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There are a number of people who have more than one email address and want to manage these multiple email addresses from Outlook.com. Linked accounts were introduced in 2006 as a way to quickly switch between different accounts each with their own email address. Over the next couple months, we will stop supporting linked accounts and instead help people move to a more robust and secure way of managing multiple email addresses: aliases.
There are many reasons people have multiple email addresses, some of the most common include:
We know there are lots of good reasons to have multiple email addresses. We also believe it's important to provide a more robust, secure and durable solution to meet your needs.
Why make this change? Well, a lot of things have changed since we introduced linked accounts. Most importantly, your email address is also often how you sign into the account that is your "digital identity." For example, your Microsoft account unlocks a broad array of experiences ranging from Windows to Xbox to Office365 to Outlook.com and more. Increasingly, devices allow people to connect their various accounts (Microsoft account, Facebook, Twitter, Apple ID, etc.) to their devices and have it all "just work."
That means that you want to have one Microsoft account that lets you light up your Microsoft devices and services with your stuff: your gamer score, your email inboxes, your calendars, your people, and your files, as well as to connect to all the networks you care about. That's certainly the system we're building, and why we've designed aliases to make it easy to have multiple email addresses (for receiving and sending) connected to a single Microsoft account.
On the flip side, we've increasingly found that linked accounts are less robust, and less secure than using aliases. With linked accounts, you can sign in to Outlook.com on the web and then switch to any other linked account without entering a password. It's a handy feature.
Unfortunately, this same feature benefits the bad guys, too. We've found that quite often, people who use linked accounts keep their primary account's security info (including password and proofs) up to date, but don't lavish as much care on their secondary accounts. It's easier for a malicious party to compromise one of those secondary accounts, which gives them full access to your primary account. Note that if we detect suspicious activity in your account, we automatically unlink accounts to try to help prevent this abuse, but we think we need to go further.
We believe that aliases provide a more robust and secure capability for managing multiple email addresses. You can send and receive email from different addresses and keep it all organized the way you like. And all of this is tied to a single Microsoft account that has your latest and most up-to-date security info.
A couple years ago, we began the process of delinking linked accounts and encouraging people to move to aliases. We got good feedback about some issues, and have been hard at work fixing these gaps. To give you a smoother transition, we've added two new features:
We've also heard from some of you that you'd like to just "move an alias" - move the email address and email from one account to another. We've heard you loud and clear. Stay tuned for more about this in the future.
In the next few days, we'll send email about this change, including the steps you should take, to everybody currently using linked accounts. Soon after, when you sign in with a linked account, you'll see a notice with the same info. We want to make sure that you aren't surprised by this change.
If you don't use linked accounts, there's nothing you need to do.
If you do use linked accounts, now's a good time to make sure each account has updated security info, and that you know the password for each one. It's much easier to do this now while they're still linked. But even if you forget your password later, you can always reset it.
If you're interested in consolidating email, here are a few additional things you can do:
In late July, we'll begin unlinking linked accounts.
I know it's a hassle to make changes when you have a setup that works. We wouldn't ask you to do this if it wasn't important for your security. Thanks for partnering with us to help keep you (and your neighbors) more secure.
--Eric Doerr, Group Program Manager, Microsoft account
As near as I can tell Microsoft is doing everything it can to drive me away. I didn't like the change to Outlook (I still don't...the colors are too harsh and it still doesn't do some things that hotmail did much easier.) Now I can no longer link accounts! Linking accounts is one of the best features in outlook. Losing that ability is a pretty big step backward. Require us to reenter a password every time we switch. That's how you address the security issue. Signing out and then signing in again is just too much work. I'm afraid to ask how much worse Microsoft can make things.
can i send from connected accounts in future or will this also removed?
in office 365, too??
I see one mayor problem with this situation. The linked accounts feature disappear, and as alternative the suggestions are to setup forwarding or an alias.
The forwarding option is not ideal, because of the requirement to sign in every 365 days. I know it says that this will not be required for accounts that were linked, but I just don't like the risk that something would go wrong there and it ends up getting deleted after all, so the only good option would be to create an alias of my linked accounts.
This however would mean I first have to rename these accounts and delete the alias of the original address, and then there is the 30 days recycling period before I can add the alias in my main account. Which means for 30 days I cannot get any emails on the account, which for a couple of my linked accounts is absolutely not an option.
So the only thing left is switch between the accounts by signing out and signing in, which is just a waste of time compared to the two clicks that are required to switch between linked accounts.
I have 5 different Microsoft accounts that are linked together and I am not happy about this change. I use email on these accounts (and even have some aliases associated with some of these accounts already), and I also use the Contacts, Calendar and SkyDrive associated with all of these accounts. Converting my Microsoft accounts to aliases under one Microsoft account is not a feasible workaround to losing linked accounts.
Converting my Microsoft accounts to aliases under one Microsoft account may allow me to maintain all my unique email addresses and may also allow me to manage all my email through a consolidated login, but I lose much more than I gain through such consolidation. Here's a short list of the things I'm going to lose if I convert my Microsoft accounts to aliases under a single Microsoft account:
I will no longer be able to send email from my mobile phone from any email addresses that I convert to aliases under a single Microsoft account since there is no way to select the SEND FROM email address from my windows phone.
If I convert my various Microsoft logins into aliases under a single Microsoft login, I will essentially wind up terminating the prior Microsoft account and will lose all the related features and functions associated with the converted Microsoft accounts. I will lose all the related SkyDrive space I currently enjoy and use for any Microsoft accounts I convert to aliases!
I will also lose any secondary People contact listings that are currently associated with any Microsoft accounts I convert to aliases - and there's no way to have more than one People listing with a single Micrsoft account.
For these reasons, I will not convert any of my Microsoft accounts to aliases.
Since I am going to lose the convenience of linking these accounts together, I have shared all the calendars and SkyDrive file folders from my secondary Microsoft accounts with the Microsoft account that I've designated as my primary Microsoft account...this at least allows me easy access to all my Calendars and SkyDrive files from my windows phone and when I log into my primary Microsoft account via my computer browser. But I'll still have to juggle multiple logins when I want to work with my Contacts and when I want to perform significant work from my computer on my Microsoft accounts.
I have and O365 P1 account. It allows a maximum of 5 linked accounts.
I have linked all five.
I DO NOT use the linking feature in OWA365 whatsoever.
What I DO use is the ability to log onto any one of the five SKYDRIVES associated with
those accounts. Upon login, I then have the ability to 'switch' to any of the other four
7 GIG drives seamlessly and instantaneously.
Will that 'feature?' be deprecated along with Outlook links?
Good idea, will it work the same was as Google, with multiple accounts switchable in the profile menu as they are now, not linked, but both requiring separate credentials?
We just need IMAP and (real) aliases (distribution lists) for Live Domains and it's a perfect solution! :)
I DO NOT like this! I can easily switch from one account to the other on Andriod, iOS,etc and send/receive...I can also do this with gmail...but MS is deciding because of security to remove this feature? This will require a HUGE effort to login/out each time I want to switch between my work and personal email from MS. Sorry I can't understand why you are making this so hard when all your competition is making it *easier*
Once again, Microsoft has lost touch with their core users and has decided to head down the wrong path.
Microsoft should allow the end user to decide after disclosing the security risks of linking multiple accounts. I understand the risks and I would choose to accept them.
Microsoft could also impose on the user to enter the password before making any account changes to any accounts that the end user has not specifically logged into during the current session, but still allow the end user to send and access email.
Microsoft could actually make this service better instead of removing features and improve on the robustness of the service. Sure, the simple solution is to remove the feature, but that is not the best solution.
Microsoft should not feel obliged to remove features because of the few end users that do not practice good security or may not understand the existing security threats.
Nor should Microsoft dictate to the end user the way that Microsoft wants their products and services to be used (i.e. Windows 8 no start button; Xbox One will require an internet connection once every 24 hours).
I believe that innovating new services and products has always been Microsoft’s strongest asset. When you think that you can dictate how those products and services are used, you have lost touch with your core users. Their discontent trickles out to other users and potential users of you products and services.
It is not if the shoe is going to drop but when, when is Microsoft going to decide that Microsoft is going to make the end users use a product or service in a specific way and if the end users do not change and adopt Microsoft’s new way then we will make the end user use it our way.
I prefer suggestion :You should make us to choose between this feature above to be closed or to be continued and I take the full responsibilities,and for new users who will sign up a new email account this will not be an option for them.....
I am conformable with my linked accounts (I have 5 linked accounts) because it is independent and every one is self - organized (with its folders)....and Now I will make (5 folders besides 20 folders I have in primary account) to receive mails from each linked-one but unfortunately they will not be organized as in independent account...
Thanks for making life harder and more crowded
I TOTALLY agree! I also have multiple accounts and enjoy the fact that I can access them from any other via a link! What a PAIN in the XXX this will be!
please make it happen that we can select in the from dropdown in outlok 2013 our aliases/connected accounts from outlook.com - actually it sucks because it is not possible :(( come on guys!
I wouldn't really mind all that much about the change if you could at least check email from other Outlook.com accounts. But forwarding only? Seriously? And you expect us to log into our accounts at least once every 365 days too even when email is being forwarded? That is really really dumb. I honestly did consider moving back to Outlook from Gmail but I can see that MS just isn't interested in listening to their customers. Back to Gmail again. At least Gmail can check all of my outlook accounts.
And here's a newsflash for you MS, this will not increase security one little bit. If someone gets into one of your accounts then they will most likely still get into all of your other accounts too. Why? Because 99% of people will have used exactly the same password for every account and you've now helpfully set up email forwarding and sending using other email addresses telling the hacker all of your other email addresses.
Why not put a disclaimer?!!! It's the best of two worlds?!!!
I hate this new change. I have MANY ms accounts. Like Kuan says, you expect us to log-in every 365 days, yet I don't remember half of my accounts, however, I have VERY important data on ALL of them.
I am a security enthusiast - I know how to prevent such hacks; this is an insult.
Please don't change.
also the article forgets to use subjunctive verbs.
And I agree with Nitin - JUST REQUIRE A PASSWORD WITH EVERY SWITCH.