In theory you should be able to treat it as an expired account: don't try to associate it with a new iCloud account, but simply sign in to System Preferences>iCloud with it and enable Mail in the checklist - this ought to enable you to reactivate the address, though its previous contents have been deleted.
However there have been reports of people trying this and getting sent round in circles, so I can't promise this will work. If it doesn't then you can only start over with a new iCloud account and a new @me.com address.
Given Rogers answer, I'm not sure whether I'm interpretting your question differently. Expired mobileme accounts can be used as an Apple ID for some services (FaceTime, store purchases etc) but not iCloud. And to use the ID for an email address, it would need to be changed.
Thanks for those links: the second one makes the theoretical situation clear: if you haven't migrated your your account you can treat it as expired and sign in to System Preferences>iCloud with it to reactivate the address (but not recover the emails previously stored on it).
However if you had both @mac.com and @me.com versions of the address you can only reactivate the @me.com version: the @mac.com one is no longer viable (and it may be this which has been causing problems for some people)
It would be interesting to get confirmation from someone with an unmigrated @me.com address that this actually works,
Though they don't say so in so many words, it would have to be a full iCloud account - there is no 'email only' account. You could alway use an expired MobileMe account's address to sign in, because it's still an Apple ID, even though the address didn't actually work.
So someone who hasn't migrated can open a new iCloud account by signing in and enabling Mail, just the same as with a migrated account; the difference being that (obviously) the account's data can't be brought in because it no longer exists; and the @mac.com version (if there was one) can no longer be used.
' If your MobileMe or .Mac account expired before you signed up for iCloud, you will not be able to send or receive emails with your old mac.com email address (email addresses ending in "mac.com" cannot be restored to iCloud accounts). This also applies to mac.com email aliases.'
which implies that @me.com aliases will still exist and be attached to the account, though again they don't actually confirm this in so many words and we won't know for certain until someone does it (or fails to do it) and tells us.
Winston Churchill wrote:
one of the consequences of the learning difficulties I have
It doesn't show.
The KB articles aren't normally actually incorrect, as far as they go, but they don't fulfill the requirement of a good technical writer and anticipate the sort of questions people are likely to ask. Also their habit of keeping all the articles short and dealing with only a small area tends to make it more difficult to find what you are looking for - the links are usually more or less OK, but the Search facilities are a complete mess. I don't think Apple have ever understood Search, and nowadays even if you use Google it tends to direct you to Apple's search results rather than the required articles: and the search results always have 150 finds, most of them completely irrelevant. Sometime the search terms have even got completely garbled in the process.
Nice idea - I tried it but it doesn't seem to work (at least not for me).
So here are the details in case, you can spot something more I could do....
When MobileMe was live
When iCloud went live (and MM was still alive)
- iCloud account was created based upon AppleID - email@example.com
- iCloud would not create firstname.lastname@example.org as was already in use (by me)
- iCloud would not merge email@example.com as iCloud does not merge
- MobileMe migration to iCloud option was not taken
- Deleted all data out of MobileMe account (mail, calendar, contacts, gallery)
- Deleted MobileMe mail account off of all devices
When MM died
- I received notification that I had not migrated my MM account
- iCloud was happily working as Contacts/Calendar sharer using my AppleID of firstname.lastname@example.org
Weeks later on Mac running 10.8
- System Preference - iCloud, already logged in with AppleID of email@example.com
- Then ticked the untick Mail box
- Long wait with small grey whirling cog box, stating "Loading". Eventually a BLANK message box with OK which then disappeared on a timeout.
- System Preference - Mail... Re-added firstname.lastname@example.org (now picked up as iCloud account)
- Mail - Accounts.... Re-added email@example.com BUT got message "Mail can'y connect to the account..."
- So tried logging into www.icloud.com (using AppleID of firstname.lastname@example.org where my contacts/calendar now reside). Clicked on Mail icon and received "@me.com Address Needed" message
In System Preferences>iCloud you can create a new @me.com address if you want to by checkint 'Mail' (but you can't add your existing @me.com address). So now you need to enable your old MobileMe address (it's a pity you didn't migrate it, you would have saved the following fandango).
Create a new user account on your Mac (it should be an admin account).
In System Preferences>iCloud sign in with your @me.com email address and check 'Mail' in the checklist there. Go to your gmail webmail and send yourself a message to your @me.com address to confirm it works (it may not do so immediately so you may want to leave it for a bit and come back to it).
Once you've got that working you can sign out if you want to. Leave this user account (you can delete it if you want to by there's something to be said for having a spare for test purposes.) Your @me.com address is now an iCloud account.
Now go back to your normal user account. Go to System Preferences>Mail, Contacts & Calendars and add your @me.com address there . It will appear in Mail alongside your other email accounts.
Thanks for the help, I'll try to contact support by phone later.
Unfortunately there is no possibility to fix it from iOS or Windows
But there is another similar case https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4200894?start=0&tstart=0
Where the Sigh-Man wrighed. Same as I have now.