Use Outlook.com's aliases to hide your true email address from prying eyes

Microsoft’s Outlook.com isn't anywhere near as tweakable as Gmail, but one great thing Outlook.com does offer is email aliases—multiple, independent email addresses belonging to a single account.

Why would you want to use an email alias? You can create a hard-to-guess alias as a password recovery address for your online accounts, making it more difficult for hackers to nab your data through the back door. Creating junk addresses to hand over to websites or apps that force you to register is also a great way to keep your personal email address out of the hands of marketers.

Here’s how to get started.

How to create an alias in Outlook.com

From the Outlook.com inbox, click on the settings cog in the upper right corner and click on More mail settings in the drop down menu.

On the next page, under Managing your account, click on Create an Outlook alias. For security reasons, Microsoft will ask you to sign in to your account again.

Next you’ll be on the alias creation page. Just enter the name of the email address you’d like to use, select whether you’d like the address to be Outlook.com, Hotmail.com, or Live.com, and then click Create an alias. (You probably stand a better chance of getting the address you want with the newer Outlook.com domain.)

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If the address you want isn’t taken, Outlook will take you back to your inbox. You can then choose to have mail from your new alias delivered straight to your inbox or to a separate folder. Once you’ve decided which you prefer, click Done.

A few minutes later, Outlook will drop you an email message telling you that you’re alias is ready for use.

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What do you want to do with mail sent to this alias? (Click to enlarge.)

Once your alias is up and running, you can use it to sign in to your Microsoft account using the same password you always have. You can also use aliases to replace your current Hotmail or Live.com address as the primary identity for your Microsoft account. So instead of automatically signing into your Windows 8 PC or Xbox Live with johnnyappleseed@hotmail.com, you can use johnnyappleseed@outlook.com.

Active aliases will also show up in the Windows 8 modern UI mail client and Outlook.com for Android. So what are you waiting for? Create some aliases to better manage your email.

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