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Microsoft to kill Outlook.com linked accounts; aliases are the new cool

Outlook.com

Today Microsoft announced that they would be killing the option for users to link multiple email accounts together in Outlook. As a replacement to linked accounts, the company will be promoting their alias system – “a more robust and secure way of managing multiple email address.”

Microsoft states that the change is being made in an attempt to unify a consumer’s digital identity. As of now, your account can be a connection to your Windows machines, Xbox, Office, and more. The new system will tie together multiple email addresses without the need to manage separate accounts.

Outlook.com

The system is also being touted as more secure. With linked accounts, one person can easily switch between email addresses without the need of a password – good for you, bad for those who are trying to do you harm.

To smooth the transition between linked accounts and new aliases, Microsoft has added Mail Forwarding and “Send email from another account”. If you currently have a linked account, just sit back – the company will be sending out an email in the next few days with instructions.

How is everyone enjoying the Outlook service – any personal gripes?

Source: Outlook Blog

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Reader comments

Microsoft to kill Outlook.com linked accounts; aliases are the new cool

87 Comments

I can' find it either, then I have no choice but to add another account with the alias address to the email. only for sending an email, and do not ever link it with your primary address.

Go to accounts and add new outlook account but this time login with your alias. That should work?

Thanks.
I've resorted to browsing to outlook.com and switching to the "pc site" version which allows you to pick the from alias.

I wish they let you create more aliases.

Anyone know if they have the 5 alias limit if you're using the Outlook for Domains service?

Go to accounts and add new outlook account but this time login with your alias. That should work?

On your Windows Phone you can have one primary account (eg, the one that is linked to the store, integrated SkyDrive, Office, etc), and up to 9 additional Live accounts that sync Email, Contacts, Calendar and Tasks. Not aliases, mind you, but full accounts. Source: I currently have multiple, and I also used to train Windows Phone at Nokia.

I have a problem with sending from my outlook.com alias via wp8, hopefully someone can help me here. Sending from my outlook.com alias always sends from a custom email along the lines of "hotmailxxxxxx@live.com on behalf of xxx@gmail.com" I have also tried sending emails from my MS account, but it can only send emails from my gmail account.

 You can remove the on behalf of by going to settings on Outlook.com. edit your email accounts and you should see the option to remove that tag. As far as sending email from your phone, you have to have live enabled on you phone. Then go into email settings on your phone and check sync email. That is the only way to get outlook mobile to work. You don't have to go through the same thing that you had to for gmail on Windows 8. 

I have tried absolutely everything I can think of and it won't work. Yes, you can add an alias to your windows phone mail using the same password. But the mail always appears to come from the main account, so it's not doing anything at all.

I have tried absolutely everything I can think of and it won't work. Yes, you can add an alias to your windows phone mail using the same password. But the mail always appears to come from the main account, so it's not doing anything at all.

This question has already been answered, but here comes the justification: It is currently not possible to send from an alias via an external client, which WP is in this case, for security reasons, whereby your alias can only be accessed via direct access. Hopefully this will be possible via specific encryption in the future though.

I do not know how to send from an choose between aliases on the device, but if you want it to always come from one alias, go to Outlook.com and set the default from email address to be the one you want. If you want to switch, you will need to go back into Outlook.com and switch it.

+1 This. I finally decided yesterday to switch my primary email address to a new one attached to my Microsoft Account. Instead of spending the day renaming my account and resetting my phone, all I had to do is make a new alias and change the "default" alias in the Outlook.com settings. While I would probably prefer a way to switch around in the phone mail client, this process is really simple and smooth.

I recently moved all the email management for my custom domain to Outlook. They give you fifty accounts with unlimited space for free, and it works fantastic. Can't recommend highly enough... only issue is importing old email is quite limited... but I was able to work around it in various ways depending on my users.

Do you know if it's possible to sync contacts between multiple accounts? I have numerous domains that I want to move over but I need to be able to share a single set of contacts between them.

I don't think you can sysc contacts from multiple accounts.  You'll have to import each set of contacts into your Outlook.com account Contacts.  That's how I did it.

I'm liking Outlook, but my main email is an AOL (I've had it for over a decade) and its the email I use as my xbox/microsoft account.
... So does this mean I won't be able get my emails through Outlook anymore? And what is the difference between "forward emails from" and linked accounts? I is confuse.

Description from Alias settings:
Account aliases

Microsoft account lets you use a single account for many email addresses—whether it's the address you use on your resume or with your old high school pals. Each of these is called an alias, and you can use any of them to sign in.
Your account's primary alias appears on Microsoft devices, such as the Windows 8 PC, Xbox, or phone. While you can change it, the best option for most people is to simply add a new alias

 

I'm so glad I snagged some good aliases back when they were first announced. No more unecessary numbers or symbols in my email!

“Send email from another account”
Will this be possible on WP? I have been waiting for this to finally remove my gmail account from being checked on my WP.

This can be done now using the external SMTP server. The only issue I have with it is you can't control how often outlook.com grabs the email from your other account. And you can't tell it NOT to grab from the other account so you could do an immediate forward from there.

Maybe I am not explaining what I want. On your WP, create a new email. Where do you change the from address?

It will allow you to change the from address if you have more than one account set up on the phone. You can set up the secondary account using the alias email and your standard password.

Can't do it with aliases still. The emails will appear to be sent from the primary, no matter how you're logged in

It will come from the "Default From Address" set up in Outlook.com. This can be different from your primary.

So will this end the use of having to input "@outlook.com" when signing in? Only thing thats kinda annoying switching from gmail where thats not needed.

Will there be an option to merge accounts?  I have my personal and professional accounts, with my MSDN account attached to my professional account.  Would love to consolidate down to just a single account.

I asked this in the past and was told no. I wanted to migrate everything from an old hotmail.co.uk account (xbox info, connect beta stuff, etc) to a new account on my own domain using domains.live.com. I was told there was no way to merge data in two accounts. That was a year ago though, maybe its change.

If you want to merge or 'migrate' mail from one account to another, pick up the Hotmail connector for Office 2010/2007 (2013 doesn't work currently), and then you can simply move the messages/contacts/etc from one account to the other by dragging and dropping inside Office Outlook on your PC.
 
This is also the best way to take 'old' email from your PC and upload it to your mail account so that everything is available and searchable on your phone or via Outlook.com.  (I have emails going back to the 1990s, and they are all instantly available on my phone.)
 
 

I'd love to see an option to merge accounts. I ended up doing the linking thing only because there was no merge option.

THIS! This is exactly why I linked my accounts in the first place. Microsoft, give us the merge option please! If you got the power to shut down botnet servers, merging accounts shouldn't be that impossible.

According to the original post on the outlook.com blog, this actually could happen in the very near future. In fact, I imagine that's the plan: merge accounts so they can be managed inside one space instead of linking them.

Last time i checked, imported domains using domains.live.com didn't have the ability to create aliases, so this news sucks. I own the domain... How hard would it be to let me create an alias through the domains.live.com console?

Unless Windows Phone now allows you to use an Outlook.com address as your default email account then I don't like this at all. I tried to consolidate everything from my old emails onto a fresh outlook.com account when I got my Lumia 920, but it wouldn't let me use it as the default account when I signed into my Windows Phone for the first time. If they get rid of linked accounts, I'll have to use each account seperately when checking them on my computer and that's just annoying.

An Outlook.com address is a Microsoft ID, so I don't see why it wouldn't work. My Microsoft ID is a personal domain (I signed up using an existing email address via the still-active passport.com) and I have no issues using it as a Microsoft ID on any service -- Xbox, Phone, Windows 8, Outlook.com, etc.

This is a BS change, Microsoft first needs to sort out its alias support in all products such as Office Outlook, WP, etc... as it stands now the aliases feature is quite useless since you can only access it when you log in through a browser (and I think I heard you can do it in win8 mail app, but dont care about that on win7).
 

100% agreed. It's annoying that I can't alias my Outlook.com account to my Hotmail account. Microsoft's account management has always been kind fo a clusterfuck.

I was wondering why they killed every single link through my account a few weeks ago.

I understand what they are trying to do, but aliases don't help with existing emails. Sure, I can forward, but that's when I start sending "on behalf of" emails to everyone. Oh, I'm also maxed out on aliases for however long I have to wait. I don't have 5... It sucks that deleting an alias doesn't remove it from your max count of aliases created in that length of time

I wish I could just merge some accounts. The account I use for Xbox and windows phone and everything is Gmail, but if I rename that, it has to be to a new account, not an existing one. I want to consolidate accounts but can't. Linking was my closest way to do so. And I'm not deleting my email for 270 days to try and snag in when it comes available agaon

I believe the post explains that they are working on a solution for that to migrate addresses over from other accounts.

What I love is how everything syncs so well. I just log in to outlook where I have People, Skydrive, Calendar and my mail. Now, what makes it even better:  The option of connecting to facebook, twitter, google etc etc. But best of all is creating Office documents in Skydrive that I can so easily sync to my phone. Saved me hours of work and it looks great too! I have my primary mail, which is a gmail as my microsoft account and as a forwarding/sending account. So I have all that I need by just logging in to outlook. I love it and the design is solid just like most of their recent products. Huge improvement from hotmail if you ask me. :)

Well, this sucks.
Besides my legacy '.MSN.com' email account, I also use linked gmail accounts for professional purposes (one for work, one for resumes). So I can't use the same addresses via the new Outlook now?

My experience of the new outlook web platform is very temperamental. It only loads on IE8 if using the 64mb version of IE. Earlier versions do not load correctly. It simply is not good enough for a leading email service to not load cleanly, quickly and efficiently on all browsers. The damning thing is that hotmail loaded fast and easily on ALL browsers I ever used, so it feels as if MS are not providing all the support that outlook should have as standard. Also, outlook is too easily confused with the MS Office email programme which is not the same thing. All in all more attention and support is required to fix these issues and ensure this becomes a more desirable email service.

Come on. What are you talking about. "ie8 64 Mb version". You mean "64 bit". 64/32 bit versions of IE have nothing todo with loading correctly. If you don't use a browser that supports html5, you will get the "light" version. So your comment "simply not good enough...on all browsers" makes no sense. No excuse to not upgrade to the latest browser of your choice unless you are limited by group policies (work place). Who is confusing outlook.com with Outlook?

Sounds like you have a bad plugin or ActiveX component installed. Have you tried the No Add-Ons shortcut for IE? I can say from experience on different versions of Windows with different versions of IE, that Outlook.com works far better in IE10 than it does in 8 and 9.

I think everything works great on windows phone 8 except for one major thing. I don't receive notifications of when mail comes into my alias account. Whenever you configure your mail to arrive into a new folder for an alias, you get no notifications. Plus, when you open email on outlook mobile, you see only the live mail, which is fine. But I have to select folder in order to see my alias folders. That's the only way I know that mail has arrived. Very frustrating! 

Hmmm. Not sure how I feel about this. How will this impact SkyDrive storage if I have linked accounts today with 25GB or more on every account? I guess it will all consolidate under my primary account?

I love Outlook.com. I never thought I'd like web-based e-mail well enough to be willing to move away from thick client e-mail, but Outlook.com has done it for me. I don't have linked accounts, so this doesn't affect me. I do have several different outlook.com e-mail addresses that are not linked, and I just have a separate tile for each on my Windows Phone.
One painful thing about multiple unlinked accounts - you can't really log in to multiple Outlook.com accounts from different tabs of IE. Logging in to a different account in a different tab messes up the first tab.
Also, if you are using web-based mail exclusively, there is nothing for the Send To function in applications to do. They will not find outlook.com. So that's a little strange.

Outlook.com has been working well for me except for a weird bug where it usually reloads the whole page like 10-20 seconds after logging in.  Really distracting and interrupts whatever I was doing.  There's a thread of other people experiencing this problem on MS' support forum but the only responses have been from community moderator type people with useless suggestions.  No real interest from MS in reproducing it themselves or fixing it.  Sad but typical.

I moved my email to Office 365, my live account email address uses my personal domain name (its not at live.com), I can't access my outlook.com email ever since the change to outlook.com. It been like this for 6 months.

Fortunately I only use that account for testing, and not alone with this problem. Calendar, people and SkyDrive work, and I can see I have 6 emails, but I can't get to them.

I didn't know I could move my domain to outlook.com, I couldn't originally, but closing my office 365 account would solve my problem.

FYI   -  During the sorting out of managing multiple accounts and support on sending emails from these accounts before the 'client' is updated to handle the functionality, you can easily use Outlook.com via your browser for sending email from your alternative accounts easily.   The Windows 8 'desktop' App current supports the features of sending from various linking/alias accounts, and hopefully the next WP8 client will handle this as well more elegantly.
 
Outlook.com in both desktop and mobile view on your WP8 phone works flawlessly, and having more functionality is more than just an alternative to the inherent built in Mail App.
 
 
So continue to receive your various alias emails on your phone, and if you need to create and send something specifically from one of your various acccounts, just use Outlook.com in your phone browser.
 
(There are tricks to make the sending from the various email addresses work on WP8's mail client as well, but are not as apparent or simple as just opening the browser.)

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.

I am desperately trying to get my 2 email accounts linked again, one is hotmail.com the other is live.com.  But when I go to add the alias it says the live.com address already exists.....of course it does, it's mine!  What am I doing wrong?  Keep in mine I'm a very computer challenged when it comes to computers!!!  Simple instructions please! ;)

I've never had to logout and back in again so much!  Please bring back the linked accounts feature!  Using Aliases is a huge pain!!!!  I have three account through microsoft live/hotmail and it used to be a breeze to switch between but now it's a huge pain!