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How to Set Up User Accounts On Your Surface

Unlike competing tablets, your Microsoft Surface lets you create accounts for different users. That lets several people use the same Surface, with all of their information being kept separate from each other.

Separate accounts make it easy to share a Surface among a family, for example. (You can even set up limited-access accounts for children.)

You can set up three types of accounts:

  • Microsoft account: This links your account with Microsoft, letting you download apps and use many of Microsoft’s services. If you own a Surface, you want a Microsoft account.

  • Local account: Local accounts work fine for simple work, letting you browse the web and create files using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and One Note. But you can’t download any apps from the Microsoft Store without typing in a Microsoft account and password, and many of the Surface’s bundled apps also require an account and password.

  • Guest account: This handy temporary account gives you a way to let a friend borrow your tablet for a quick e-mail check without giving them access to any of your files.

To set up a new user account on your Surface (or to convert a Local account to a Microsoft account), follow these steps:

  1. From any screen, fetch the Charms bar and tap Settings.

    Swipe your finger inward from the screen’s right edge and then tap the Settings icon. The Settings pane appears.

  2. Tap the Change PC Settings link.

    The PC Settings page appears.

  3. From the left column, tap Users.

    The PC Setting page’s Users section appears.

  4. Tap Add a User, and when the Add a User page appears, enter the new user’s Microsoft account e-mail address, if they have one.

    If they don’t have a Microsoft account e-mail address, or you don’t know it, tap Sign in Without a Microsoft Account from the page’s bottom. That takes you to a page where you can create a local account. To create a local account, just type in the new user’s name and a simple password.

  5. If you’re creating a Local account for a child, tap the check box labeled Is This a Child’s Account? Turn on Family Safety to Get Reports of Their PC Use.

Whether you create a Microsoft account or a Local account, that account’s name then appears on the Sign On screen the next time you sign out of your account or turn on your Surface.

  • To convert your Local account into a Microsoft account, follow steps 1-3. Then tap the Switch to a Microsoft Account button beneath your local account’s name.

  • To turn on the Guest account, type guest account directly from the Start screen, and then tap Settings from the Search pane along the right. Then tap Turn Guest Account On or Off. When the Manage Accounts window appears, tap the Guest account icon and tap the next page’s Turn On button.

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