Know When Your Account Expires

Don't let time run out on your account.

Time running out
Takashi Kitajima / Getty Images

While your Microsoft account needs only to be accessed once every five years to stay active, the company is not as generous with some of the other services, including To keep your free account active, you must log into your inbox at least once in a one-year period. An email account is closed automatically after one full year of inactivity, rendering all the messages and data in your account inaccessible.

How to Avoid Expiration of Your Account

The best way to keep your free account active is simply to log in—certainly more often than yearly, and optimally, at least monthly or quarterly. After all, you should be checking your email periodically for any addresses you have, no matter what service you're using, so you don't miss something important. If need be, set a monthly reminder to log in to your account in whatever calendar program you use.

Your Outlook.Com Account Terms

The terms of service, as outlined in the Microsoft Services Agreement, outline the specifics on account expiration and closure. Because these are subject to change, you should check these every few months by tapping the ? in the top ribbon and selecting Terms.

Backing up Emails

Backing up your messages and settings might sound like a good idea just in case your account expires.

Your free account, however, offers no way to export them into a .pst file, as you can with the paid Outlook email client. Instead, simply forward them to another email address for safekeeping, or save them as text files.

Expiration for Paid Ad-Free Outlook.Com Accounts

If you pay for Ad-free, your account never expires as long as you maintain your yearly paid subscription.

You don't need to log in, but you must continue to ensure your account is paid.

Was this page helpful?