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Microsoft may close accounts after two-years of inactivity, unless..

Microsoft started to send out emails to all Microsoft Account users recently in which it informed its customers about upcoming services agreement changes.

The changes are listed on a special page on the Microsoft website and there is an option to read the entire upcoming services agreement as well. The change takes effect on August 30, 2019.

One of the major changes affects Microsoft Accounts; more precisely, the period of inactivity that may lead to the automatic closure of the account.  Microsoft clarified the account activity policy under KB4511051.

Tip: To protect a Microsoft Account better, enable two-factor authentication or set up a security key for the Microsoft Account.

microsoft account policy

Generally speaking, Microsoft customers need to sign-in to the account at least once every two years to keep it active. Microsoft considers accounts inactive if no sign-in happened in a two year period.

Microsoft reduced the inactivity period from five years to two years in the new services agreement.  Some services, OneDrive and Outlook.com, require once-a-year sign-ins to avoid the inactivity flag and potential termination of the account.

Certain activities may override the two-year limit and the resulting closure of the account:

  • If a purchase has been made that is linked to the account. This does not apply to gift cards, certifications, or subscription-based purchases or services.
  • Accounts with active subscriptions won’t be closed during the subscription period.
  • Developers who published to the Microsoft Store won’t have their accounts closed. The same goes for accounts used to register for a Microsoft Partner Center account.
  • Customers who earned a certification that is linked to the Microsoft Account won’t have the account closed due to inactivity.
  • If the account balance is not Zero, the account will remain active.
  • If Microsoft owes money to an account, that account remains active as well.
  • If the Microsoft Account has “granted consent for an active Microsoft account belonging to a minor”, Microsoft won’t close the account due to inactivity. The account will be closed if the minor’s account is deemed inactivity and closed by Microsoft, is closed by the account owner, or transitioned into a standard Microsoft account.
  • Legal requirements or as otherwise provided by Microsoft.

Microsoft notes that customers may always check the activity status of the account on the Microsoft account management website. I could not find the option there and since you need to sign-in before you can look up the information, you are more or less guaranteed a 2-year extension since doing so counts as a sign-in that resets the inactivity period.

Microsoft accounts are used for a variety of purposes. Windows 10 (digital) licenses may be linked to the accounts.

Now You: Do you use a Microsoft Account?

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