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30 comments on “What Does Signing into My Microsoft Account Really Mean in Windows?”

  1. You don’t have to download a version of Minesweeper if you don’t want to. If you have a computer running Windows 7, you can copy the Microsoft Games to your Windows 8/8.1 computer. I had a client who *really* wanted his old Solitaire, and this worked:

    It’s about halfway down the page, under the heading Restoring Desktop Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Other Classic Games.

  2. The nonsense noted about with re: MS 8.whatever is exactly why I’m just going to depart XP for an MS product. It’s ridiculous how much shear crap is required to keep MS OUT of my computing world.

  3. Thanks Leo for a helpful response, as always. Thanks also to Bill Landau for your suggestion of copying the game(s) from my W7 PC. Unfortunately this doesn’t work and they don’t start when double clicked, so I’ll just have to use my W7 PC when the Minesweeper urge overtakes me! Thanks.

  4. Thanks for the very helpful article; your lucid translation of Microsoft’s invariably puzzling and misleading terminology should be required reading for all PC users. In that spirit, I have one minor technical suggestion. References in the article to “Microsoft Store” should be corrected to read “Windows Store”. “Windows Store”, or alternatively just “Store”, is the name given by Microsoft to its online app that users access to select, download, and install so-called tiled apps for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. “Microsoft store” is the name given by Microsoft to the actual, physical stores (i.e. retail establishments) that Microsoft operates, where a customer can purchase Microsoft software, hardware, and support services.

  5. Skydrive on Win8.1 is different from previous versions. It is imbedded in the Win8.1 code and cannot be removed by normal means, however you can turn it off by setting the appropriate Administrative Policy. After turning it off on the local machine you can then drag and drop files to Skydrive storage and retrieve those files by dragging and dropping back to your PC. That is what I have done and it works great for me.

  6. Didn’t Microsoft lose a lawsuit many years ago about IE being tied in so closely with Windows? So how come there is no outcry, no lawsuit over the integration of SkyDrive?

  7. All of the cooments on the Microsoft account are interesting I encountered 8.1 only a few hours ago after the delivery of my new Dell Laptop so far I seem to be bombarded with advertising but having got past that I reluctantly created a Microsoft Account…..why do they want personal details? When I tried to use it the password I created was declared incorrect are they expecting me to give them my email password?

    • Yes. If you will have to punch in your MS password ever time you log into your computer if you log in with a MS account. To use apps like Skype, Netflix, etc. you will have to link those accounts to your MS account. So far I just bypass those Apps pages and go to my Windows 7 like dashboard. It seems with Windows 8.1 if you want anything on their Apps page you will have to provide an MS account. I made up a “fake” one but even then I am creeped out by MS constant demands that I acknowledge & submit to their “privacy policies” which take away my privacy & allow them to gather my info & share it with 3rd parties. Windows 9 will reportedly demand a MS account from the start. Big Data/Big Brother is watching your every move. I fight them every day by making a custom “Incognito Mode” version of Google Chrome as my default web browser. Anything that allows you to keep any form of privacy away from MS is definitely NOT RECOMMENDED!

  8. I basically stopped using One drive (Which I started using on Win7) because of this confusion with what gets synced and what not on Win 8.1. Even-though I have WP8, Windows tablet and Win8.1 on my computer, I don’t want to use Microsoft account on my PC and I don’t want this heavy MS account integration. I simply want client I can use.

    Not sure why they are forcing users into that direction, but make things totally confusing. There is no confusion with other providers.

  9. I rename my account via Microsoft to {email removed}. Can’t remember the password I used and have been trying for the last 24 hours to be able to use my computer. This is very frustrating and whatever you can give me would be appreciative. Thank you. Donna.

    • I am trying to open a mircrosoft account ,I have been trying for the last three days ,why such a simple thing is made difficult has got me tossed. I change the password it rejects it same with password..It comes back as says one is correct, which bloody one is correct? I AM LOST……………….REgards Ross

    • Donna: This is one of my big complaints about switching to a MS account on a Windows 8 machine. There are work-a-rounds, but you’re not probably going to like them.
      1. Use a different admin (local) account login. Create another user account. Use file manager to copy all the user files from the locked account to the new one. Delete the locked account. Don’t have another account? on to …
      2. If you have a good user file backup, skip this step. Otherwise, remove the HD from the machine at attach it to another computer. Copy all the user files to an external HD. Reattach the HD to the original machine.
      3. While booting (or asking to restart from the options on the power button) hold down the key to get to the advanced boot options. Run a Windows ‘Reset’. This wipes out everything, but returns the machine to usefulness. Recommend *not* using a Microsoft account when you are setting up the new login.
      4. Copy your user files from backup or the external HD. Reinstall any programs you want.

  10. Leo: Here’s another one – in the Windows 10 Tech Preview, Microsoft wants you to login to your Microsoft account just to use Cortana. I can understand that MS wants this to be able to personalize the Cortana responses. But sending everything I say to my computer to Microsoft (and I suppose, storing forever) is just creepy.

    • “I suppose” is quite the supposition.

      And interestingly, people have no problem doing the equivalent with Siri, or Google, or any number of similar services.

  11. WTF? So, are you being paid by MS? Are you just lazy? Or is it ignorance? I am an MCSE as well as a software developer. The ONE thing that deserved mentioning, didnt get done….. WHY they do this…. … you put Click that instead. You’ll then be able to login to your Microsoft Account for the application without needing to change how you login to your machine….


    The result is the same, which is why they did it. Of course they would prefer to track from start to finish, but if it can only be “one way”, then thye want STORE doin it…It isn’t that being logged into the MS account is what allows them to track habits for pattern creation, it is that there is ONE, EMAIL LINKED account that they can match it all to… See, the Windows STORE is the one tracking, not the email account. So it doesnt matter if your are using gmail, hotmail, yahoo, an enterprise exchange account, etc etc, doesnt matter AT ALL. The ONLY thing that matters is that they can associate it all to one address. Impossible to do if using local accounts. Impossible to avoid having happen when using email accounts. Dirty tactics.

    If you want to do your readers service, you had better start wising the f up and not turning a blind eye to the most important aspects of MS’s designs and how they are intentionally stifling developer and end user evolution in order to profit more. EVERY move they make, now, just as Google, is designed to appear like a friendly helping hand while actually pulling the ol slight of hand maneuver, deegi tully

  12. Leo,
    I am using MS 10 Pro; so, things may be different then above.
    That being said; if, I sign into my MS account as requested to operate something like Cortana; my system sees it as a different log in. My user accounts show two log-ins for the one account. Once I am in on that log-in I am stuck to it unless I go to accounts and choose the original. For example, if I shut down and reboot for some reason, the system will be looking for the MS account password when it is reactivated. Since, I do not wish to be connected to Microsoft or any one else and I do not wish to use the “CLOUD”; I do not like it. I can be working for hours linked to them. It uses overhead that slows my system down. I am often creating memory intensive 3-D objects; so, I like to run lean.
    Why do I need my MS account to use Cortana? This seems ridiculous to me. It should be optional. I noticed in the set up for it that it used the cloud; but, there should be optional local storage. A lot of us are uncomfortable with having all our info out there on another server that can be attacked.

  13. What if I am not the owner of the computer? What if I want to sell it? How on earth do I remove all my own associations so that the other user never gets any of my records. What if it is a shared computer? I do not want any mix up with other people records.

  14. Ok, I had Hotmail account that is now Outlook. On Hotmail it remembered my email address so all I had to do was enter my password why doesn’t Outlook do the same?

  15. If i log into my Microsoft account when i go into PC settings and then users and all that it says logo into microsoft account will that delete all my files i have on my PC? or will it just give me access to more features?

  16. Idon’t know how I ended up on Windows 8.1 when I was on windows 10 and all this has got me trying to change my password as I am always putting the wrong password it keeps telling me .This is getting darn frustrating !!!! WHY?

  17. I appreciate this article as it was very informative about Microsoft. Reading the issues helped me more than any other about how and what to do. Thanks, for the help. 9

  18. I am lost here. I do not know what a browser is, I only know how to do art on photoshop, paid 650 dollars along time ago to get cs and now I have no time to do my work because everyone is wanting to knw something. you know more than I do so how can I help you.

    • A web browser is a program to access the web. Internet Explorer, Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari are the main browsers.

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