How to Change Local Account to Microsoft Account in Windows 8

Ads by Google

windows-8-logo While installing Windows 8 (the preview builds), right before the setup is about to make your PC ready it asks you whether you would like to use a local account or the Microsoft account to administer the computer.

If you choose the Microsoft account, you will have to provide your Windows login credentials, and you would be able to sync all your settings, Metro Apps from the stores and SkyDrive files seamlessly.

Users on local accounts, on the other hand, are treated as second-class citizens and don’t get the online sync facilities which can be very helpful if you have multiple devices running Windows 8 on it, and also if you are looking for a way to sync all your apps and settings automatically.

If you have chosen local account while configuring Windows, it’s not too late. You can easily link your local account to Windows account and enjoy all the perks of online sync and backup through SkyDrive.

Changing Local Account to Windows Account

Step 1: When you are on Windows 8 desktop, open the Charm Bar using the Windows+C hotkey  and click on Change PC Settings  to open the Metro PC Settings.

Change PC Settings

Step 2: In PC Settings navigate to the Users section. If you are connected via a local account you will see your account name in there along with the option button to Switch to Microsoft Account.

PC Settings

Ads by Google

Step 3: The account setup process will initiate and ask you for your Windows account email. You will have to provide the password of your account in the next step along with your phone info. Having done that, Windows 8 will link your local account to your Microsoft account which will be used to control your account in the future.

sign in with MS account

The button Switch to Microsoft Account will now turn into Switch to local account in case you need to switch over to local account in the future. Also, after you start using the Microsoft Account, the password you used in the local account will no longer remain valid, and you will have to use your Microsoft account password to login to Windows in the future.

online account

The Risks Involved

With all these amazing features, the online Microsoft account linking comes with certain risks. We all know that more than 4,50,000 Yahoo accounts were compromised in the recent past and all these login credentials were leaked online.

Well, these types of security outbreaks don’t occur very often but one can’t guarantee that it won’t ever happen to you or Microsoft. It’s the same risk that comes with using any online storage and sync option.

For an in-depth explanation of security risks involved, you should read The hidden danger of Windows 8 Microsoft Accounts by Woody Leonhard from InfoWorld.


Overall, using a Microsoft account is much more user-friendly than using a local account. We are living in the era of cloud computing, and it’s on us whether we choose to accept or deny the freedom. The risk of data getting compromised is always there but it’s certainly less than the level of comfort and convenience that comes along with such cloud services.

Get Guiding Tech articles delivered to your inbox.

We will never share your address. Unsubscribe at any time.

Post a Comment or Discuss at Guiding Tech Forums

Show archived comments (6)

Archived Comments

  1. Annonymous says:

    each time i try to do that it freezes right after i enter my email adress and then it takes me back to the start menu , help please?

  2. raj says:

    change into a microsoft account option is not shown in my pc setting

  3. Zingaro says:

    I’m going in circles trying to sign in from Local Account to Switch to Microsoft Account – I just get and error code. I have tried just about everything suggested. Because of this I cannot use Hotmail, Messenger or Windows 8 App Store. Any ideas?

  4. reema says:

    i cant switch 2 microsoft account………….its not processing further…after askin email address….what should i do

  5. Petty says:

    I would like to use a picture password to sign into Windows 8, because both local account and Microsoft account could be easily recovered by some password cracking tools such as PCUnlocker.

  6. crsmith6196 says:

    info above is not out pf date. Will you advise where to go to have updated info?