Signing up for an email address

Signing Up

IMPORTANT: for a variety of reasons (expanded on here), we are no longer providing forwarding services. Instead, we can provide POP3 accounts with 50MB quotas. Configuration information is here.

What you’re asking for

To be clear, what you will be requesting is a new email address of the form:


where “alias” is your old Microsoft email alias. What happens to your actual email address is not something we control or influence – my assumption is that it goes away and starts bouncing sometime after you leave.

For example I was leon<at>, and now leon<at> As of this writing email sent to leon<at> bounces.

Why have, then? Many people that know you as “alias<at>” will try “alias<at>” to try to reach you if they know no other way. If you don’t have that set up, that attempt will bounce. I’m told there’s also some sort of cachet to having an email address that says “I used to work at Microsoft”.

How do I sign up?

In brief: first you send us mail, then we confirm your identity, and finally we give you an account.

  • Do not wait until your last day at work to ask for an account! We do this part-time, and are frequently out of town or otherwise occupied. In general we try to service requests within a day or two, it could take up to two weeks. For those of you who left five years ago, I guess you can wait a few more days.
  • Do not apply for an exmsft account if you are not leaving Microsoft. We do not take “advance reservations” for names. Your only competitors are past employees with the same alias, and they get priority until you leave. Then, if the account is vacant, you can have it. If there is no previous employee with your alias, you have no competition for that exmsft alias. Relax.
  • Do not apply for an exmsft account if you have concerns about making your departure public knowledge. We don’t broadcast the information, but we also make no warranty against it being discovered. We will check references if you are contacting us from a non-Microsoft email address.

To get a account, send info <at> the following information. (Your message subject should be something like “I want an exmsft account” to ensure that your account request doesn’t disappear into the pervasive cloud of spam that bedevils all public service accounts. Otherwise, we may never see it.)

  • Your Microsoft email alias. This should be the short 8-characters-or-less version, not the “Easy ID” friendly.alias. And this should not be your nick at or or whatever the latest Microsoft auxiliary domain might be. Just your ID at, please. (All lower case would be appreciated.)
  • Your full name
  • Your employment dates (start and end)
  • Your last assignment
  • References (see following paragraphs)

The closer your message is to the format requested, the faster your request will be handled.

Important: On March 12, 2012 we had a serious server meltdown and at this writing all of the information on the server was lost. If you had an account on the server before the meltdown please say so. If you did not there is a slight chance that your request may at some point collide with with a pre-existing account. If you know that you inherited a previously-used email address at Microsoft it’s possible that your email-predecessor there got here before you as well. If they come back and request their account it’ll be up to the two of you to reconcile the issue. In the case of irreconcilable differences the earlier owner of the Microsoft email address will be given preference.

Try to send this info from your account. If you do, we usually don’t need references. If you have already left Microsoft, we’ll need the email addresses of two or three current full-time Microsoft employees who can vouch for you. Send us a list of 2 or 3 people — please, not a dozen — and format the list so that one of us can paste it into an email message, e.g.,,

You might want to give your a references a heads-up, alerting them that we’ll be contacting them. References don’t always get back to us, and if we don’t hear from them, you don’t get your account.

If you send this from the Microsoft zune or xbox domains, or from your “Easy ID” alias, we may add a confirmation step to ensure that your Microsoft email alias is correct.

Once we’ve created your account, we will notify you via email.

Why do you ask for references?

(Microsoft employees: thank you for your assistance in validating user account requests!)

Because we occasionally receive fraudulent requests for exmsft accounts. While some are laughably transparent, there have been plausible ones as well. And the principals and operators of exmsft almost certainly don’t know you personally. Rather than make some people feel singled out for suspicion, we ask everyone who has already left Microsoft to provide references.

We won’t ask much of your references. For example, if you send us mail from, asking for the address, we will end up asking your references, “Did you work with one Steve Bartowski aka steveb, and if you did, does he today send mail from” Note that we’re not concerned with to where you want your messages forwarded, but rather with from where you sent your request for the account. In other words, this is as much an authentication issue — are “you” who you say you are? — as an endorsement that somebody by your name once worked at Microsoft.

What if I don’t know anybody to serve as references?

Your references must be current full-time employees of Microsoft. No exceptions. We will not accept the names of former employees, even if they have exmsft accounts. Nor do we accept references from vendors, past clients, or the like. And I’m not going to pore over business cards, old pay stubs, Blibbet buttons, MSA memberships, photographs of you sitting in Gordon Letwin’s lap, sincere long-distance telephone calls, or the like… the value of what we’re providing here just doesn’t justify the overhead. I am sorry. If it’s a problem, please take it up with my boss.

If you don’t know the name of even a single person who will vouch for you, then you’ve been away from the company for a very, very long time. (Or perhaps you left recently, but under a titillating cloud of scandal! How intriguing! … naaah.) And after this long, nobody thinks of you as, so they’re not likely to try on a whim. And you don’t personally identify with the company any more: you’ve had many years of other email identities and professional affiliations. To sum, there isn’t much use in an exmsft user id for you. Either way, if despite its uselessness you still want an account here, you will need to find some current references and get back to us.

Please do not give us a list of twenty names and say “I don’t know how many of these folks are still there.” Do your homework, find out who you know is still there, then get back to us.

Do I still need my account with / Gmail / whomever?

Yes, absolutely.

We host only a mailbox of limited size. If it fills up your email will bounce. We recommend using another account to in which to manage your email – for example having a Gmail account that fetches your email using POP3 pickup.

How much does it cost?


For the old-timers with POP accounts or personal web sites we have no set limits on web space, email traffic, or any of the other things that sometimes cost extra. New POP3 accounts have a space quota. However, we reserve the right to suspend any account which is used for Spam, any website which is used in a way that attracts excess traffic, etc. If you need more than ~15MB of disk space, no problem but let us know in advance.

My username’s already taken. Can I have another?

No. I’m sorry that you didn’t get your name.

The only real value of an exmsft account is in helping folks who once knew you as, say, steveb find you at your new mailbox. Nobody’s going to know to mail steveb242_iz_l33t at exmsft. Furthermore, by claiming a username not your own, you take somebody else’s future legitimate exmsft alias.

There are no shortage of other forwarding services out there. Please use one of them instead.

Alternately, you can try to talk the current holder of “your” username into giving it to you. Perhaps they no longer want or use it. Wouldn’t hurt to ask.

(Note that anybody found harassing a current exmsft account user will be permanently blacklisted from this system, even if that account user subsequently agrees to cede his or her account. Be polite!)