Microsoft to stop supporting linked accounts in Outlook.com

Microsoft has stated that Hotmail and Outlook.com will soon stop supporting linked accounts, a feature that was added back in 2006. The feature is used to help users switch quickly between multiple email accounts but Microsoft will be dropping this feature in favor of using aliases.

Microsoft lists quite a few reasons why they are dropping the feature including security concerns and that Microsoft wants you to have only one Microsoft account for all of your connected devices. We must admit the second reason is a bit odd and how it ties to linked accounts is a bit of a stretch, but it's one of the reasons Microsoft lists for dropping the feature.

By using aliases, Microsoft states that you will only have one email address to maintain and keep secure. With linked accounts, there are multiple ways of accessing your account that make keeping your email inbox secure, a laborious task.

Microsoft will begin letting users know about this update to prepare them for the feature removal and how you can consolidate your inbox in the next few days.

While the Outlook.com/Hotmail team has been adding features at a feverish pace over the past few months, this seems like a step in the wrong direction for a platform that is looking to distance itself from the likes of Gmail and Yahoo mail.

Source: Microsoft

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I hope this means that Office Outlook will support aliases, because currently mail cannot be sent from aliases not even in Outlook 2013

Well it looks like Micros~1 have decided to push its Outlook users to Gmail or Yahoo, by giving up on Outlook's killer feature. Clowns.

Not without deleting and waiting it frees up... but if there's enough demand/complaints I'm sure they'll create a function to do automatically do that (hopefully).

Oh I just freaking love aliases. Yes, I'm serious. New, disposable email address within a few seconds without a new account, new credentials etc. Very useful and makes multiple accounts completely unnecessary. No, "I JUST want multiple accounts, period" is not a valid point

i do not really see much of an issue with this as in the end you end up with close to the same functionality the only problem i can see is people getting frustrated about their existing mail not showing up in the same place.

Read up on some comments above, there's plenty of reasons for people using this feature.
And it worked before with hotmail.com including the two-staged auth login.
Add to it that your MS account can still be linked with facebook, linkedin etc. But not for mail anymore?
Makes no sense to me besides forcing their users into using a single account.

Shadowzz said,
Add to it that your MS account can still be linked with facebook, linkedin etc. But not for mail anymore?
Makes no sense to me besides forcing their users into using a single account.

Facebook/LinkedIn/etc. are 'Connected Services' not 'Linked Accounts'.
It makes sense to remove linked accounts, and I do get your frustration based on all your comments, but instead of creating multiple accounts, they need to simply need a way to extend the 5 device limit. I know some people before complained they don't have 5 devices (when Office 365 came out), but there are plenty of people that do (and as with you, lots more!)... so they really need a way to extend or at least have the option to request more. You should try sending them feedback, since they are pretty good at listening.

Good point Shadow. If MS's reason is supposedly safety, then why do they want to become a trusted 'aggregate' of your other social accounts? By this logic, its bad not to logon to Facebook (or its app) directly. Stupid!

Ok j, split that hair between a connected service and a linked account.

What if we have an outlook.com account and also custom email domain hosted by Windows Live? This really sucks...

Hmm good question... I think those will still exist, just not linked anymore. I.e. if you have them both saved to your computer, they'll both still show on the login screen, just you can't access them from within the apps. I'm just guessing though.

This would work, if the user have ONE eMail adress, but I use it very infrequent (I use it more for Messenger/Skype) and have two, @Hotmail.com and @live.de , I not count it but how many @Domains have MS? 20? And this without @Domain.language. How it should be possible to create an alias for this? Well done MS...

I don't really understand your comment... but it sounds like this feature doesn't even apply to you since you say you use it very infrequently. There are aliases available for all their domains.

Alright... so... I have a skype account that was originally created under my live.com account, but it is linked to my outlook.com account so I can log into it (skype) that way... does this mean that will no longer work as well?

j2006 said,
How are they getting worse? From a business and a safety standpoint, it makes sense.

Because many have used this system for a long time. I have no interest into having just 1 account for all my doings. Aliases or not, don't want em all under 1 account.
And now to 'merge' my accounts so they are still one, i have to delete my other 2 accounts and wait 3 months before i can add em? No thank you.
I also prefer multiple mailboxes over 1 single mailbox.

Whats next, Office Outlook not supporting multiple linked accounts anymore and everyone will use 1 inbox infested with tons of rules to keep it a clean inbox? haha

Shadowzz said,

Whats next, Office Outlook not supporting multiple linked accounts anymore and everyone will use 1 inbox infested with tons of rules to keep it a clean inbox? haha

They would never do that to Outlook 2013, as just like Outlook.com, you can add manage multiple e-mail accounts. This change seems mainly to promote against creating multiple free accounts, resulting in multiple storage spaces.

I do agree they need to make some changes regarding converting emails to aliases (i.e. merging inboxes and freeing up the address to become an alias) and especially allowing (or at least even purchasing the option to) allow more than 5 devices.

Shadowzz said,

Because many have used this system for a long time. I have no interest into having just 1 account for all my doings. Aliases or not, don't want em all under 1 account.
And now to 'merge' my accounts so they are still one, i have to delete my other 2 accounts and wait 3 months before i can add em? No thank you.
I also prefer multiple mailboxes over 1 single mailbox.

Whats next, Office Outlook not supporting multiple linked accounts anymore and everyone will use 1 inbox infested with tons of rules to keep it a clean inbox? haha


Won't happen, as outlook is PAID software, wheras the service we are talking about is free. Effectivley you have nothing to complain about, and they could pull the plug at any time.

sjaak327 said,

Won't happen, as outlook is PAID software, wheras the service we are talking about is free. Effectivley you have nothing to complain about, and they could pull the plug at any time.

So people that pay for Office 365 can still link accounts?

Shadowzz said,

So people that pay for Office 365 can still link accounts?

People that pay for Office 365 have a large array of options, not comparable to the free outlook.com services.

That's just great. I use linked accounts to easily be able to monitor my daughters email account. So that's a use case that MS are apparently completely dismissing and can't be replaced using 'aliases'.

.Rik said,
But can't she like...check your e-mail too?

Yep... somebody didn't think this one through...

If you want to continue being creepy, setup forwarding to your account.

j2006 said,
Yeah, that's creepy. You should be using parental controls, not literally going in her inbox lol.

If i would have a kid and he or she would be <16, they will have no internet privacy.
Give em their privacy and I've seen and undergone what will happen.
And I was raised when internet was not so important to the general population, now the internet is at least a dozen times worse when it comes to f*cked up invididuals and the average sh*tfest most of the internet has become.
Parental Controls are often not enough I actually respect those who 'monitor' their children online, more should do it.
I'm 25 and if i get 12-14year old girls looking for 'friends' openly and easily give away their MSN/Skype/Facebook whatever. I'm quite sure they have no supervising parents that don't give a damn what their children are upto on the internet. (And no I'm not actively looking for children on the internet, i just happen to enjoy a game of Minecraft or Pokemon, which happen to attract loads of <14year olds)

Wow, there are some people with no clue at all. My daughter is a minor. She is under 16. I am completely responsible for her, and her conduct. She knows I have access to her accounts, all of them, everywhere. I will retain rights to access any and all accounts until she is 16. I do also use MSs parental controls - they're very good, but not perfect. Oh, and no, she can't read my emails, as my hotmail account isn't my primary account, it's basically my spam trap.

It's called parenting people. It's funny how when some kid goes off and does something stupid online everyone chimes in with 'What were the parents doing? Why weren't they monitoring what their child was doing online? Bad parents!' Well, here I am, monitoring what my child does. I'm going to take a guess that half of those who think I'm out of order are teenagers themselves.

Slugsie said,
She is under 16. I am completely responsible for her, and her conduct. She knows I have access to her accounts, all of them, everywhere. I will retain rights to access any and all accounts until she is 16.

Im so amazed at how the human brain "matures" on that final nights sleep before turning 16!
Remember kids.. censorship is about falsifying the truth, to somehow protect? them. Experiencing life to the fullest, and for what it truly is surely does not involve censorship. Better to experience the truth and then talk about it.

What an utterly vacuous response. I never said a child suddenly matures overnight when turning 16. The law in this country however does say until that night she is a minor and I am responsible for her. Are you suggesting that I should just give her free reign? Should a 14y/o be allowed unfettered access? How about a 10y/o? 8? They are all arbitrary lines, but you have to draw them somewhere.

What the heck has censorship got to do with anything?

Tell you what, get back to me when you have a teenage child of your own.

One solution would be to access her account with an email client that supports ActiveSync; this provides seamlessly synchronised access (you see exactly the same emails/folders/etc. as you would from Outlook.com). Windows Live Mail and Windows 8's Mail app both support this as do some smart phone mail apps.

Another option would be to use an alternate browser installation (Firefox Portable etc.) that's already logged into that account.

mrmomoman said,
It wasn't like you weren't given any warning..

The point is the removal of a feature, not if a fair warning have been offered.....

Fritzly said,

The point is the removal of a feature, not if a fair warning have been offered.....

Yeah, but it's a useless feature now with aliases there. What kind of company would want you to create multiple accounts any link them together anyway? From a business and a privacy standpoint, it's an important move to make.

j2006 said,

Yeah, but it's a useless feature now with aliases there. What kind of company would want you to create multiple accounts any link them together anyway? From a business and a privacy standpoint, it's an important move to make.

Right, so I don't mind them removing the feature so long as there's a way to convert those linked accounts into aliases of a single.

j2006 said,

Yeah, but it's a useless feature now with aliases there. What kind of company would want you to create multiple accounts any link them together anyway? From a business and a privacy standpoint, it's an important move to make.

One reason would be that you can authenticate only 5 PC, tablets, xbox under one account. Right now I have 15 authenticated devices under 3 linked accounts. This wont be possible any longer which means I have to log into 3 different accounts to manage them.

what do we do with the accounts we have linked? How do I set them up as aliases? This is annoying. Boo Microsoft, boo.

i have same question. when i try to make an alias it tells me i can't make an alias to outlook.com, live.ru and live.com profiles, because those are "reserved domains"...

You can only create aliases for accounts that haven't been taken yet (obviously). So I believe you'll have to delete your other accounts to free up those email addresses, and then create an alias for them.

j2006 said,
You can only create aliases for accounts that haven't been taken yet (obviously). So I believe you'll have to delete your other accounts to free up those email addresses, and then create an alias for them.

Right, so I don't mind them removing the feature so long as there's a way to convert those linked accounts into aliases of a single.

j2006 said,
You can only create aliases for accounts that haven't been taken yet (obviously). So I believe you'll have to delete your other accounts to free up those email addresses, and then create an alias for them.

Yes, but it takes up to 3 months before deleted account are freed up.

Another issue is the management of Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox accounts. You can only have 5 accounts managed under one live login. I manage 15 different Windows devices and with that move I can't do that any longer under one account. Now I have to log into 3 different accounts to manage them? That is BS.

It broke my heart that I couldn't keep my linked accounts when I enabled two-stage authentication... now it's gone for good. Le boo.

I actually love the aliases feature MUCH better. The only benefit of the linked accounts really was easily switch between multiple accounts... but you can still do that by simply logging out and clicking the other address if you have it saved on your computer.

I want the linked accounts. I have 3 accounts all linked up in outlook.
2 of my own domain accounts, a personal and administrative and a gmail.
I liked the 'login once, control multiple accounts. I could keep it all 3 seperate. A spambox, an administrative account and my personal account. I just use 1 as a Microsoft account, i don't really need or want 2 completely seperated accounts. Pointless. And I don't want everything under 1 account either.

And 2step authentication was available on the old hotmail.com WITH linked accounts.

j2006 said,
you can still do that by simply logging out and clicking the other address if you have it saved on your computer.

ORLY? Simple, as compared to the feature we currently have?