Want to get a brand new Live ID and start fresh with Microsoft? Here’s how you can transfer your account.
Microsoft Live ID (soon to be renamed «Microsoft Account») is the key to everything from Redmond these days. Whether it’s Xbox 360, SkyDrive, Live Mail, Zune Pass, an App Hub account, Messenger, or Windows Phone, your Live ID is the heart.
The question is what if you want to change your Live ID?
Here we don’t mean switching only to the phone, which unfortunately requires a hard reboot (and no, sorry). Instead we are talking about what if you have an old Hotmail.com email account and want a new Live.com account? Perhaps you’re unhappy with your current username, or we like it, you’ve been using your Hotmail account since 2002 as a glorified spam experiment.
We’ll walk you through the process of getting a new Live ID and make sure all your other services are backpropagated to reflect the changes, keeping all your services intact.
Read on after the break for our guide…
For starters, some of you may be wondering why you would want to change your Live ID in the first place. We will explain the reason to you.
We’ve had a Hotmail account since 2002, which predates even Google’s Gmail (introduced in 2004). At one time, Hotmail.com was great for signing up to sites, buying things, etc., but not for your «real» email. Instead, we had our own ISP email accounts, and our Hotmail quickly became our «junk mail» account, which we toss out if you like.
This was a good thing for many years, as Hotmail was pretty weak during much of the 2000s when Gmail caught on. Then a funny thing happened: Windows Phone 7. Suddenly, your Hotmail account became your Live ID account and became the key to use your Windows Phone 7 device. We still didn’t use Hotmail, so we ignored it. And it got more spam.
Now, in 2012, between SkyDrive, Live Mail, Windows Phone Marketplace, App Hub, Messenger, and our growing dislike of all things Google, we’ve decided to ditch Gmail.
This and Hotmail/Live Mail became good. How very good . So we wanted to go back to the Microsoft cloud.
But our Hotmail account was lame She was hacked . It was full of spam, had an outdated Hotmail.com address, and frankly, we just don’t like our username. Our second problem is that Hotmail users can’t change their Live ID in settings (don’t think we haven’t tried).
So we want a new Live ID. We want to start from scratch (not just change our email address).
But what happens to our Xbox 360 account? How about our $15 a month Zune Pass (with free 10 song credit)? Our App Hub account? And those apps… of course you bought the Windows Phone apps, but we spent over $600. Of course, we’re not going to start over and lose it all, are we?
This is our reason and our concern. You can have yours. Whatever it is, let’s move on to getting that switch.
Switching your Live ID
Part I — First, check if you can change your Live ID manually. This will be the easiest way, although we must warn you that original Hotmail accounts cannot do this.
- Go to https://account.live.com and sign in.
- Where your Live ID is listed (first line), select «Change»
- If you are allowed to change it, then you are almost done! No need to continue.
If you are told that you cannot make changes like in the picture above, you have our problem. Keep reading for the fix.
Part II. This is where things get more complicated. According to the Windows Phone FAQ, if you change your Live ID on your phone, you will have to hard reset your phone and you will lose your apps.
More importantly, they note
“If you buy apps, games, music, or videos using the same Windows Live ID, you won’t be able to use the same things with a new Windows Live ID. You will need to buy them or download them again.”
Uch. But all is not lost, and there is a way to change your Live ID, keep accounts and in-app purchases. Just a word of caution: you’ll need an Xbox 360.
First, on your computer, go to www.live.com
- Create a new Live ID account of your choice. We went from Live.com via Hotmail.com
Sign in to your Xbox 360
- Go to Settings -> Account
- Highlight «Your Information»
- Select «Windows Live ID»
- Select Change Windows Live ID.
- Answer «Yes» so you already have a new Windows Live ID
- Follow the instructions to link your Xbox 360 account to your new Live ID
You did it.
What just happened?
For some reason you can’t change your Live ID online, but you can change it on Xbox 360.
More importantly, within the next 30-60 minutes, your Zune Pass will transition to your new account, just like your previous Windows Phone app purchases. Similarly, our App Hub has even moved. Next, you’ll want to sign in to Zune Desktop with your new account.
What comes next, however, is the ugly part: you still need to reboot windows phone . It doesn’t exist, sorry.
After that, enter your new Windows Live ID and you will be able to download previously purchased apps, have licenses for Zune songs, and more.
As far as we can discern, you can only change your Live ID and transfer it to other accounts through Xbox 360. We do not could do it through our Zune account, Windows Phone account and definitely not our Hotmail.com. Account.