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Create a Microsoft Account for Your Windows 8 Tablet

Microsoft designed Windows 8 around a Microsoft account, which is simply an e-mail address and password. Without a Microsoft account, you can’t install apps, which defeats the purpose of owning a tablet. Although you can log in without a Microsoft account, you’ll definitely want one to make full use of your tablet.

In fact, you may already have a Microsoft account and don’t know it, as all of these addresses qualify:

  • Xbox Live account

  • An e-mail address from,, or

  • Microsoft Passport

If you don’t already have one of these e-mail addresses, Microsoft asks you to create a Microsoft account at the screen similar to the one shown. (Every account holder on your tablet eventually encounters this screen or some variation of it.)


After you’ve jumped through a few more hoops, you’re left at the Windows 8 Start screen.

  • Don’t have a Microsoft account? Then choose Sign Up for a New E-Mail address to create one.

  • Don’t want a Microsoft account? Then choose Sign in Without a Microsoft Account. That lets you create a local account. It lets you use your tablet, but without many of Windows 8’s benefits. You can’t download apps, or use Windows 8’s built-in Mail, People, Messaging, and Calendar apps.

  • Not sure what to do? Create a local account and spend some time poking around your tablet. You can always convert it to a Microsoft account later.

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