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Technologies Review | September 18, 2018

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Windows 8: Local Accounts versus Microsoft Accounts

Windows 8: Local Accounts versus Microsoft Accounts
Gabriel M

Windows 8 requires its users to make a choice that they did not have to do with other versions of the operating system. Right from the beginning, before you log in and see the new interface, you must choose whether you want to connect using a local account or a Microsoft account. Users who do not wish to use the new Windows 8 applications and not benefit from all features of this operating system can choose to stick to a local account, which will give them the same functionality as Windows 7, for example.

But are there any good reasons for switching to a Microsoft account? In this article we will discuss the differences between these two types of accounts, and in what cases it is preferable to use a type of account or another.

What is a local account?

A local account is an account just like any other account that you have ever used to connect to a Windows operating system. It provides access to system resources, using your own user space. You can install desktop applications, change settings, and work with your computer. Although you will not miss the options and features you were used to from the previous versions of the operating system, you will not have access to the new features introduced in Windows 8.

In addition, local accounts only work on a single system. So if you own multiple devices, you have to create separate accounts for each of them.

What is a Microsoft account?

A Microsoft Account is a new concept. If you have ever had an Xbox Live, Windows Live ID, a Hotmail account, Microsoft Passport or other account related to Microsoft products and services, then you already own a Microsoft account. Microsoft accounts give users access to all Microsoft services using the same password.

To log in, instead of a user name, a Microsoft account uses an email address. Although most accounts will be created using an email address from Microsoft, including hotmail.com, live.com or outlook.com, you can use any email address you want to create your account.


Reasons to use a Microsoft account

When you first set up your new Windows 8 computer there are many details to look for. Some of these are customizing your background, changing update settings, changing homehroup and network settings, configuring devices and language settings.

However, with a Microsoft account you will go through this process only once. Once you have configured your computer connected to your Microsoft account, you can connect to any other computer or Windows 8 device with an Internet connection and all your settings will automatically synchronize. Furthermore, you can even sync your passwords for websites, applications and network.

Next, with a Microsoft account you can download Windows 8 apps from Windows Store. You might ask why you need a special account to download application on a computer or device. Eventually there are many free programs on the Internet, available to anyone. While this is true, there is an important difference between the new Windows 8 applications and traditional desktop applications with which we are accustomed.

Windows 8 apps are programs like any apps you’ve downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play. Most of these are relatively small and tend to consume fewer resources. They also run on full screen and cannot be resized. It may take a while to get used to them, but then they turn out to be really useful and fun to use. With a local account, you can browse the store, but if you want to download and install apps, you have to switch to a Microsoft account.