Chapter 7: User accounts and account settings

It's important to note that you can log in to Windows 8 either as a local user, or with an online Microsoft account. If you use a Microsoft account, then you will be able to share many of your settings, such as your Lock Screen picture, user account picture, Favourites and Desktop background, across any other Windows 8 computers that you log into using your Microsoft account. If you use a local account to log in to your computer, then you will only have access to the local settings that you have configured for that particular computer.

A Microsoft account is a new type of account, but if you already have a Hotmail account or a Windows Live ID, then you can use that account to log in to your computer and that will become your Microsoft account. The Microsoft account facilitates access to other services as well, such as Xbox Live, Outlook (the new name for Hotmail) and SkyDrive, which is Microsoft's new cloud storage service.

The first time you boot up a Windows 8 computer, you will be asked to log in. Don't worry if you don't already have a Microsoft account. You will be able to create one very easily, as long as your computer has an active Internet connection.

With a Microsoft account, more user settings can be managed online, including your password and security features, and you can also add connections to your Twitter, Facebook and Gmail accounts, which will then allow you to have all of your contacts in one place. These contacts will show up in the 'People' app on the Start screen and, for example, you'll be able to read Twitter updates and statuses through this app.

Another thing that having a Microsoft account allows you to do is access the Microsoft Store. It is from this store that you can download new apps for your Windows 8 computer. Microsoft keeps a library of all the apps that you have downloaded in your account, and when you use another computer you are able to bring up this library and install any apps that you may need on your new computer. This only applies to apps that you have downloaded from the Microsoft Store, not apps that you may have downloaded through a Web browser or installed off a disc.

Proudly sponsored by Trend Micro

Previous chapter: Networking

Next chapter: What are Windows 8 apps and where do I get them?

Go back to the index

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Elias Plastiras
Show Comments


Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >


Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >


HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >


Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?