After a 6+ month hiatus due to technical issues, Microsoft has re-enabled the ability to rename Microsoft Accounts. Previously, users logging in would be greeted with the message “The email address associated with your Microsoft account can’t be changed [sic]”.
Now, users can go to http://account.live.com, click Rename Account and are greeted with the ability either specify a new e-mail address or pick a new outlook.com, hotmail.com, or live.com address.
I’ve seen several blogs that have “confirmed” that the feature is now working, but I’ve yet to see any official confirmation from Microsoft. I’m guessing that this confirmation they have is taking an account and renaming it themselves. I would feel a lot more confident about this being fixed if there was an update on a Microsoft web site about it.
I’ve also seen several people say that they were still getting the error message when they attempted to rename their account. I also got the error message in Firefox (Windows 8 Professional, 64-bit), but didn’t get the error in IE. Clearing the browser cache in Firefox resolved the issue for me.
Microsoft has an FAQ dealing specifically with issues related to account renames and Outlook.com that I’ve also seen circulating. However, as of when this article was posted, it still says, “Sorry, the rename feature isn’t available right now. We’re working to bring it back as soon as possible.” Ouch.
I’m going to chalk that up to a communications issue between the product team and the content owner of that particular site for now. Microsoft is a large company and that kind of stuff is going to happen from time to time. I’m guessing it will probably be corrected pretty quickly and [hopefully] doesn’t mean anything other than the page needs to be updated now that the problem is fixed.
That said… I’m waiting before I rename my account. Why? First off, as an IT Pro, I’m not a big fan of running out and doing something without some testing first. Microsoft opened up the account rename sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2012 only to pull it back pretty quickly. I saw several mentions of it in the support forums, but I don’t recall seeing any of the moderators address it beyond stating there were still problems with account rename. If the account rename is still having issues, waiting is the best defense in case Microsoft is still having issues.
Second, all of the threads in the support forums where people complained about account rename being broken get pointed back to one specific thread. That thread was last updated February 4, 2013… almost four months ago. You would think this thread would have been updated if a fix was now available. That doesn’t give me great confidence that the issue is fixed.
That said… unless the account rename gets disabled again, the issues have been resolved. Fingers crossed!