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What is a Microsoft Account?

Updated on February 20, 2018
Niles Benghauser profile image

Niles has been working in the IT field for over 10 years and now runs his own tech support business.

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What is a Microsoft Account? Do I Need One?

You have probably heard the term "Microsoft Account" at some point. But, what is it? Do you really need one?

In short, no. You don't have to have a Microsoft account, but you will likely use one at some point if you use any Microsoft products. This article goes on to explain some key benefits to using your Microsoft account with your computer.

Microsoft Account Login Page
Microsoft Account Login Page

The Basics of a Microsoft Account

A Microsoft Account is the online account you have with Microsoft. Most websites and services operated by Microsoft allow you to sign in using the same account - your Microsoft Account.

These sites and services include:

  • Bing
  • Office
  • Outlook.com
  • Hotmail
  • MSN
  • Windows 10
  • OneDrive

In this article, we'll focus on one main use and how this can help you - signing into your computer using your Microsoft account.

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Windows 10, Your Microsoft Account, and You

If you have setup a Windows computer lately, you probably noticed the section that asked you to sign into your computer using a Microsoft Account. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't clearly explain the benefits of doing so.

A lot of information and settings are saved to your account and synchronized across all devices that are signed into that account. This includes Windows settings, passwords, and the ability to pick up where you left off.

Signing into your computer with your Microsoft account has many benefits.
Signing into your computer with your Microsoft account has many benefits.

Windows Settings

Your wallpaper, profile picture, and other Windows settings automatically synchronize when you sign in with your online account. Other settings that are synced are wifi networks that you've connected to and language preferences.

This makes switching to a new computer a little easier. You'll automatically connect to familiar wifi networks and have all your personalized settings with you, wherever you go.

Simply log into a Microsoft website from another device and follow the password recovery steps presented.

Passwords

Any passwords that you have saved on your computer are also synchronized. Additionally, your computer password will be the same as your Microsoft Account password. This makes password resets easier, in case you forget. Simply log into a Microsoft website from another device and follow the password recovery steps presented.

This feature also allows you to automatically sign into Microsoft websites and applications like Bing and the Windows Store app.

Pick Up Where You Left Off

Microsoft has implemented features in Windows 10 to help you pick up where you left off on another computer. If both computers are signed into the same account, you can continue your work in Edge and some other Microsoft apps. Your computer will automatically prompt you when this option is available. As Microsoft adds more functionality to Windows with updates, this feature will be further developed to include apps other than Edge.

Summary

Do you need to have a Microsoft Account? No. But there are many benefits to having and using one.

Microsoft is continually adding more features to Windows 10 that make signing in with your account more appealing. If you link your computer account with your online account, you can always go back if you decide you don't like it. So why not try it out?

If you have questions, go ahead and ask!

© 2018 Niles Benghauser

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