Change your email address
Update that clunky old email address you’ve been lumbered with for years, without losing your logins… or friends
Things age fast online. The browser and search engine you drooled over a decade or two ago look rather dated now. But at least they update themselves, unlike the flea-bitten old email address that’s been following you around since 1998.
Few of us had the foresight to futureproof our email addresses and usernames back then. So here we are in 2018, stuck with millstone monikers that represent us (often badly) in all we do online. It’s like having an embarrassing ex in tow, insisting on introducing you whenever you walk into a room.
Well, you’re not stuck with it. You can create a new and improved email address in five minutes, then take your time closing the old one. Here’s how.
Get a new Outlook.com address - without creating a new account
Wanting a new email address doesn’t mean you want to switch providers or create a new account. It just means you want a different set of letters in front of your ‘@’. Microsoft, for all its faults, understands that. So it offers a smart and easy solution: create a new email address (‘alias’), but keep the same Microsoft account and Outlook.com inbox.
You can create as many as 10 aliases every year, and they can include external email addresses (Gmail, Yahoo, ISP default email address, and so on). Messages sent to any of them will arrive in the same Outlook.com inbox.
It’s very quick. Sign in at https:// account.microsoft.com, click ‘Your info’, then ‘Manage your sign-in email or phone number’. If you’ve set up two-factor authentication, you’ll need to confirm it’s you. Click ‘Add email’ on the page that opens, enter the first part of your new email address (the second part is automatically @outlook.com), then click ‘Add alias’.
To add an external email address as an alias, click ‘Add an existing…’ on the ‘Add an alias’ page, enter the address (see screenshot left), click ‘Add alias’, Verify, and then ‘Send email’. Once you’ve verified the address, you won’t need to use the external email service again – all your messages will come to Outlook.com.
Retire your old email address the smart way
Microsoft lets you set any of your aliases as the default (‘primary’). Just click ‘Make primary’ next to it on the ‘Manage how you sign in’ page (see screenshot below). This sets it as the address that appears on your sent emails, and when you sign into
You can now delete the old one if you want, or all of them, by clicking Remove (see screenshot below left). But the smart option is to hang on to them. Use your new primary alias as your new online identity, and let the old ones quietly get on with the job of receiving newsletters and logging you into accounts. They’ll fade into obscurity as you gradually change the online services you use.
Switch to a new Gmail address
Gmail doesn’t let you create multiple email addresses under one account, but it does let you hack one email address into multiple aliases (see box left). It also lets you create multiple accounts, each with a different email address – and then set up automatic forwarding so they all land in one inbox.
To create a new account, click your profile photo at the top right of your Google page, click ‘Add account’, then ‘Create account’. Enter a new email address, plus your name and a password, then click Next. You’re then asked for your phone number and a recovery email (optional) and birthday and gender (not optional, but we won’t tell Google if you fancy being creative). Click Next, then More Options below the T&CS to switch off personalised ads and other irritations. Finally, tick ‘I agree…’, then click Create Account.
To put your new address front and centre, set it as your ‘Send mail as’ address for all your email accounts. Go to Gmail Settings, ‘Account and Import’, then click ‘Add another email address’ next to ‘Send mail as’ (see screenshot above). Enter your new address in the yellow box, verify it, then click ‘make default’. All your emails will appear to originate from it. It’s much the best way to get people familiar with your new address.
For an even more streamlined transition, set up automatic forwarding. Go to Settings in the old Gmail account, click ‘Forwarding and POP/IMAP’, ‘Add a forwarding address’, then enter your new address. Click Next, Proceed, OK.
Clean out your old emails before hackers do
Keeping old email addresses makes life easy, but could make you vulnerable to hacking - especially if you re-use passwords – so it’s a good idea to clear out addresses you no longer use.
To un-link email addresses from your Microsoft account, click Remove on the ‘Manage how you sign in’ page. To lock down old logins and Skype names, click ‘Change sign-in preferences’. In Gmail, go to Settings, ‘Accounts and Import’, then click ‘delete’ next to any address to un-link it from your account.
If you want to shut down an email account, back up your archive first (unless you’re happy to see it disappear). It’s especially easy to do this in Gmail. Go to https://myaccount.google.com then click ‘Control your content’, Create Archive, then Select None. Scroll down and click the Mail slider (see screenshot left), or click the tiny arrow to select certain labels only, then click Next. Change the ‘Delivery method’ if you want (default is email, but you may prefer Google Drive, Dropbox or elsewhere), then click Create Archive.
Don’t forget to change your online logins. Use a password manager such as Lastpass ( www.lastpass.com) to check which email addresses you use for which accounts, and update them easily and securely from a single dashboard.
Set one email address to be your primary online identity - and remove those you don’t use
Create multiple Outlook.com email addresses - or add a new address to the same inbox
Set your new email address as your default ‘Send as’ address in Gmail
Google lets you save your emails before deleting a Gmail account