How to Sign Up for a Microsoft Account in Windows 10 - dummies

How to Sign Up for a Microsoft Account in Windows 10

By Andy Rathbone

You can sign in to your computer with either a Microsoft account or a Local account. Whether you’re signing in to Windows 10 for the first time, trying to access some apps, or just trying to change a setting, you’ll eventually see a screen similar to the one shown here.

You need a Microsoft account to access many Windows features.
You need a Microsoft account to access many Windows features.

Although a Microsoft account makes Windows much easier to work with, each type of account serves different needs:

  • Local account: This account works fine for people using traditional Windows programs on the Windows desktop. However, Local account holders can’t store files on OneDrive. They also can’t run many of the popular apps now bundled with Windows, including the Mail, People, and Calendar apps. They can’t download apps from the Windows Store, either.

  • Microsoft account: Required to access many of Microsoft’s services, this consists of simply an e-mail address and a password. Microsoft account holders can store files on the Internet with OneDrive, download apps from the Windows Store, and run apps that came bundled with Windows, including the Mail and Calendar app.

You can sign in with a Microsoft account in one of two ways, ranked according to simplicity:

  • Use an existing Microsoft account. If you already have an account with Hotmail, MSN, Xbox Live, Outlook.com, or Windows Messenger, you already have a Microsoft account and password. Type in that e-mail address and password at the screen shown, and then click the Sign In button.

  • Sign up for a new Microsoft account. Click the words Create One!, shown in the figure, and Microsoft takes you to a website where you can create your own Microsoft account. You can use any e-mail address for a Microsoft account. You simply enter that e-mail address, create a new password to go with it, and wham: You’ve created a Microsoft account.

If you’re signing into Windows on your computer for the first time and don’t want a Microsoft account, click the words Skip This Step near the screen’s bottom, left corner. On the next screen, Windows 10 walks you through creating a Local account, which is limited to your own computer.

But until you sign in with a Microsoft account, the nag screen shown will haunt you whenever you try to access a Windows feature that requires a Microsoft account.

When you first sign into your new account, Windows may ask whether you want to find other PCs, devices, and content on your network. If you’re using a home or work network, click the Yes button. (That lets you print to network printers, as well as share files with other networked computers.) If you’re connecting to a public network, perhaps at a hotel, coffee shop, or airport, click the No button.