Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Setting up a Microsoft account with Windows 8 is probably the easiest way to manage Windows 8. There are several reasons why.

I recently bought a new laptop with Windows 8 preloaded. Yes, I hate it, but I'm willing to try and use it for awhile and see if I can grow to like it. However, I keep being asked to create a Microsoft account. Why? What does it do? Who sees it? Why do I need it? As I understand it, it allows you to retrieve your information across multiple devices: laptop, desktop, tablets, smartphone, which might make sense if I traveled in my job but I don't anymore and I don't need that feature. Yet without creating the account it seems many functions of Windows 8 are blocked. Why? Any workaround?

In this excerpt from Answercast #93 I look at setting up a Microsoft account to enjoy the full functions of with Window 8. There's really no reason not to do it.

Microsoft account with Windows 8

You know, in all honesty, the best workaround is to just give in and create yourself a Windows account.

What that will do is that will create either a Hotmail account, or a Live account, or an Outlook.com account. That will allow you to then basically sidestep the nagging - and it will enable some of those features and functionalities that might be blocked.

Who sees a Microsoft account?

Now, who sees it? Well, it's just Microsoft's servers. They "see"; they will hook into whatever services are associated with that Microsoft account: things like Skydrive and Hotmail and Photosharing, and God only knows what else.

But, the point is, that's what it's all about. It's a way for Microsoft to provide services in Windows that have an online component.

So for example, if you keep your files in Skydrive then you can access them from the web instead of on your PC. Those kinds of things.

Don't need online services

You indicate that you would only really consider that when traveling.

You know what? I find those kinds of services very, very useful even here at home. And that's because I have more than one computer. In fact, it's a very easy way for me to share things with other people without necessarily needing to give them access to my computer.

Remember, pictures that you might upload to Skydrive (or to wherever else Microsoft has you place them) are typically things that can be easily shared with other people - without necessarily needing to make huge attachments to email.

Don't have to use it

So, like I said, I really don't see a huge security risk here. You don't have to use the Microsoft account, after you've created it.

If nothing else, it will, at least, get Windows 8 to stop complaining. Just consider it a throwaway account, if you like, that will enable whatever features that you may end up liking in Windows 8.

If you do, well then, you're all set with your Windows account.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6303 - February 10, 2013 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

7 Comments
Bob
February 11, 2013 6:46 AM

I am thinking of moving forward to Win8, simply because I have a touch-screen laptop in dire need of repair/reformat. I already have a hotmail account, but I don't want my laptop continually 'phoning home' as I do not have a permanent internet connection and have to pay for the data I use.
Can you simply stop the nagging? Or do you have to give it an account to tie up with? Can you stop the data requests, or at least limit them to a time of your choosing?

Daffey
February 12, 2013 8:36 AM

Great, now how do you get rid of it. My friend has it installed/enabled and now it screws up his Email account because he uses hotmail. When he tries to go to his hotmail, it grabs the whole screen and presents ton's of MS junk. Haven't figured how to disable it ~~

Big T
February 12, 2013 10:00 AM

There's something in it for them or they wouldn't do it. I have no use for it myself. I have all my computers networked; I have and use synctoy. I don't "travel". I have NO need of Microsoft creating an account for me. I don't use any cloud storage. I have nothing I need to share with the world. If I did, I bet I could find a social network to use. I consider the Win 8 intrusion/invasion of my privacy. Privacy is nonexistant these days but I say let them work for it, don't just hand it over!

John O'Meara
February 12, 2013 10:01 AM

The requirement for an account is becoming all too common. If you have an Apple device, you must have an iTunes account to do almost anything with it - like download the software updates.

At least Microsoft provides easy to find, relatively clear instructions about its products - Apple seems to think its designs are so intuitive that instructions aren't important

As Leo said, starting an account is a simple solution, and may even have downstream benefits.

Kerry
February 12, 2013 11:34 AM

I tried Win8 with my hotmail accoint when I got my new PC. What a pain in the *ss! Not only do I have to anter my hotmail password when logging onto my PC, but I need to enter it for other things when already connected. I ditched it! THere is an option for you to create a local account on your PC and stop using the Microsoft credentials. I think it's under settings. Creating a local account takes all that pain away.

connie
February 12, 2013 2:56 PM

John and Big T,
You'll also notice that the browser Chrome wants you to make a Google account. All the big guys seem to want them.

James
February 27, 2013 4:46 PM

Big T: "There's something in it for them or they wouldn't do it. ... I don't use any cloud storage. I have nothing I need to share with the world. If I did, I bet I could find a social network to use."

You've answered your own question. Maybe you don't want to share your life with the world, but many people do. That's why there are so many social networking sites.

What's in it for them? Keeping you on their own sites. If it's easy to interact with their own sites, you are more likely to use their sites rather than the competition. That means more eyeballs on their advertising, etc.

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.