Quick Tip: Change to a local account in Windows 8.1

Did you end up with a Microsoft live account after updating to 8.1? Here is how to re-establish a local account.

I personally installed the Microsoft Windows 8.1 update to five different personal computers since October 17, 2013. (Five days ago at this writing.) For the most part, the upgrade was smooth for all the computers, as long as you had the time to wait for the download. In general, I am happy with the upgrade and I continue to recommend it to anyone running the original Windows 8.

However, there is one caveat that I discovered during installation that everyone should be aware of before they undertake the process:

After you install Windows 8.1, you will be asked to sign in to a Microsoft Live account. There will be no apparent way to move past that screen if your intention is to only have a local account. Here is the trick: Click the Create New Account link and then at the bottom of that next screen you will see a link that will let you cancel the process. You will then login using your local account.

Now what

Many users got caught by this poorly implemented log in process and ended up creating and / or using a Microsoft account to log in to their new Windows 8.1 operating system. Since that time, I have had several questions from readers asking if there was a way to reverse the process. There is and it is fairly straightforward.

First, go to the Start Screen and type "users" to get search results. Click the first item in the search results and you will get a screen similar to Figure A.

Figure A



Click the Add an account box to reach the screen shown in Figure B.

Figure B


How will you sign in?

Of course, Microsoft wants you to create a new account with them, but you can click the link at the bottom of the screen that says: Sign in without a Microsoft account. You can just ignore the "not recommended" advice.

Clicking that link will take you to the Add a user screen shown in Figure C. Click the Local account button.

Figure C


Add a user

After you click the Local account button you will see Figure D where you can enter your local account credentials.

Figure D


Local account

Click the next button and then the Finish button and you will have created a new Local account that you can log into instead of your Microsoft account.

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Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.

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