Microsoft has revised its account activity policy and appears to have decided to delete inactive accounts starting this month itself. The revised policy clearly states that users should not keep the account dormant. Moreover, users who do not keep their accounts active and in use, at least on regular intervals, will be tagged as inactive, and the company reserves the right to close all “inactive” Microsoft accounts. Although the amended policy might seem harsh, Microsoft has put in several safeguards and even set in a substantial grace period befor the account will be considered as inactive.

Microsoft appears to have already started the process of investigating which accounts created by users have been lying dormant. The company has just revised its account activity policy and could start informing users of a Microsoft, Live, Outlook, Skype, Xbox, and other platforms about the same. According to the amended policy, accounts that have remained unused for a sufficiently long time will be flagged as inactive, and the company will start deleting the same. The policy comes into effect starting at the end of this month. Hence users who haven’t logged into their Microsoft account for a long time, but still wish to retain the same, should head over to any of the Microsoft’s official websites and login at least once. As is the norm, Microsoft may require the users to go through additional security processes to re-establish the authenticity and identity of the user during the login process.

Microsoft Sets Several Prerequisites To Ensure Only Truly Dormant Or Inactive Accounts Are Eventually Deleted:

The most basic criteria Microsoft will consider while tagging an account inactive will be the complete lack of usage for a long time and that too without intermittent login attempts. In other words, Microsoft will only flag an account inactive if the user hasn’t bothered to log in even once during two years. Microsoft assumes that if the user hasn’t attempted to log in even once during the two-year period, the user probably doesn’t need it.

However, there are several prerequisites that Microsoft has built in to ensure only legitimate dormant accounts that are most likely completely useless for users, are marked inactive and eventually deleted. Following are some of the most important aspects that Microsoft will take into consideration before even considering flagging an account inactive. In other words, these are the multiple rules of exception that will protect the account from being labeled as inactive even if the user hasn’t logged in for an extended period:

Purchases: If an account holder has used the Microsoft account to purchase, or to redeem or access purchase of, a current Microsoft product or service, the Microsoft account will remain active and Microsoft will not close the account due to inactivity. It is important to note that this exception does not apply to gift cards, certifications or subscription-based purchases or services.

Subscriptions: If users have an active Microsoft subscription, the linked account will continue to remain active. In other words, the duration of the subscription will be the primary deciding criteria. After the subscription ends, users must sign in to their Microsoft account at least once in a two-year period to keep the account active.

Xbox Live and other Microsoft accounts will soon be closed after 2 years of inactivity Have you ever made an account for something because you just kind of had to, only to immediately forget about it? If you have a Microsoft account that fits that patt…

— N4G (@N4G) July 13, 2019

Publishing to the Microsoft Store: This criterion applies particularly to developers and app creators. If creators have used their Microsoft account to publish applications or games (including game DLCs) to the Microsoft Store or to register for a Microsoft Partner Center account, the Microsoft account will remain active and Microsoft will not close your account due to inactivity. In other words, developers of an app or game, including game-addons appear to be specifically protected from the audit.

Certifications: If a Microsoft account holder has earned a certification from Microsoft, and the particular account was used to do the same, the company will not flag the account as inactive.

Account Balance: Any unspent or credit balance remaining in the Microsoft account will protect it from being flagged as inactive. This is applicable to credit received from the company itself or from a gift card. However, if the user lives in regions where the local administration considers dormant or unused gift cards as “unclaimed property,” then Microsoft will, according to local law, escheat the unspent balance associated with the Microsoft gift card. Simply put, depending on the local law, Microsoft could reclaim the unused credit balance or consider it as void, and then treat the account as inactive.

(1/2) Hi, Microsoft’s current policy is that a gamertag is released when its associated Microsoft account is inactive for 5 years. Note that if that Microsoft account is signing into other Microsoft services, it would still be considered active.

— Xbox Ambassador Oracle (@XboxAmbOracle) September 26, 2018

Accounts Payable: As long as Microsoft owes some amount to the account holder, it will not be tagged as inactive. In other words, amounts due to the account holder from Microsoft Payment Central should protect the same.

Family Accounts: This condition pertains to parents or guardians who have granted consent to a Microsoft account belonging to a minor. If the primary account of the consent giver is inactive, but the minor’s account is active, Microsoft will not close the same due to inactivity. Incidentally, this privilege is only valid until the minor’s account (a) is deemed inactive and closed by Microsoft, (b) is closed by the user or guardian, or (c) 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: There are some miscellaneous aspects, including compliance to local laws that Microsoft will take into consideration before shuttering the accounts.

Why Should Microsoft Account Holders Login Before The August 30 Deadline And Do So At Regular Intervals?

It is amply clear from the conditions mentioned above that Microsoft wants only the truly inactive accounts to be purged from the system. The several prerequisites directly mean there could be hundreds of thousands of Microsoft accounts that aren’t used or accessed on a regular basis, but the company won’t tag them as inactive. However, as a Microsoft account holder, it is important that users must regularly log in to the same.

that moment when you log into your inactive #Microsoft account from 3 years ago to find out someone had stolen it lol #MineNow

— Kayla | electricangel @ The Swamp (@Electricangelau) April 28, 2017

There have several lapses of judgment by Internet users. Companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and most others regularly warn about not using the same login credentials for multiple accounts, keeping simple passwords, using personal information as a password, etc. Such practices can permit easy access to unauthorized users. Once compromised, the inactive Microsoft account could be used to gain unauthorized entry in other accounts and services as well, cautions Microsoft.