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Why is Windows 10 Telling Me “There Is a Problem with Your Microsoft Account”?

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Whenever I get to my Windows desktop screen I always get this message in my notifications area that says there is a problem with your Microsoft account — most likely your password was changed. I haven’t changed it any time recently and when I log in to my Microsoft account, it never shows me there is any problem. This is every time I get to the Windows desktop. What is going on with this? Is this a bug on their part? I don’t really use my local account on my computer.

This was a head-scratcher for me when I first encountered it some time ago.

The short answer is that simply logging in to your PC isn’t enough after a password change. You probably have to log in to a couple of additional places: OneDrive, Mail, and perhaps other apps as well.

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One account to rule them all?

Given Microsoft’s near insistence that we use Microsoft accounts to log in to our Windows 10 PCs, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch that they would use the same account for everything else account-related on your PC.

They do and they don’t.

Apparently, successfully logging in to your PC with your Microsoft account isn’t enough to log in to other applications that also use your Microsoft account.

Log in and then log in again somewhere else

Windows 10Not long ago, I changed my Microsoft account password. It went relatively smoothly, but I had to re-log-in to all my PCs if I wanted the Microsoft account connection to remain active for things like Windows Updates. That much makes sense.

Then I started getting this “there’s a problem with your Microsoft account” message, just as you have, even though as far as I could tell, there was no problem at all.

The “trick”, in my case, was to remember that there were two other applications I had used — perhaps only briefly — that also were associated with my Microsoft account.

  • OneDrive – I rely heavily on OneDrive, and sure enough, it had stopped syncing. I needed to open OneDrive properties and re-authenticate my Microsoft account there.
  • Mail – I don’t use the Mail app in Windows 10, but I do have it configured so I can answer questions and test things out. It’s configured to connect with my Hotmail account, which is my Microsoft account. I needed to open account properties and re-authenticate my Microsoft account here as well.

Once I took those two steps (on each of my Windows 10 machines), I stopped getting nagged.

It could be better

I had two simple assumptions:

  • My login account — a Microsoft account — would automatically be used for Microsoft-related services on the PC.
  • If there was a problem with an app’s ability to use the account, the error would at least tell me which app or apps were involved.

Someday, perhaps one or both of those expectations will be met, but right now they’re not.

The bottom line: if you get a warning about your Microsoft account, be sure to check out any apps that use the same account your PC does. It’s likely the issue is there.

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12 comments on “Why is Windows 10 Telling Me “There Is a Problem with Your Microsoft Account”?”

  1. I am dealing with a very similar issue with an HP windows 10 A few weeks ago received the same message. Was then given several options.
    I selected what seemed to be logical ( restore without loosing my files etc. ) As a result, I lost EXCEL and Microsoft WORD and simple printing functions
    I tried to follow other steps but I am not PC savvy I am still lost for how to Revolve
    HELP PLEASE

    • Restore without losing files means that Windows is restored to what is essentially factory state but the user files are retained (My Documents. Pictures, Music etc) but the programs aren’t preserved. There is also an option to reinstall Windows and retain the programs which it appears you didn’t use. If you don’t have a backup to restore form, your recourse now is to reinstall your programs from their installation media (CDs, DVDs or installation files on your computer).

    • Extending Mark’s reply:
      Even when you use “without losing my files” option to restore Windows it does still nuke “traditional” / “desktop” applications like MS Office. You have to re-install them. It is confusing because “Store” applets are not lost.

  2. I have that issue also. I have just learned to ignore it. My computer does not have to be logged into my MS Account at all times as far as I am concerned, as I rarely use the store. There are very few apps that match the functionality of the services I use on the web pages , ie: Netflix. The windows Netflix app is pitiful for functionality in my view.

  3. After installing Windows 10 on one of my computers I succumbed to the Microsoft account login option. It was a bad mistake. During this transition I lost Internet connection. I don’t remember all the details, but because of having no Internet, I could not log into my computer. After having figured out a way to revert to direct login without using my Microsoft account, I configured my other computers the same. I also had problems similar to the one in this article. The bottom line is, I do not use OneDrive because I do not want to deal with Microsoft Messed Up Accounts.

    The other thing, unrelated to some extent, is Windows 10 insistence on the shoved down my throat folders: Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos. I never use them, yet they there are in my face, and cannot get rid of them. I rely on DropBox to contain all of my data including the stuff that some folks put into the above named folders. If I leave anything in these folders, DropBox does not back them up. Yes, I might use OneDrive or Windows History, but it is easier to ignore all the complications due to a Microsoft Account Mess. If some day I divorce myself from DropBox, I will find an alternative, and it will not be OneDrive. DropBox allows me to back up my data on all of my computers without any effort on my part. When I do manual backup on an external drive, I again rely on DropBox to save data shared on all of my computers. OneDrive is a late comer with strings attached that I don’t want to use.

  4. Thanks for this article Leo, it’s good to know I wasn’t alone when I recently had the same message a couple of times on boot up. As I haven’t changed my Microsoft password, and am fairly sure no one else could have, I reasoned it was a bug/mistake.

  5. Thanks for this — appreciate the potential solution, as I have the same problem as the OP. However, I note that in your case (unlike the OP), you *had* changed your password recently. The OP had not, and neither have I; I’ve had the same password for over 2 years. So I would conclude that it’s not just password changes that stimulate this bizarre and unsettling alert. When you haven’t done anything to stimulate it, one fears one system has been hacked and you’re facing a phishing attack.

  6. My husband has a new PC I have his old one.
    We uploaded our files to OneDrive after purchasing the EXTRA 1TB.
    Now I keep getting MS message to re-enter his password so I deleted his acct.
    Now I get: You no longer have an extra 1TB of OneDrive storage.
    Also when opening any MS program I get, “Your subscription has expired”.
    Can you help me please?

    • Probably not much. A Microsoft-account related feature may not be working properly (like OneDrive or maybe Skype) but if you don’t use that feature it probably doesn’t matter. If you do use that feature, you’ll probably already have corrected the problem before getting here.

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