them, to reduce spam.
Closing your account may not even be possible if it’s been hacked, and you don’t have access to it yourself.
All that being said, if you still want to close it, I’ll walk you through the steps; it’s not really that hard.
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You must be able to log in
You must be able to log in to your account in order to close it. If that were not the case, anyone could close the account.
If you want to close your account because you think it has been hacked, or you can’t log in to close your account, the article Email Hacked? 7 Things You Need to do NOW has the steps that you need to try to take in order to regain access to the account.
I have to say “try”, because once you’ve lost access to a hacked account, there is no guarantee that you can get it back. That’s one of the “costs” of using a free email account like Hotmail or Outlook.com.
Even if you don’t want it back – you just want to close it so the hacker stops using it – the steps that you need to take to prove ownership are exactly the same steps that would recover the account. Thus, if you can’t recover the account, you won’t be able to prove that you are authorized to close it.
Closing the account
Log in to your account via Outlook.com.
Click your account name in the upper right.
Click the Account settings item.
This will transition you to your “Microsoft Account” account page. On that page, click on Manage advanced security.
At this point, you may be asked to confirm that you are the rightful account owner, by entering a code that will be sent to your choice of alternate email address or phone number.
Once verified, you’ll be taken to the “Security Settings” page. Scroll down to the bottom of that page, and you’ll find the link that you’re looking for.
This will take you to a page with information explaining what closing will do, and will likely ask you for your password again, to confirm that you are the rightful owner of the account.
Click Next to begin the process.
What it means to close your Outlook.com or Hotmail account
Read the information that is presented on that confirmation screen carefully.
Your Outlook.com or Hotmail account is your Microsoft account. When you close this account, you will lose all access to all services associated with it.
- You’ll lose all of your email and contacts.
- You’ll lose all of the entries made in your calendar.
- You’ll lose everything you may have placed in OneDrive.
- You’ll lose access to Office 365, if you have it.
- You’ll lose access to your XBox Live account, if it uses this Microsoft account’s email address.
- You’ll lose your ability to log in to Skype with this account.
You may even lose your ability to log in to your Windows 8 (or later) PC, if this account is used for that purpose.
Make absolutely certain that this is what you want to do before you do it.
Alternatives to closing
If you can’t login to your account, and your attempts to recover access have failed there is nothing you can do. The account is no longer yours.
- If someone else has access to it, then they are they new account owner, and they can do anything they want with it. That’s simply the grim reality.
- If no one else has access to it, then the account will eventually eventually be deleted for inactivity. How long “eventually” is varies, but it’s often somewhere between three months and a year.
If you’ve regained access, or you need to keep the account open because you use other Microsoft services with that account, then you have two options:
- Ignore email on this account completely and use it only for those other services. I don’t recommend this approach, because it’s very likely that you will get important notifications via email for those other services. If you ignore email, you will miss those.
- What I recommend you do instead is to secure your account (following the instructions in Email Hacked? 7 Things You Need to do NOW ), and then start managing your spam, by simply marking anything that is spam as spam or junk. Eventually the email system will learn what is and is not spam to you, and route it to the spam folder automatically.