Windows 8 How To: 7. Switch Between Windows Accounts and Local Accounts

When installing Windows 8, you may have chosen to use a Windows Account, e. g. your Live or Hotmail account, or to use a local account. One advantage of using a Windows Account is that your settings and contents are sync’ed up with your Windows Live account and that you will get the updated content and settings when you login to your Windows 8 account from a different device. The question you may have is that if and how you can switch between these two different types of accounts.

From the Metro UI, click or swipe the upper right corner of the screen to show the Charms menu. Click or tap on the More PC settings link.


From Local Account to Microsoft Account

Select Users. Then click/tap on “Switch to a Microsoft account”. Type in your local account password.



And then enter your Live ID or your Hotmail account. If you don’t have one already, you can create one by clicking the link “Sign up for a new email address”. Answer the security question to confirm your identity. You may receive an SMS message from your mobile phone that shows “Security info was added for xxx”.



You are now logged in with your Windows Account. Some of your Metro apps are now showing data e.g. email, photos, and documents associated with your Live ID account.


However, your desktop apps are still running under your previous local account. If you run the whoami command in CMD prompt, you will see your local account name displayed.


Note: You can switch from a local account to the same (if you’ve done so before) or different Microsoft account.

From Windows Account to Local Account


Repeat the same steps as above to get to the Users PC settings. Click on the “Switch to a local account” button.



You are now back to your local account.


From Local Account to Local Account

Logout from your current local account and login with a different local account.

From Windows Account to Windows Account

This option is not available. (Please correct me if I am wrong here.) A workaround is to switch to a local account and then switch to a different Windows Account.

To see my other Win8 HowTo blog posts, click here.

If you have a different or better way, share it with us.

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