How to add or remove an email account

Last reviewed on January 25, 2013   —  31 comments

We hear from a lot of users who receive the following error when they open Outlook for the first time after upgrading Outlook. (This frequently happens when using Easy Transfer to move the accounts to a new computer.)

“The connection to Microsoft Exchange is unavailable. Outlook must be online or connected to complete this action. “‪

Sometimes they mistakenly created the wrong account type; other times Outlook upgrades an older profile and gets it wrong. (Let Outlook’s autodiscover create the email account automatically and it will create the recommended account type for your email domain.)

How can I remove Microsoft Exchange from my setup of my emails.  I can’t seem to remove it or change to an alternative.  The mail icon in the control panel does not exist. I can’t seem to locate the problem to change it…I’ve tried everything.

When you have the wrong type of account configured in Outlook you can easily remove the account and create the correct type of account. Because Windows groups the control panel applets, we recommend using search to find the Mail applet, instead of browsing for it.

  1. Go to Control Panel, search for Mail. If you use 64-bit Windows and 32-bit Outlook, it will be named “Mail (32-bit)”
  2. Double click on Mail (or Mail (32-bit)).
  3. Click Email account button
  4. Set up mail accounts

  5. Select the wrong account and click Remove. (If you only have one account listed in your profile, you may need to create a New account first (Step 5), set it as default then remove the wrong account.)
  6. Remove Account

  7. Click New, select Email Account for POP3 or IMAP accounts, or select Other then the correct account type.
  8. Add new account

  9. Fill in your preferred display name, email address and password on the Add New Account dialog.
  10. Use autosetup to create the account

  11. Outlook will look for published account configuration for the domain and setup the account automatically.

In the event your email provider does not publish autodiscover information, you’ll need to set up the account yourself. Check your mail providers support site for the proper configuration then check the box to Manually configure the account at the bottom of the Add New Account dialog. (#2 in the screenshot above)

How to Remove and Recreate Accounts Tutorial:

About Diane Poremsky

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlook forums by

31 responses to “How to add or remove an email account”

  1. Mike

    Thanks you for the information, it fixed the problem.

  2. Mathieu Hyatt

    OUTSTANDING!!!!!!! Simple instructions that work and wihout paying the rediculous $50 that Microsoft wants to charge to answer your questions.

    Thank you.

  3. lynde hartman

    thank you so much for this info!!! your direction were easy to follow & fixed the problem! yea!!

  4. Joana Angel

    Thank you very much.... This information was really helpfull and precious to me, since nobody in the office did not know how to create an account on outlook

  5. Dixit

    Superb !!!

  6. Carla

    I am trying to add a new (POP3) mail account and have an existing Exchange account that is no longer valid. When I try to delete the Exchange account, it keeps saying it cannot be deleted because a file is in use. Any ideas?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Did you add the POP3 account already? And add a pst to deliver the email to? Also, if you want to keep any of the Exchange account appointments, contacts, or email, you should export it to a pst. You can then use the exported pst as the pst for the new account.

  7. Kelly S.

    Thank you Dianne!!! That was exactly what I needed. This has been so frustrating because I can't even sync my iphone since the change to outlook. This took just a few minutes. Thank you for saving my the $150 the online help people wanted charge.

  8. powergate77

    Hello Diane, What is a pst or exchange account. I keep getting that in my error message, and don't know what it is. Please help!

    1. Diane Poremsky

      A pst is a Personal Folders file - this is the data file Outlook uses for POP3 email, for archives etc. Exchange account is an exchange server mailbox.

      What is the exact error message?

  9. Nancy Lewis

    I am trying to get my email account back to Outlook. I moved the host from ATT to Network Solutions. The email only shows up as webmail now. I have deleted and recreated the email settings, but it still won't go to outlook. What to do?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      What type of email account are you using? Did you delete the att account from your profile and start over with a new account?

  10. Nancy Lewis

    Thanx for responding. I deleted the original email profile and then reinstalled it. It took four tries to get it to take, but I am now going through a couple hundred old emails.

  11. rania

    i get that same error but i cant even open outlook to go to the control panel? help :(

    1. Diane Poremsky
  12. beth

    Sorry, but none of this makes sense. Why do I have to re-create a new email, why do I have to make a data file to save my email data? and further more I am not fluent in IT language.
    I have tried this five times and am getting annoyed. I just want to sync my personal email with the thing and start using it, not spend hours trying to just get it started and I don't want to create a new email.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Those instructions are targeting a specific situation that affects many people when they upgrade from an older Outlook to Outlook 2010 or 2013 and may not apply to your situation.

      What type of email account are you using? Did you already have an Outlook profile set up? What happens if you add your account to Outlook?

  13. C.Kosmoski

    I'm trying to remove the favorites and the prior profile I had on the main screen when I just open Outlook 2010?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Open Control panel, search for Mail. Open the Mail applet, click Profiles then delete the current profile.

  14. Venkat

    I mistakenly setup exchange server and I struggled for couple of hours before I saw these instructions. These instructions worked. :)
    Thanks! a bunch Diane

  15. Willie Redmond

    Hello, it seems that most here "do not" have an exchange account that they are trying to add. However, I do have one. I am getting the same messages as they did. I was able to start over (as suggested above) and add my hotmail account, but I am still getting the same message when I try to add my exchange account. It tells me ...

    "the connection to microsoft exchange is unavailable"... and

    "problem connecting to server"

    It first tries to automatically add... then it prompts me to manually add... but nothing works.

    Thanks in advance!

  16. DON E. STOTT

    I am unable to use my word to write a simple letter. I am informed that "your office 365 has expired" though controlling my word. Please disable the program so I can return to the former. This "blocking" by office 365 is extremely frustrating.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      If the expired notice comes up when your subscription is still valid, try signing back in, in File, Accounts (or File, Office accounts in Outlook). If it has expired, you'll need to re-subscribe - the subscriptions are valid for one year. You can log into using your Microsoft account at to check.

  17. Yota

    Hi Diane, I tried to follow the instructions. When I click on Mail, the file does not open. What can I do now?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Do you get any error messages? The profile may be corrupt - to fix it you need to delete the profile key from the registry. Which version of Outlook do you use? In Outlook 2010 and older, the key is in a different location than in Outlook 2013.

  18. Sion Mwatukange

    Helpful information solved the problem. Thanks guys

  19. Anthony Johnson

    After a day of reading rubbish about reg removal this was perfect!

  20. KK

    Thanks alot the above solution has worked for me....good job!!!!!!

  21. Tom E

    When adding a new email account it cannot log on to server How can I fix this?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      What type of email account? Does it give you any more information?

  22. soldiersraywanda

    Thank you so much! I have been struggling with this for months and I can FINALLY use my email address to send my attachments, etc. I truly appreciate the help!!!

Leave a Reply

If the Post Comment button disappears, press your Tab key.

This site uses XenWord.