1. tpapictures's Avatar
    Please help me help my father... (That's my face when I think about trying to fix this problem. I'm a bit lost.) This one's gotta go down as one of the worst examples of people overcomplicating things from not understanding how accounts work, which I DO understand can often be very confusing. There is no way to tell this story faster so if you choose to read further, I appreciate it and hope you can understand. It's the kind of computer problem that tech people like me love but I'm just too overwhelmed by it now.

    My dad has spent the last few years opening a MS (live, outlook) account every time he started using a new MS service. That's just the way he thought you did it. I only just found this out. So there is:
    - a Windows Live Messenger @live account fro myears ago
    - a Skype @live account
    - a Windows Phone @outlook account
    - a Windows tablet @live account
    - his Windows laptop @live account.
    ...and this is just MS. He thought they were sign-ins per SERVICE/DEVICE. This doesn't yet touch Google where there are as many. He also used to have a Skype account for each physical place he used Skype (attic, living room, office, etc). ...I know, I know... So can you imagine the poor dude's brain when I ask him, "Dad... what's the account password on your Windows Phone so we can fix some stuff?" He has to think which of those 5 is it in addition to the 100 or so other account passwords he has with banks, etc. To be fair, until Windows10, having one synced MS account never really had any added benefit. I didn't use MS accounts at all on my computers and laptops. It's not like contacts or photos would sync back then anyway.

    Ok... to the question at hand. He's finally agreed to learn how all this account syncing business works. So I want to organise these accounts, see which one has his phone contacts, etc etc. He doesn't have the right passwords on his passwords list. Years of forgetting, resetting it, and not updating his passwords lists has left him with accounts that there are no known passwords for that work. Recovering them from Microsoft requires a verification code followed by questions about your account details to double check for security. Never having put any personal information INTO these accounts, there is nothing to verify with and MS won't let me into any of them at all. If he were to sign out of his Windows Phone by accident right now, there would be no way to get back in. He just got a new phone and in preparation for the nightmare that will be opening his account on the new Windows Phone, I need your help.

    1. Can you merge several MS accounts somehow?
    2. Can you delete MS accounts from existence so they are banished from the universe forever? (this would be wonderful in his case)
    3. Is there no other way to do verification? MS won't reply to me.

    I'll deal with Google after this. For now I need to clean up where the bulk of his time is spent: Windows phone, laptop, and desktop.

    THANK you so much if you made it this far.
    04-05-2016 10:04 AM
  2. TechFreak1's Avatar
    Please help me help my father... (That's my face when I think about trying to fix this problem. I'm a bit lost.) This one's gotta go down as one of the worst examples of people overcomplicating things from not understanding how accounts work, which I DO understand can often be very confusing. There is no way to tell this story faster so if you choose to read further, I appreciate it and hope you can understand. It's the kind of computer problem that tech people like me love but I'm just too overwhelmed by it now.

    My dad has spent the last few years opening a MS (live, outlook) account every time he started using a new MS service. That's just the way he thought you did it. I only just found this out. So there is:
    - a Windows Live Messenger @live account fro myears ago
    - a Skype @live account
    - a Windows Phone @outlook account
    - a Windows tablet @live account
    - his Windows laptop @live account.
    ...and this is just MS. He thought they were sign-ins per SERVICE/DEVICE. This doesn't yet touch Google where there are as many. He also used to have a Skype account for each physical place he used Skype (attic, living room, office, etc). ...I know, I know... So can you imagine the poor dude's brain when I ask him, "Dad... what's the account password on your Windows Phone so we can fix some stuff?" He has to think which of those 5 is it in addition to the 100 or so other account passwords he has with banks, etc. To be fair, until Windows10, having one synced MS account never really had any added benefit. I didn't use MS accounts at all on my computers and laptops. It's not like contacts or photos would sync back then anyway.

    Ok... to the question at hand. He's finally agreed to learn how all this account syncing business works. So I want to organise these accounts, see which one has his phone contacts, etc etc. He doesn't have the right passwords on his passwords list. Years of forgetting, resetting it, and not updating his passwords lists has left him with accounts that there are no known passwords for that work. Recovering them from Microsoft requires a verification code followed by questions about your account details to double check for security. Never having put any personal information INTO these accounts, there is nothing to verify with and MS won't let me into any of them at all. If he were to sign out of his Windows Phone by accident right now, there would be no way to get back in. He just got a new phone and in preparation for the nightmare that will be opening his account on the new Windows Phone, I need your help.

    1. Can you merge several MS accounts somehow?
    2. Can you delete MS accounts from existence so they are banished from the universe forever? (this would be wonderful in his case)
    3. Is there no other way to do verification? MS won't reply to me.

    I'll deal with Google after this. For now I need to clean up where the bulk of his time is spent: Windows phone, laptop, and desktop.

    THANK you so much if you made it this far.

    1) You can make a account into a hub account and have everything connected to that account

    (To access these settings click on the settings cog wheel next to the profile picture - these steps are for outlook.com {most live services connect through this now})
    a) you can set up a forward from his accounts to this one account. Into one Inbox or individual inbox (personalised inbox using rules).

    b)You can import email accounts - this creates an imap4 link between accounts I believe.

    c) add a send and receive account -options -> email accounts

    2) You most likely will need to authenticate the access to the security settings (security and privacy via clicking on the profile image at the top right hand corner) -> account settings -> security and privacy -> at the bottom close my account (again you will most likely need to authenticate this request).

    3) You need use alternate verification methods like your dad's phone number, the attached alternative email, security questions.
    04-05-2016 10:50 AM
  3. tpapictures's Avatar
    3) You need use alternate verification methods like your dad's phone number, the attached alternative email, security questions.
    Thanks for the tips. I appreciate it. But none of the things you've suggested can work. As I mentioned, "Never having put any personal information INTO these accounts, there is nothing to verify with and MS won't let me into any of them at all."
    04-05-2016 11:37 AM
  4. TechFreak1's Avatar
    Thanks for the tips. I appreciate it. But none of the things you've suggested can work. As I mentioned, "Never having put any personal information INTO these accounts, there is nothing to verify with and MS won't let me into any of them at all."
    Well then you're out of luck there unless you or your dad can recall what he has used as security questions or alternative emails etc.
    04-05-2016 11:41 AM
  5. tpapictures's Avatar
    Well then you're out of luck there unless you or your dad can recall what he has used as security questions or alternative emails etc.
    I wish there WERE security questions! That would make it easy. Unfortunately they only ask you to fill in personal info or content from recent emails. Well he doesn't use the account for email nor did he ever put any info in. He ONLY used the account to log into something. Nothing else. But I once imported his contacts to the Windows Phone account, and unfortunately when he couldnt remember the password one day, he created a new one and forgot it. I know... infuriating.
    04-05-2016 11:49 AM
  6. shmsnh's Avatar
    1. To my limited knowledge, it is not possible to merge Microsoft accounts. I've tried.
    2. It is possible to delete a Microsoft account, but you will need the password for it.
    3. No idea.

    If more convenient, might I suggest starting over with a fresh account and registering all your devices with it?
    04-05-2016 10:49 PM
  7. midnightfrolic's Avatar

    1. Can you merge several MS accounts somehow?
    2. Can you delete MS accounts from existence so they are banished from the universe forever? (this would be wonderful in his case)
    3. Is there no other way to do verification? MS won't reply to me.

    I'll deal with Google after this. For now I need to clean up where the bulk of his time is spent: Windows phone, laptop, and desktop.

    THANK you so much if you made it this far.
    1) Not to my knowledge, but you can have email accounts fetch other email accounts. Or forward emails, whichever works best for you. It's best to select one "@outlook.com" account and use that is their one and ONLY Microsoft Account (MSA). Delete the other accounts. Do the same with GMAIL and any other online presence ecosystem they have.

    2) Yes, but you'll need to know that account password. Log in, delete account

    3) No other way really, unless they set up a backup option such as by phone or answer security questions.
    04-06-2016 12:53 AM
  8. tpapictures's Avatar
    Thank you all for your replies.

    First of all, any plan to consolidate several accounts into a hub, importing accounts, etc requires you to be able to actually LOG IN to all those accounts so that's out of the question anyway. Plus, more than 6 months of inactivity has already killed all those accounts. I do like this idea though, of linking send and receive accounts. For years, we've been trying to get him to chuck his AOL account in exchange for something else. With his Windows Phone/laptop/desktop world he is so used to for work and personal, Outlook makes the most sense. But if there were a way to receive his AOL mail via his Outlook account and then reply to AOL mails from Outlook but have it go out with the AOL address... but that's another story.

    In the end I spoke to a MS customer service rep who said, "if you're sending yourself verifications in the form of emails, you're always going to get that form with questions. But if you choose to have a text sent to you instead, that phone verification overrides any need to have you recover via the form. Tell your father a text is coming and have him message you the code that we send, that will get you into his account and then you can change the password all you want the way you would any other time."

    The password was, by the way, what my father expected it to be. We wouldn't have been asked for verification apparently if the password had been wrong. Those other accounts he used years ago are all dead as of 6 months from their last use and with no activity. So nothing to worry about there. But I did take the opportunity to ask, why don't you guys have a simple system in place of using the same kinds of verification questions most other security checks ask (first pet, street you grew up on, etc etc) and he said they think asking your personal info is better. To which I said, well maybe you can pass along the info that I know several computer/tech novices of all ages that will create a login for a device, or a computer account and never do anything more than invent their username and password and that's it. Many of them don't even KNOW you can enter personal info into their "account" because they don't see their username as an account they see it as a bank card pin. It's just what you need to "get in". When that person loses their password you have no way to help them if they haven't added more personal info. They ask you to tell them the people you've emailed and what the subjects were. I'm rather tech savvy if I'm being honest and I had Android phones for 4 years and never ONCE even clicked the create a new email button in my gmail because I simply don't use gmail.

    To my dad and many people like him, Google is "the internet", outlook is "the email on my computer", "Windows" is a computer made Dell, HP, etc, and they have no clue how to get their heads around the fact that Outlook is also an account that logs you into the MS ecosystem online and creates syncing opportunities with your portable Microsoft OS devices, or that the internet actually comes from a service provider and Google is only ONE site for searching information. And aside from the fact that my father in particular should be more organised, MS should make recovering a password easy for people who don't know anything about their ecosystem and only have an outlook account because the Windows phone or Windows laptop they bought asked them to create one when they first opened it.
    ...just my two cents.

    Thanks for everyone's help.
    04-06-2016 04:43 AM
  9. TechFreak1's Avatar
    Thank you all for your replies.

    First of all, any plan to consolidate several accounts into a hub, importing accounts, etc requires you to be able to actually LOG IN to all those accounts so that's out of the question anyway. Plus, more than 6 months of inactivity has already killed all those accounts. I do like this idea though, of linking send and receive accounts. For years, we've been trying to get him to chuck his AOL account in exchange for something else. With his Windows Phone/laptop/desktop world he is so used to for work and personal, Outlook makes the most sense. But if there were a way to receive his AOL mail via his Outlook account and then reply to AOL mails from Outlook but have it go out with the AOL address... but that's another story.

    In the end I spoke to a MS customer service rep who said, "if you're sending yourself verifications in the form of emails, you're always going to get that form with questions. But if you choose to have a text sent to you instead, that phone verification overrides any need to have you recover via the form. Tell your father a text is coming and have him message you the code that we send, that will get you into his account and then you can change the password all you want the way you would any other time."

    The password was, by the way, what my father expected it to be. We wouldn't have been asked for verification apparently if the password had been wrong. Those other accounts he used years ago are all dead as of 6 months from their last use and with no activity. So nothing to worry about there. But I did take the opportunity to ask, why don't you guys have a simple system in place of using the same kinds of verification questions most other security checks ask (first pet, street you grew up on, etc etc) and he said they think asking your personal info is better. To which I said, well maybe you can pass along the info that I know several computer/tech novices of all ages that will create a login for a device, or a computer account and never do anything more than invent their username and password and that's it. Many of them don't even KNOW you can enter personal info into their "account" because they don't see their username as an account they see it as a bank card pin. It's just what you need to "get in". When that person loses their password you have no way to help them if they haven't added more personal info. They ask you to tell them the people you've emailed and what the subjects were. I'm rather tech savvy if I'm being honest and I had Android phones for 4 years and never ONCE even clicked the create a new email button in my gmail because I simply don't use gmail.

    To my dad and many people like him, Google is "the internet", outlook is "the email on my computer", "Windows" is a computer made Dell, HP, etc, and they have no clue how to get their heads around the fact that Outlook is also an account that logs you into the MS ecosystem online and creates syncing opportunities with your portable Microsoft OS devices, or that the internet actually comes from a service provider and Google is only ONE site for searching information. And aside from the fact that my father in particular should be more organised, MS should make recovering a password easy for people who don't know anything about their ecosystem and only have an outlook account because the Windows phone or Windows laptop they bought asked them to create one when they first opened it.
    ...just my two cents.

    Thanks for everyone's help.
    You can have Outlook.com send emails as the AOL address :) - you need to set as the "reply to address" under "Writing emails" and choose the "other" option. You will then need to verify this in the AOL address - sometimes it will shows as etc@outlook.com on behalf of etc@aol.com for the recipient or it may just show etc@aol.com.

    I hear you, I have taught folks like that and it is difficult for them to wrap their heads around when you explain it however when you show them what can be done very slowly, step by step and explain. Then get them to do the actions - They do understand :).

    The Solutionish is to show your dad how to set up an account properly and tell him - to only use that one account and if he wants to create other email addresses he can use alias addresses. Which can go into a specific folder via rules accessible via options (settings wheel on the top right hand corner). For security purposes make sure he can only sign in via the primary address or you can enable another alias which you can take note off as a fail safe.
    You will need to go Alias: manage or choose primary under managing your account then at the bottom choose change sign-in preferences.

    Also if the accounts are dead from 6 months of non useage they can be revived onetime via an alternative email or text authentication. If you need screenshots etc, let me know I'll add them :).
    tpapictures likes this.
    04-06-2016 08:49 AM
  10. midnightfrolic's Avatar
    You can have Outlook.com send emails as the AOL address :) - you need to set as the "reply to address" under "Writing emails" and choose the "other" option. You will then need to verify this in the AOL address - sometimes it will shows as etc@outlook.com on behalf of etc@aol.com for the recipient or it may just show etc@aol.com.

    I hear you, I have taught folks like that and it is difficult for them to wrap their heads around when you explain it however when you show them what can be done very slowly, step by step and explain. Then get them to do the actions - They do understand :).

    The Solutionish is to show your dad how to set up an account properly and tell him - to only use that one account and if he wants to create other email addresses he can use alias addresses. Which can go into a specific folder via rules accessible via options (settings wheel on the top right hand corner). For security purposes make sure he can only sign in via the primary address or you can enable another alias which you can take note off as a fail safe.
    You will need to go Alias: manage or choose primary under managing your account then at the bottom choose change sign-in preferences.

    Also if the accounts are dead from 6 months of non useage they can be revived onetime via an alternative email or text authentication. If you need screenshots etc, let me know I'll add them :).

    Careful when using aliases. If you used one of those aliases to purchase apps, it is tied to the alias, not the main MS account. Happened to me with dozens of apps.

    Any apps you pay to remove ads are also tied to specific aliases also.

    Best not to use any aliases for peeps like him. It will cause them to run into the same issues they are avoiding.
    04-06-2016 10:19 AM
  11. TechFreak1's Avatar
    Careful when using aliases. If you used one of those aliases to purchase apps, it is tied to the alias, not the main MS account. Happened to me with dozens of apps.

    Any apps you pay to remove ads are also tied to specific aliases also.

    Best not to use any aliases for peeps like him. It will cause them to run into the same issues they are avoiding.
    True, The aliases were suggested in case he wants to have separate email addresses for various locations :).
    04-06-2016 10:25 AM

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