Windows 10: Local Accounts vs. Microsoft Accounts

By | February 16, 2019
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Windows 10: Local Accounts vs. Microsoft Accounts

What is a Local Account?

If you’ve ever signed into a Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer, then you’ve already used a local account.

A local account is just a name for an account you use to access your computer. Local accounts work only on one computer.

Benefits of using a local account:

More secure: Each local account has its own password.

Private:  Nothing is automatically stored on Microsoft servers.

No Internet connection required . You don’t need to be connected to the Internet to log in to your PC.

You can use whatever log in name you want: You’re not restricted do a Microsoft account address.

Bypass the Password: You can bypass the password screen: If you’re using a local account you can choose to bypass the login screen and log in to Windows without a password. (NOT RECOMMENDED.)

A local account is what you used on Windows 7, Windows XP, and Windows Vista. You’ll be able to log in, change your settings, install software, and keep your user account separate from others user accounts on the computer.

Disadvantages of using a Local Account on Windows 10

Lost your password? Too bad! If you lose your password and you don’t have a password recovery disk, you’re out of luck unless you have a password reset disk (USB flash drive).

A number of Windows 10 features will not be available or they’ll be harder to access: You’ll miss out on a number of Windows 10 features that are available only to those who log in to Windows 10 with a Microsoft Account.

What is a Microsoft Account?

A Microsoft Account is an account you sign in to using a Microsoft email address (,,,, and password. Let’s say the Microsoft address you want to use to log in to your Windows 10 PC is olivertwists18x, and your password is 0U812USillyG00S3. Then your Windows 10 username would be olivertwist18x and your Windows 10 password would be 0U812USillyG00S3. 

Once you’re signed in with your Microsoft account, you can use Microsoft products such as Skype, Office Online, OneDrive, the Microsoft Store, etc. and you won’t need to sign in manually every time you want to use them.

Using a Microsoft Account automatically gives you easier access to all of Windows 10’s features and Microsoft’s services including:.

Access to the Windows Store: You can access the Windows store and choose from thousands of apps (some free and some not) apps to your Windows 10 computer..

Instant access to OneDrive with 5 GB of cloud storage: If you log in with a Microsoft account, a OneDrive account will be set up automatically. OneDrive allows you to store important files and folders on line. It also allows you to share data between devices as well as giving you access to MS Office Online.

You will never be locked out of your Windows computer because you lost your Windows password:  Since your Windows password is the same password as your Microsoft account password (,,,,, if your forget your Windows password, you can reset it online from anywhere, using any device.

Disadvantages to using a Microsoft Account:

It’s Less private: Your settings and even the sites you visit may be stored on Microsoft’s servers.

Internet connection required: You’ll need to have an Internet connection to log in to your computer.

Less secure: Using the same password for your email account (Microsoft account) and for your Windows computer may not be the most secure way to do things. But if you use a very strong password you can overcome the inherent security issues.

You can have both Local Accounts and Microsoft Accounts on the same PC.

We both use Microsoft accounts, but the type of account you use depends on how you use your computer. It’s your choice, so we hope this article helps you to choose wisely.

3 thoughts on “Windows 10: Local Accounts vs. Microsoft Accounts

  1. Jason Miller

    I never used Skype and do not see a need for it any time in the future. We are retired and all the kids and grandchildren are within 15 miles of us. We text. We actually talk to each other. As far as One Drive, I have no use for that either. I have my 3 TB external drive for all my files. I’ll never use that much. It was on sale. What can I say.
    I use my laptop for surfing the internet looking for whatever I need to buy for my home or where we want to go on vacation. We book our trips online and get our car rentals that way after I search for the best rate. I use the last Quicken program that you could actually own and not pay a yearly fee for. I just use it for my checkbook. Why pay a yearly fee for that?
    So, thank you for the info about a local sign-in. I may just convert over to that. Makes things easier when the internet is out for some reason. Happens here in New England once in a while along with the power.

  2. Jason Miller

    I’m not sure if I set my laptop up with a local account or not. How do I check that?

    1. infoave Post author

      Hi Jason,

      1: Open Settings (right-click on Win 10 start button & click Settings)
      2: Click on “Accounts”

      Look under “Your info” which appears when “Accounts: opens. Look down below your account picture & mail address: . If you see “Manage my Microsoft Account” you’re using a Microsoft account. If you don’t, then you’re using a local account.

      Cloudeight InfoAve


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