Using multiple email alias with your existing Microsoft ID



Did you know that you can have multiple email alias associated with an existing Microsoft ID (formally Live ID). The first thing that you should do if you receive a new email address, wither corporate or personal, is associate it with your current Microsoft ID.

How many Microsoft ID’s are you currently managing? Do you really have a need for more than one, or was this forced upon you. I just started working with Inmeta Consulting as a freelance consultant and while they gave me an email address I really don’t want to have to create a new Microsoft ID when they add me to their Visual Studio Online account or other live services. They may also provide me with an MSDN account that we all know needs to be assigned to an individual using a Microsoft ID.

There is however hope. Microsoft added the ability to have multiple aliases to a single account to their single-sign-on account service. Indeed you can also switch which email allies is the primary one used for login. This allows you to have one account, or at most, one for business and one for personal. You can even log into the service using any one of the emails that you have associated.

Adding your new email alias to your existing Microsoft ID

In order to add an additional email you need to head over to and select Account Aliases.

Here you can scroll down to the bottom and click ‘Add alias’ to add a new one. I am not sure if there is a limit to what you can have here but I have nine already so the limit would be fairly large.

You can select to create a new email address on ‘’ to add to your list. In this case I am taking the other option to add an existing email address.

Changing the email alias that is used by default on your existing Microsoft ID

Although you can log in with any of the email addresses that you have defined as aliases you may want to change the default. My default, since this account was been created, was always on my domain. It has been more than 15 years since I used a Hotmail address but you can use the same method here with those accounts as well.

We first need to head back to where we go and see the list of aliases available. You will note a ‘make primary’ beside all but your default aliases listed. I want to make my email the default for display as that is the one that I use most often now.

Because this could be a fairly traumatic process you will need to confirm that this is what you want. For all of your services that are liked to live your display name may change.

Once you have accepted the change you should see a message stating that it may take 48 hours to be reflected across all of your services. Remember that this will affect MSDN, VSO, Xbox, Windows Phone, and Windows to name but a few of the services that you use Microsoft ID (formally Live ID) with.

Closing an old account

If you need you can close the love account that you are using. In this case I had previously created an account for a company that had provided me an email address. You will need to ‘close account’ before you can reuse that email.

I have not determined how long it takes to ‘close account’ but so far I can’t reuse the email after 3 days. I raised a support question when I could not reuse it immediately and was told that there is a 90 day cooling off period when deleting an account.


There is now no reason to end up in the multi-account nightmare that many of my colleagues have allowed to happen. You can maintain the minimum you need to get the job done and even switch the primary email.

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