New Win10 installation with online accounts or not?


  1. Posts : 10
    Windows
       #1

    New Win10 installation with online accounts or not?


    Hi all,

    Iíll soon install my first Windows 10 PC and have therefore some questions related to the accounts.
    As far as I know Microsoft want users to use the Microsoft online accounts - is it even possible to use offline accounts only? And what is the difference in between using online accounts and offline accounts?
    Is there somewhere a comprehensive but not to exhaustive list that compares the two models.

    • What are the actual benefits of one and the other?
    • What special features are enabled when using the online accounts?
    • What services/features/functions are not working with offline accounts?
    • What services/features/functions do need a different way of configuration with offline accounts?
    • Ö

    Is there a way of using as Administrator account an offline account but as normal user account a MS online account?

    Further - as I usually tend to split my system into two parts:

    • Partition A containing the system (operating system and applications)
    • Partition B containing all the user data and for some applications as well configuration/databases

    That way I can backup these two parts separately (with different strategies) and can as well restore or reinstall the OS independent.
    Would there be a problem doing so with the access to the data if I user account was an online account and therefore the permissions bound to that user ID in the system and later reinstall with the same user (or even with another)?

    KR,
    Maxwell
      My Computer

  2. Paul Black's Avatar
    Posts : 12,170
    Win 10 Pro 64-bit v1909 - Build 18363 Custom ISO Install
       #2

    Hello @MPREv2,

    I am just off to bed, but here is something that you might find useful . . .

    > How to Move Users Folder to another Location in Windows 10

    Also, if you do NOT want to use an MS Account, you can install Win 10 offline [ NOT connected to the Internet ].

    I hope this helps.
      My Computer

  3. Samuria's Avatar
    Posts : 6,040
    windows 10
       #3

    The reason for an MS account is you are then signed in to other servces like the MS store and other services the main otion is it stores your activation for future installs. You can keep the MS account and sign is as local but wont be able to access the store.

    Backup will need a disk image as there will be several paritions like uefi and recovery you need to backup
      My Computer

  4. zebal's Avatar
    Posts : 904
    Windows 10 Pro x64 20H2 (Build: 19042.867)
       #4

    MPREv2 said:
    is it even possible to use offline accounts only?
    Yes you can use offline account without creating a single online account.

    MPREv2 said:
    What are the actual benefits of one and the other?
    Online account offers cloud services, offline account does too but there are some limitations.

    MPREv2 said:
    What special features are enabled when using the online accounts?
    example:
    1. Windows account settings sync on multiple computers. (persists even after OS reinstall)
    2. syncing activity history on multiple computers.
    3. Ability to use beta and development version of Windows
    4. Enhanced log in features such as PIN, face recognition or finger print login.

    MPREv2 said:
    What services/features/functions are not working with offline accounts?
    All those that belong to group above + those not listed.

    MPREv2 said:
    What services/features/functions do need a different way of configuration with offline accounts?
    Almost none, it's almost all transparent for you except the way you use Windows.

    MPREv2 said:
    Is there a way of using as Administrator account an offline account but as normal user account a MS online account?
    Yes, online accounts are subject to same restrictions as offline accounts, therefore you have a combination of 4 possiblities.

    MPREv2 said:
    ...
    That way I can backup these two parts separately (with different strategies) and can as well restore or reinstall the OS independent.
    Would there be a problem doing so with the access to the data if I user account was an online account and therefore the permissions bound to that user ID in the system and later reinstall with the same user (or even with another)?
    No difference.

    -----------

    To bring even more confusion to all this, there is one 3rd option:
    An offline account using online services, how it works?

    You use offline account and have Microsoft account that is used only to unlock app specific features by logging into those apps but you do not use MS account to log into Windows.

    The benefit is having an offline account (different people perceive this differently), bad thing is you miss those features that require MS account on Windows (not apps) - features listed before.

    ----------

    New Win10 installation with online accounts or not?
    Maybe, it's personal preference and whether specific features are important for you.
    You need to be more careful regarding PC security with MS account.
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 10
    Windows
    Thread Starter
       #5

    Thanks guys for your input.
    What I just still miss - is there anywhere a complete list of what features / services are bound to the MS (online) accounts?

    For me now it sounds like it is better to NOT use them.
    As for the applications I still can log in separately (Windows Store, OneDrive)
    Settings/Activity sync not needed.
      My Computer

  6. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 15,508
    Windows 10 Pro
       #6

    Start with a offline local account. Then you can add or switch to an online account if you want to, and switch back to the offline account if you want to. It's not like you are stuck with one or the other for the rest of time (if you start with an offline account).
      My Computer

  7. MisterEd's Avatar
    Posts : 491
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit v20H2
       #7

    zebal said:
    Online account offers cloud services, offline account does too but there are some limitations.
    example:
    1. Windows account settings sync on multiple computers. (persists even after OS reinstall)
    2. syncing activity history on multiple computers.
    3. Ability to use beta and development version of Windows
    4. Enhanced log in features such as PIN, face recognition or finger print login.
    I have two desktops plus a laptop with Windows 10. They all use the same Microsoft account but I log onto each of them with a local account. Even though I log on using local accounts they seem to be in sync with each other. For example Sticky Notes are synced among them. One annoying thing was that the wallpaper on Desktop #1 decided to change to that on Desktop #2. I found a Windows setting to stop that.

    My laptop has three ways to log on
    • Fingerprint (default)
    • PIN
    • Password


    I usually log on with a fingerprint but the fallback is PIN. I don't remember ever logging on using my password.

    The most annoying part of the Microsoft account is that OneDrive was automatically created. I have since disabled it and moved all the files from its folder. After that I was able to delete the Onedrive folder. Unfortunately like a zombie it eventually came back from the dead and recreated its Onedrive folder.
      My Computers

  8. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,013
    Windows10
       #8

    zebal said:
    Yes you can use offline account without creating a single online account.


    Online account offers cloud services, offline account does too but there are some limitations.


    example:
    1. Windows account settings sync on multiple computers. (persists even after OS reinstall)
    2. syncing activity history on multiple computers.
    3. Ability to use beta and development version of Windows
    4. Enhanced log in features such as PIN, face recognition or finger print login.


    All those that belong to group above + those not listed.


    Almost none, it's almost all transparent for you except the way you use Windows.


    Yes, online accounts are subject to same restrictions as offline accounts, therefore you have a combination of 4 possiblities.


    No difference.

    -----------

    To bring even more confusion to all this, there is one 3rd option:
    An offline account using online services, how it works?

    You use offline account and have Microsoft account that is used only to unlock app specific features by logging into those apps but you do not use MS account to log into Windows.

    The benefit is having an offline account (different people perceive this differently), bad thing is you miss those features that require MS account on Windows (not apps) - features listed before.

    ----------



    Maybe, it's personal preference and whether specific features are important for you.
    You need to be more careful regarding PC security with MS account.
    An MS account is more secure as you can use a PIN or Windows Hello.
      My Computer

  9. zebal's Avatar
    Posts : 904
    Windows 10 Pro x64 20H2 (Build: 19042.867)
       #9

    cereberus said:
    An MS account is more secure as you can use a PIN or Windows Hello.
    Doesn't this apply only to *this* computer?

    @MisterEd

    Agree with you, but you can't sync OS settings.
    There is MS article somewhere, about what settings get synced, only a subset is synced for now, future releases will let you sync more, for now it's not worth relying on this.
      My Computer


 

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