There may be times when you want to delete an email account. Account inactivity, too much spam or the need to consolidate multiple accounts are reasons often given for canceling. The process differs depending on your service provider and whether yours is a free or paid account, but here are suggestions for deleting the most common accounts.
Use your username and password to log on to your Google page if you want to delete your Gmail account. Select the "Edit" option for "My Services," and then click "Delete Gmail service" under "Delete a Service." Check the box to confirm the deletion. You'll be asked to supply a new email address to be your username for other Google account services.
Consider what you'll be giving up if you delete your Yahoo! email account. You'll lose access to your My Yahoo! settings, Hotjobs, GeoCities and other Yahoo! services, too. If you still wish to proceed, go to the "Terminating Your Yahoo! Account" page and confirm your decision with your password. If you have any paid services associated with your Yahoo! email account, terminate them separately first so you don't continue to be billed.
Click "Help" on any MSN Hotmail page to delete your Hotmail account. At the search prompt, enter "Close Account." Select the blue highlighted "Close your account" link that appears, and read the terms for deleting an account; depending on your service level (free or paid) you may need to speak with a customer service representative to cancel your account. Confirm "Close" once you have read and accepted the terms.
Be prepared for a complicated process if you want to delete your AOL email service, especially if it is a paid account. You'll need to download and print out a PDF cancellation form from your account page, complete it and fax or snail-mail it to AOL. You can also try calling the AOL customer service cancellation line at 1 (888) 265-8003. In either case, you may have to follow up several times to be sure the billing has been canceled or to convert your paid AOL email to free service.
Most free email account providers discourage deleting your account. Instead, they recommend letting the account stay idle except for occasional usage to prevent spammers from taking over your account address. Contact your individual service provider if it is not covered here or your need more information on how to delete an email account.
Be aware that when you delete an email account, you will lose all information, including address books and archived mail, associated with it. Follow your provider's instructions for backing up or exporting email account information before choosing the "Delete account" option, which is irreversible. Depending on your provider, it will take anywhere from 30 to 90 days for all email account data to be removed after an account is deleted.