This is the kind of policy change that could catch out many people, because it’s perfectly natural to think that once you open an account, it’ll stay open forever. As such, Microsoft should have explained what’s changing more prominently. Its email looks like the kind of bland legal announcement many people instinctively delete. Instead, it should have mentioned the new two-year deadline in the subject line to encourage people to open the email, and stated upfront that OneDrive and Outlook. corn (two of Microsoft’s most popular services) have a shorter deadline.

Microsoft may delete your accounts if you don’t sign into them for two years, following a change to its Services Agreement that applies from 30 August.

Currently, Microsoft waits five years before closing an Inactive” account.

It’s telling users about the change in an email from ‘rnsa@communication. microsoft.com’. It has the subject line ‘Updates to our terms of use’ (see screenshot) and the heading ‘Your Services Agreement made clearer’.

The email says that “if you continue to use our products and services on or after 30 August 2019, you are agreeing to the updated Microsoft Services Agreement”. This means you don’t need to do anything to agree to the new policy – simply signing into your account after 30 August will suffice.

The email contains a link to the full Services Agreement (microsoft.com), but there’s also a summary explaining the key changes at microsoft.com.

In addition, Microsoft has confirmed several exceptions to the new two-year rule. these include accounts that you subscribe to monthly or annually, such as Office 365. These will remain active for as long as you subscribe, regardless of how often you sign in.

Accounts with money in them (which Microsoft calls an “unspent balance”) will also remain active indefinitely. Visit support.microsoft.com for the full list of exceptions. Business accounts such as those for Office and Skype aren’t covered by the Services Agreement.

However, the most important exception Is that for two services – OneDrive and Outlook.com – you have to sign in once every 12 months to keep them active.

Microsoft advises users to check the status of their accounts on its ‘accounts management’ site: login.live.com.

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