If you only pay attention to the headlines that Microsoft wants you to keep your eye on, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Windows 10 has been a universal success. So far, Redmond’s latest OS has been installed on around 72 million systems around the globe, and for the most part, has been met with overwhelmingly positive reactions from both the press and the public. But what if Windows 10’s many privacy violations, annoying Start menu, and bogus apps are too much for you to bear?
Deleting your Microsoft account can be a great way to ensure that none of your data is used by the company without your consent, while also removing yourself from the Windows database so no information can be collected by an unapproved third-party source while you aren’t looking.
Delete the Account Locally
The first step in this process is to remove the Microsoft account from your local machine.
To do this, start by entering your Settings, and clicking into the “Accounts” section.
Once here, you can find the option to remove the Microsoft account at the bottom of the “Your account” tab, highlighted here.
Note that if you’re currently signed in on the Microsoft account you want to delete, you won’t be able to remove it while you’re still signed in on that same account. You’ll need to either create a separate local account and re-log in from there, or simply wipe your Windows 10 installation altogether if that’s the route you’re opting to take instead.
After you’re logged in on a separate account, select the one you plan on deleting, and choose the “Remove” option once it pops up.
Don’t get too hasty though, there’s still one more step left to wipe the account clean from the face of the Internet.
Scrub the Account From Microsoft’s Website
Even after you delete your Microsoft account from the local computer, all its data and the personal information stored inside will still be held on Microsoft’s own servers. To get rid of it entirely, you’ll need to use the tool on the Microsoft website itself.
Note, before you completely delete the account, be sure you’ve emptied out your digital wallet from the Windows Store, canceled any subscriptions that might be tied to the account, and backed up any documents, pictures, or personal data you want saved on a separate hard drive from the one your OS is installed on. This way, you can be sure that even after the account is closed, you’ll still have access to all your files in case you need them again at a later date.
Once all these precautions have been taken, go to the Microsoft website, and find the “Close your account” page via this link. After this loads, the page will ask you to log in.
After you’ve done this, you’ll be taken to the following page, which will attempt to verify you are who you say you are through either your backup email address, or linked phone number.
You’ll be sent a code either through a text message or email that looks something like this:
Enter the code in the verification bar, and once this page is passed, Microsoft is going to make you click a lot of boxes to make sure you 100% understand the implications of closing your account.
They’ll pester you with reminders of obvious facts like how you won’t be able to log in on the account anymore, that your Xbox “may not work the way you expect it to”, and that your email access will be shut down in either Outlook or Hotmail. Anyone who’s ever tried to discontinue their Xbox Live subscription will recognize this familiar scent of desperation as Microsoft tries every means necessary to prevent you from leaving the nest.
After you’ve clicked through all of these, Microsoft will ask why you’re choosing to remove the account. Give the reason, and click “Mark account for closure”.
But, just in case you aren’t totally, 100% sure you really wanted to close your account for good, Microsoft will do you the favor of keeping the account open for another 60 days; just in case you muster up the courage to come back.
Ever since the launch of Windows 10, more and more users are beginning to realize that simply owning a Microsoft account online could open you up to all sorts of privacy woes you never could have expected.
If you value keeping your information out of the hands of the Big-M, deleting your account with the company completely is the only way to be sure your data won’t be used for anything else but your own personal records.