I’m switching to Gmail. How do I close down my Outlook account?

Microsoft has made it relatively easy to deactivate Outlook.com accounts. To do this, users simply need to click on the account settings tab, scroll down and there should be an option to close your account there.

When you click on this, you'll be asked to enter your Outlook.com password and then taken to another screen that asks you to deactivate your account.

For some reason, when IT Pro clicked on the deactive Hotmail account link, we were taken back to the MSN home page. However, if this happens to you, try clicking here instead, as this allowed us to proceed with the termination process.

If you have a change of heart once you've deactivated your account, as long as you log into it again within 365 days, you can reclaim your email address and username.

Unfortunately, your contacts and emails are likely to have been wiped. So, if you do decide to pursue this route, make sure you've backed up everything first.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.