Microsoft Account Sign in or Local Account Sign in?

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  1. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 985
    Windows 10 Home 21H1
       #1

    Microsoft Account Sign in or Local Account Sign in?


    Hi all,
    Im curious and interested to know how the rest of Tenforums members sign in to their laptops/PC's?
    In my case I only have one device with Windows 10..and thats my laptop.
    My only other device is a Smartphone which is Android.
    Im always trying to decide which is the best way to sign into my laptop and my feelings can differ month to month lol
    Are there others out there with just a laptop or PC. How do you sign in?
    I realise its a personal choice. If I had a couple of Windows devices and liked to Sync everything between the two devices then for me the choice would be clear..it would be a Microsoft Account sign in.
    In the past prior to Windows 10 I used to just use a Local Account to sign in . However since Windows 10 even with just my single laptop Ive been signing in with my Microsoft Account but Im considering now going back to a Local Account.
    I thought Microsoft were gearing everything towards the Microsoft Account sign in because they were pushing Windows 10 as a mobile operating system. I thought they might possibly even phase out the Local Account sign in so I might as well get used to the Microsoft Account sign in method..but theyve quit the phone market now so now Im not so sure.
    I would be interested in other peoples thoughts on the most appropriate laptop sign in method if you only have one Windows device
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  2. Caledon Ken's Avatar
    Posts : 25,569
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Version 21H1
       #2

    I use both for different reasons.

    I don't think there is a right on wrong. That being said whenever I set up a laptop with a local admin account I always create a secondary alternate admin with a separate password. I think of this as a second set of keys to the car should something happen to original profile.

    Way back people would set up a device and in 7 you could create a password recovery disk. This wasn't well known and people didn't maintain it. Then we get the threads where there is only one admin and people need to activate the built in admin for various something happened reasons.

    Then MS came out with this idea of an MS account for sign in and you could reset passwords online from any other device.

    You will notice that starting with 1803 if you set up a local account it now asks you security questions so if you forget Password there is a recovery method other than the old password recovery disk. ( Lots of die-hards that will only go local accounts)

    The MS account does have as you mention the ability to sync which is still important with or without a phone. Tablets, laptops, desktops at different locations.

    I think one of the unmentioned items the MS account does is it allows Microsoft to say to developers this is how many people we have in the eco systems that use our Store apps. You should develop for this platform so it makes sense for MS to push it.

    I'm sure there are other good reason for the MS account but as I recall in the beginning they pushed it as it allowed password recovery. (Way back in 8).

    Be interested to see what others think.
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  3. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 20,627
    10 Home x64 (21H1) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #3

    I only use a local account, but that's not to say a Microsoft Account isn't useful - just my personal preference.

    Even if you intend to use a Microsoft Account, one good argument for initially setting up a clean install on a PC with a local account is that you have full control over the name of the User folder for that account. If you set up a MS account initially it uses the first five character of the email address for the name of the user folder. A local account uses the full name you choose for the local account. It is easy to switch a local account to a MS account once you have signed in, but it is near-impossible to change the name of a user folder once it has been set up.

    You will notice that starting with 1803 if you set up a local account it now asks you security questions so if you forget Password there is a recovery method...
    This is true, but you can avoid setting up the three security questions by the simple expedient of setting a blank password initially - no password to forget means no need for security questions. You can then set a password after the initial sign in without being forced to set any security questions.

    Like Ken, I ALWAYS set up a second local administrator account which I use just for maintenance purposes.
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  4. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 985
    Windows 10 Home 21H1
    Thread Starter
       #4

    Caledon Ken said:
    I use both for different reasons.

    I don't think there is a right on wrong. That being said whenever I set up a laptop with a local admin account I always create a secondary alternate admin with a separate password. I think of this as a second set of keys to the car should something happen to original profile.
    Hi Ken, Is your second admin Account a Microsoft Account? Do you ever get any problems or conflicts between the two accounts? How does it manage App installations etc between the two accounts? Do you use just one of the accounts for updating Windows, programme installs etc and other maintenance tasks? How do you decide which tasks should be done on your Local account and what should be limited to just your Microsoft Account. Im presuming here that you limit certain tasks to each account?

    The idea of having a local account and a Microsoft account..a spare set of keys for the car as you describe it lol.. sounds like a great idea. I have read before on several sites that users should set up two accounts (one being a Standard non administrator account) for another reason ...security. It was said that you should never use an Administrator account for everyday use of a PC as it was a security risk. But then I read that it was not necessary on Windows 10. Im just wondering if it causes any issues in your day to day usage of the PC....when running anti-malware programmes such as Malwarebytes free or when you use the Reset the PC option in Settings/Update and Security/Recovery etc
    Last edited by sportsfan148; 16 Oct 2018 at 04:42.
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  5. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 985
    Windows 10 Home 21H1
    Thread Starter
       #5

    Bree said:
    I only use a local account, but that's not to say a Microsoft Account isn't useful - just my personal preference.

    Even if you intend to use a Microsoft Account, one good argument for initially setting up a clean install on a PC with a local account is that you have full control over the name of the User folder for that account. If you set up a MS account initially it uses the first five character of the email address for the name of the user folder. A local account uses the full name you choose for the local account. It is easy to switch a local account to a MS account once you have signed in, but it is near-impossible to change the name of a user folder once it has been set up.

    Like Ken, I ALWAYS set up a second local administrator account which I use just for maintenance purposes.
    Hi Bree Why is having full control over the name of the User Folder for that account so important?
    I'll also ask the same question I asked Ken.... Do you ever get any problems or conflicts between the two accounts? How does it manage App installations etc between the two accounts? Does Reset the PC clean installation method leave both accounts intact?
    If Ive understood you correctly you have set up two Local Administrator Accounts on your PC. I have read before on several sites that users should set up two accounts (one being a Standard non administrator account) for another reason ...security. It was said that you should never use an Administrator account for everyday use of a PC as it was a security risk. But then I read that it was not necessary on Windows 10.
    Last edited by sportsfan148; 16 Oct 2018 at 04:44.
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  6. CountMike's Avatar
    Posts : 18,944
    W10+Developer Insider + Linux
       #6

    I have MS account (hotmail.com) for years and years and see no reason not to use it. Main perk, already on third major system components change without reinstall and bother with activating.
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  7. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 985
    Windows 10 Home 21H1
    Thread Starter
       #7

    CountMike said:
    I have MS account (hotmail.com) for years and years and see no reason not to use it. Main perk, already on third major system components change without reinstall and bother with activating.
    Hi Mike. Yeah..Even though I only have one Windows device (my laptop) that has been my main reason for using the Microsoft account sign in method over the Local Account sign in method. The fact that when you sign in with a Microsoft Account it links your Hardware ID-Product Key (Im not sure if its both) to your Microsoft Account so any hardware changes don't cause problems with Windows 10 Activation. I had to have a faulty motherboard replaced under my laptops warranty and because I was signed into my laptop with my Microsoft Account Automatic Windows 10 Activations weren't affected at all. I did a clean install on the laptop a few weeks later without any issues
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  8. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 20,627
    10 Home x64 (21H1) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #8

    sportsfan148 said:
    Hi Bree Why is having full control over the name of the User Folder for that account so important?..
    That depends on what exactly you used as an email address. How to change the name of the user folder as seen in File Explorer to something meaningful after the event, rather than five characters that may (or may not) be appropriate is one of the most frequently asked questions on this forum. See...
    Windows 10 Help Forums - Search Results

    If you're unfortunate it may spell something hilariously inappropriate (eg. a name more appropriate to someone of the opposite sex). If you're very unlucky it may spell an unintentionally rude word.
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  9. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 985
    Windows 10 Home 21H1
    Thread Starter
       #9

    Bree said:
    That depends on what exactly you used as an email address. How to change the name of the user folder as seen in File Explorer to something meaningful after the event, rather than five characters that may (or may not) be appropriate is one of the most frequently asked questions on this forum. See...
    Windows 10 Help Forums - Search Results

    If you're unfortunate it may spell something hilariously inappropriate (eg. a name more appropriate to someone of the opposite sex). If you're very unlucky it may spell an unintentionally rude word.
    Right I understand what you mean now lol
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  10. Caledon Ken's Avatar
    Posts : 25,569
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Version 21H1
       #10

    When I say I use both I should have been clearer. On a single machine I either use an MS or I use local accounts.

    Early on I had some issue with MS combining things that I had not asked to be combined so on my main machines I use local accounts, with a secondary Admin just in case.

    When I say combined, it was address books. Skype contacts or my MS contacts with my other contacts. Now this was years ago, with Win 8. This has very well been rectified, I haven't tried. I use MS accounts on my laptops.

    Agree that normally people should use standard accounts or at least that is how I was always trained. Just one more level for the bad guys to get through. If you know your admin id then when you do something that requires you can just enter it. I would still have a second admin id as backup.

    Not sure that this isn't still a good approach on Windows 10 and of course it also depends on the user. Lots of people are clickers or are very curious. They click on and open anything sent to them. Standard user would help them.

    Today when systems are built levels of access are crucial to the design. Today's standards say you only give enough authority for a person to do their job. Prevents accidents and goes a long way in in data privacy.
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