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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
This change would be not problem for me if, and only if you added a new feature to Outlook.com.
I need to sync the contacts of my account with the contacts of 2 other Outlook.com accounts (from my family). It is already possible to sync Outlook.com with Twitter contacts, Facebook contacts, Google contacts and even Adeptes Sina Weibo. Why not with Outlook.com contacts ? This is the only feature wich will make me move from Gmail to Outlook.com. Hope Microsoft will ear this !
The is a terrible move on behalf of Microsoft. I have 5 email accounts that run fluidly and are completely organized, each separate to themselves. In setting up the new system, I quickly realized that it will cause a lot of organizational issues I am very unhappy about. First of all is "Sent Messages" will all be together. Something I DO NOT LIKE . Secondly, contacts now have to be imported and then they also will be altogether, another issue I DO NOT LIKE. I am considering switching to gmail now because of this supposed "security" upgrade. Thanks Microsoft for screwing with us.
I switched from Gmail to Outlook.com a few months ago. One of the reasons for making that decision was the ability to easily switch between accounts. Although Outlook.com has some features that are lacking in Gmail, without the ability to easily switch between accounts, those features aren't that important. This is also going to create a problem for me with Bing search; I use one account for that, my public account. So now if I am checking email on my private account, I am going to have to sign out and sign into my public account to do a Bing search. I don't need the inconvenience.
I’m not happy about this. I use an alternate outlook account to provide when I know it will lead to spam. I use the”linked account” login to easily check my alternate account. This change will make that very cumbersome and annoying.
My account is used by few computers in same time and with feature of forward to gmail too. Will "Account linking will soon be discontinue" effect my account
OK, I can see that it's a security risk to allow jumping between accounts without entering a password. But why take away the menu altogether? I don't mind signing into my different accounts, when I change. Please bring the menu back! It made life so much more simple. (Oh, sorry, I just remembered Windows 8. Life is supposed to get more complicated, not easier. Wonder why Apple IOS is doing so well...) ;-)
Way to not listen to your customers, Microsoft!! Thanks for screwing us over!!!!!
We like switching accounts, instead of aliases. We want two separate, distinct entities. For some of us, it means keeping our personal and professional lives separate and more manageable, while still being able to switch from one to the other without effort.
Your failure to take the feedback of your customers and act on it, favoring instead to make your own decision as to what the customer wants, is only hurting your image and reputation. If you don't believe me, think of these two words, "Start Button".
MS needs to come up with a better solution than taking away linked accounts. It's a huge inconvenience and their are security risks to other approaches as well. Surely, you have a team of smart people who could come up with an alternative work-around that would be less detrimental to users. The send-only and alias is not the answer. If I wanted to do that in the first place I would have set it up that way. I will never upgrade to a paid service without the benefit of account linking.
I wouldn't mind using aliases. However, aliases have less functionality. I am forced to use the same name across all of my aliases. If this would change, I would have no issue.
Currently, I have a personal email and one for my internet alias. I don't want to use my real name for my internet alias. It's falling into the deep hole that Google has tried to do.
Also, please look at this comments. All 80 of them are negative.
Copies of sent emails for all accounts go into the one Sent folder. How inefficient is that?
Maybe the government is behind this one too?
btw ... Where's Waldo?
Seriously Eric, you've taken the Lazy option concerning this, or knowing what's going on know bteween MS & the NSA, they are requesting you do this for their benefit. MS/outlook.com could have easly secured this great feature - why would I want to forward my email from one account to the other, they're obviously seperate accounts. Who says everyone wants all email coming into the same inbox - with the need to setup rules etc...
I like bloq_'s comment. 80 comments and they're all negative. I think that's how Microsoft operates. The more people dislike it, the more they want to do it. How do you think we got Windows 8. Only 8% of the people liked it.
I dislike this change immensely! You should offer the option of an alias to people who desire the extra security but keep the linked accounts for those of us who prefer the convenience....that is called customer CHOICE. Linked accounts was a major reason I chose hotmail (outlook) in the first place. I do not appreciate having my choices taken away from me!