How to Prevent Your Microsoft Account From Being Closed After Two Years of Inactivity

There are exceptions to the rule

On August 30, 2019, Microsoft will shorten the possible account inactivity period from five years to two. In our guide, we’ll analyze what it means for the average user and how to avoid sanctions.

Here’s what happened

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On the first day of July 2019, Microsoft updated its policy on account activity. Starting from August 30, 2019, an active account is an account which has been logged in at least once in the last two years.

There’s a theory that the reason for this move is to increase the list of available names for new users who join the service through Xbox Game Pass and xCloud subscription.

What it means

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If Microsoft believes that the account is inactive, the account will be closed. In this case, the user will lose access to Microsoft services and the entire content of the account (info, backups, purchases).

An extract from Microsoft Services Agreement (4-a-iv):

If your Microsoft account is closed (whether by you or us), a few things happen. First, your right to use the Microsoft account to access the Services stops immediately. Second, we’ll delete Data or Your Content associated with your Microsoft account or will otherwise disassociate it from you and your Microsoft account (unless we are required by law to keep it, return it, or transfer it to you or a third party identified by you). You should have a regular backup plan as Microsoft won’t be able to retrieve Your Content or Data once your account is closed. Third, you may lose access to products you’ve acquired.

How to avoid this

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In order not to fall under the sanctions imposed for inactivity, you should log in into your Microsoft account within two years from August 30, 2019. You can check your status at the official website of the company.

In addition, there are exceptions to the rule which allow inactive accounts to stay open after 24 months of inactivity:

  • Purchases – everything you bought for this account (games, software, services) excluding gift cards, certificates and subscription-based services.
  • Subscriptions – active subscriptions on Microsoft services and products. Upon the expiration of the subscription, the account must satisfy activity requirements.
  • Publishing to the Microsoft Store – if the account was used to publish apps, games and add-ons in the Microsoft Store or to register in the Microsoft Partner Center, it won’t be closed due to inactivity.
  • Certifications – an account certified by Microsoft will not be closed due to inactivity.
  • Account Balance – unspent money or other means (gift cards or Microsoft credits).
  • Accounts Payable – the account stays active as long as the company owes you money (for example, amounts due to user in Microsoft Payment Central).
  • Family Accounts – an account used to give consent to register a minor’s account will not be closed due to inactivity. However, sanctions will follow if ‘’the minor’s account (1) is deemed inactive and closed by Microsoft, (2) is closed by you, or (3) transitions into a standard Microsoft account when the minor reaches the requisite age of majority in their region.’’
  • Legal Requirements or as otherwise provided by Microsoft – the company reserves the right to keep the account active ‘’as required by applicable law or regulation, or as otherwise provided by Microsoft to you.’’