Windows 8

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_win81.png
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

a_local_account.png

Users

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

Figure B

b_local_account.png

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

c_local_account.png

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

d_local_account.png

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.

Also read:

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

50 comments
Candy123456
Candy123456

I want to share my experience to you. Here are some suggestions in the following.

1. Make certain: Be sure to use the correct the lowercase and uppercase.

2. Using a Windows password reset disk. If you don't prepare, the third choice is more suitable for you.

3. Using the third-party reset tools, such as Windows Password Killer. More information you can visit http://www.windowspasswordkiller.com 

fa_rm
fa_rm

Quick question, I have a Local Account, and I try to upgrade to 8.1 and the error message ::This app couldn't be installed because group policy set by your system administrator

and now No apps in my Windows 8, so How can get my computer how it was?? I mean if I go to store and try to install Skype, the same error, so everithing is gone,


Thanks



fuhrmanator
fuhrmanator

Thanks for this page. There's a new reason to have a Microsoft account forced on us: Install the Metro version of Skype (I did under 8.1) and there's no way to use your Skype account. Or if there is, I couldn't figure it out.


When I acquiesced and used a Microsoft account, I found that Skype Metro somehow managed to convert my local account to a Microsoft account. What's worse, I was using a PIN to sign in, and didn't realize my password had changed until using Chrome's "Show password"  feature for saved web site passwords. It now authenticates first to the (local?) windows password. Well, it turns out that I had no idea I was using a microsoft account until, after deactivating my PIN to figure out what was happening, I rebooted and saw my MS account user icon and email address by my user name. It all clicked at that moment.


The problem now is that I have an account that requires me to log into windows with a MS password, but it "hangs" in a black screen, which allows me only to CTRL-ALT-DEL to get the menu to restart, etc. in 8.1. 


If I follow your advice, I'll create a new local account, but it won't be linked to my old one (the desktop, etc. will be gone). Is there a quick work-around? Thanks!

johnggold
johnggold

I tried your advice, but I should point out that it is not always possible, if you have inadvertently created an account in Microsoft, or in my case where someone else set up the computer - so no details on the outlook account.

I got round this, because a DOS shell is always available via the button in the bottom left corner of the screen at login.

I typed netplwiz from the DOS prompt and deleted the offending user, creating a new one with Administrator rights. I used a known Microsoft login, then once I was able to access the PC, I used your instructions, and deleted the user linked to Microsoft.

I finished by downloading Classic Shell, so I could easily find the previously installed applications. I really don't know who Windows 8 screen is aimed at. Without a touch screen is tortuously difficult to get anywhere!

DAS01
DAS01

Did the 8.1 upgrade yesterday afternoon, no hassle.  It recognised that I was previously logged in with a local account.

Because I had read the controversies I found this article and a couple of others first.  The MS official guide is not so useful as it emphasizes setting up an MS account (which I have but do not use for my computer OS, just for my phone and accessing MS forums).

Having one eye on these articles and the MS set-up I agree that retaining a local account is not as obvious as it should be (one should not need to rely on third-party articles) but still little problem in setting up.

I must say I like the 8.1 UI changes and consider them a good way forward.

(My main computer is on Vista and we have another family machine on Win 7 - I think I would select 8.1 as first choice.)

tsantez
tsantez

It's simple, once you upgrade with windows 8.1 and it ask for a creation of a live account to continue, simply click I'm not "your username" and it Windows will finalize your settings and take you to the log on screen where you can log on locally as before the upgrade.  MCP

fretsbr549
fretsbr549

This does not resolve the local user profile microsoft destroyed while breaking your privacy and forcing your credentials into their collection site. It is a waste of time until you recreate the complete profile.

Al-One-Hundred
Al-One-Hundred

After one adds the local user, how are the files from the network user accessed? 

NKadir
NKadir

i updated win 8.1 no problem. I've used a local acct all along, no problem. but I'd like to sign in with my outlook.com acct, which is set as my primary alias with Microsoft.office. so I added outlook.com user acct to win 8, but Microsoft password not working for this. I've reset at account.live umpteen times. the password works for sign in with local acct. I thought I could switch between local and Microsoft ACCTS for win 8 sign in using same password. how to resolve? I don't want to delete local acct for same reason others have commented on. fear of not being able to access my files etc.

ciulerazvan
ciulerazvan

Hi i have migrated to a local user a month a go but i have a couple of problems with the Administrator permissions. Many programs won't start if i won't run them as administrator. Any solution? On hotmail account it runs normally. PS I have admin rights on bot 

bentley27
bentley27

3:46 AM

Hi, I'm in a similar puddle of mud.  (Why can't Microsoft ask us before our profiles, folders and files are ruthlessly disrupted?  I'm so weary of these issues, ever since Windows 95 or before, always problems that take weeks or longer to correct with upgrades, or more accurately, DOWNgrades.)  I have a small solid state drive (C:) partitioned from the regular HDD (D:)  This is a relatively new computer that came with Win8, and OMG, when I initially used the so-called Easy Transfer Tool (DON'T DO IT!), Windows slammed, or attempted to, all my files from my older laptop onto the SSD.  No warning, advisory or any attempt to save me from their undersight.  It didn't work of course.  Well, months later, I had things sorted out and my default file, folder and library locations were of course set to the HDD partition D:.  And along came Windows 8.1.  Now I can't even find instructions on Win 8 Help (Does Windows Help EVER actually help???) on how to redirect default locations.  When I search for help in Windows, the latest info applies to Win 7.  I can't find Libraries anymore (not that I ever wanted to use them, but got used to being able to--they're worthless fluff to a traditional file structure guy like me.)  So, I found some help from other users online, the only way I ever can get help with Win, er, Losedows.  I did not want to create a new user id, but had no choice given to me, and couldn't research this forum at that time to learn about the pitfall I was about to experience.  I see from reading your previous response to the other suffering soul that I was able to locate my one, trueBy the time I was learning how to go back and recreate my local user account, I used the same name as before, and then I ended up with THREE user accounts (2 local) on the machine, but it gave the newest user name a [original username].[machine name] configuration.  (In other words, say the original user was Zed and the machine is named Dell, then when creating the second, local account of Zed, Win 8 named it Zed.Dell).  So there's Zed, Zed.Dell and ZedLive, so to speak.  Only when I look at the Users folder is Zed.Dell visible, but when I use the Windows shortcut to Users, it only shows Zed and ZedLive.

I tried copying the files in the newest local user folder to the live account user name folder, but can't tell if that was good or bad.  I rebooted and logged on to the local account, and it is wacked!  A popup told me I had been allowed a temporary login and nothing would be permanent.  My screen, all my preferences, etc. are not there.  However, the Live account has most of what I need, other than all the recent files still showing the wrong (C:) drive instead of where they actually are (D:).

 It's been at least a week since the unfortunate downgrade to 8.1 happened, so if there's any salvaging that can be done, I hope the work I've done since then (adding a few new programs, settings, etc.) won't be lost. I'm considering a Restore, but there are numerous files that MIGHT not be recovered, and I doubt the operation will return the machine to where it was a week ago anyway.   I don't, and will not for anything significant, use SkyDrive, so that's rubbish as far as I'm concerned.  If I can delete the new @outlook.com user account, that's what I want to do.  I don't even have Outlook and, from what I can tell, I'd have to buy it just to add it to my Office 2010.  So I may not even be able to get a reply to this plea for help.  Oh, MS, MS, stop the BS.


Timotis
Timotis

Ive just purchased a new HP laptop with Win 8, loaded it up and now my existing laptop will not let me into my existing user profile? i.e enter my password or try and scan my finger print, but its not recognised? 

Is this due to what been posted here, meaning when I setup the new HP which was connected to the internet and was asked to use a Microsoft account, has this locked me out of my old laptop? 

I'm stumped :(

Kevin Mcweeney
Kevin Mcweeney

Question. I have downloaded 8.1, however it does not accept my Account name and password combination. I saw your earlier response to that same question however I do see any of the screens you are referencing. All I  i see,  is the screen asking for a password. I type  in my password and it gives an error message. On that screen, there are no other options. Any ideas would be appreciated

nsemrau
nsemrau

Thank you for the article, but you can easily revert your user account from a MS Live account to a Local User account.

1. Go to the user accounts settings window (step 1 of your procedure)

2. Instead of creating a new account, select "Your Account."

3. Select "Disconnect" under your email address.

4. Enter your MS Live password.

5. Enter your local user account name and password.

6. You are now back to a local user account, with very little pain. :)

MSVictim
MSVictim

MS really sucks. I was fooled too and now I've got a live account which I don't want.

Untill now I didn't find a way to reverse to my earlier local account.

What wrong whith those people at Redmond? Do they want me to buy a Mac?
189840
189840

To avoid even being asked to set up a Microsoft account, ensure you're not connected to the Internet when installing 8.1.  I skipped selecting a wireless connection and didn't have my Ethernet cable plugged in.  Defaulted to my existing local account instead.

KCGarrett
KCGarrett

Change your unwelcome Win 8.1 Microsoft login back to a local account.  Here's a Youtube video to show how.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBDwfF37mwg

You do lose Skydrive access through Windows apps.  You can still access your Skydrive stuff through www.skydrive.live.com

Of course you can always change your local login back to a Microsoft login.

Welcome to the future.

bryanjam
bryanjam

PS I run a forum and I'm always trying to get rid of member  who haven't visited for years so I can't see the value in Microsoft building up a huge database of 'members' who have no interest in being members - what is the point?

bryanjam
bryanjam

I got caught in the Microsoft account 'scam' first time with Windows 8. Trying to 'fix' that by setting up a new account in Windows resulted in me being locked out of all admin privileges, which meant  I couldn't install or remove anything and Windows Update didn't work either so I had to reinstall everything, so watch that!

I installed 8.1 last night and was confronted by the same problem, despite all the 'back steps'. 

I was however, able change to a 4-digit pin number (Microsoft will email you one once you're signed in) and if you choose, for example,  1234, it will let you in on the final number. I personally prefer not to have a password to log-in as I am always, turning off, restarting, etc but having to enter 4321, or whatever, is much easier than a name @ a web address, so I can live with that.


mdipalma
mdipalma

I just created a local account following your instructions and now all my folders are empty and nothing that I had saved while logged in my live account is visible.  I tried to access the folders and files that I have on the computer and even Outlook 2013 is trying to make me set up a new account. I went back and signed in to the live account and everything's there. What do I do now if I want to use the local account?

joemama613
joemama613

Mark, that is somewhat helpful, however, it does not go far enough. Creating a local account in ADDITION to the MS account is no biggie, but the profile is all wrong, etc. Has anyone figured out how to REPLACE the MS account with my original account and profile? 

carlsf
carlsf

Sorry Microsoft BUT 8.1 is not a fix for the old Windows 7 Start Button and Start Menu, which we requested for us to implement Windows 8 in any shape of form to 115 systems.

So as far we  we are concerened Windows 8/8.1 is a lost cause, and so we will NOT be using Microsoft. As for Office 2013 it is also a NO go.

We have used Microsoft products for years, and the UI for these new releases is just so UNPRODUCTIVE.

Why should we have to relearn and retrain our workers/users, and upgrade Applicatione that worked under 7, just to please Microsoft.

If we were to inplement Win8 enviorment in our business the TOTAL cost would be enough to put us out of business.

essex133
essex133

Er...this article is entitled Change to a local account in Windows 8.1 and goes on to say "I have had several questions from readers asking if there was a way to reverse the process. There is and it is fairly straightforward." But creating and using a new local user account is not reversing the process - it's just creating and using a new user account!

dhjohns
dhjohns

Personally, I think the Microsoft account is a blessing.  One annoyance about the 8.1 update is that I can not update my Windows 8 installation as Microsoft does not allow the update on VHDs.  Oh, well.  My Windows 8 install is perfect in every way anyway, and does almost what 8.1 does.

dhamilt01
dhamilt01

8.1 copied all my 8.0 Local account settings, configuration etc. to the new 8.1 Microsoft Live account. No problem. Searched for the 8.1 local account ... none there. Created new 8.1 Local account but all settings, configuration etc. lost ... naked new account.

How do I copy or migrate Microsoft Live account settings, configuration etc. to the Local account?

hooverv
hooverv

I bought a DELL 660 with windows 8 installed can not download

8.1. I also installed media center still wont let me download.

Any ideas!

dl
dl

The Windows 8.1 upgrade  makes a few other changes if you have done some customization.

(1) If you had set up the computer to  log in automatically, you'll have to reset that. Use Run and type netplwiz which will open the User Accounts Control Panel. Select the account with which you wish to login automatically and uncheck the check box that says "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer." Click the Okay button. You'll have to enter your password twice. Restart Windows 8.1.

(2) If you had eliminated the shortcut arrow on desktop icons, you'll need to make that weak all over again. The freeware program Koala Short Cut Arrow does the trick seemlessly. It's available at http://depositfiles.com/files/dt2rfn4qq

(3) If you changed your c:\Windows\temp directory to another directory, you'll have to go into Advanced System Properties (via System Properties in the Control Panel), select Environmental Variables, and reassign the c:\windows\temp directories again.

There may be other customizations that are lost when upgrading to Windows 8.1. I just haven't discovered them yet.

zynn
zynn

I'm on a domain at work, I log into windows 8 first as my domain account and then log in with my live account.  I like the added dimension my live account adds with synching between my home pc and my work pc through skydrive.  Also with Office 2013 signing in with my live account adds functionality in the form of personalization to my Office products and again seamless synching with skydrive. As far as the local accounts, my home pc I upgraded to 8.1 and logged in by skipping the live sign-on to get in locally to check all my programs and then signed into my live account to re-load my store apps that were waiting for me. 

I have my AppleID that I have to use on my mac, my google gmail that I have to use to set up my Android.......so I guess I just accept using a Microsoft ID on my windows.

ProperName
ProperName

I haven't read up much on 8.1 so I must ask, if this is just an "update" why would one needs to create an account? If updating from Windows 8, am I going to lose all the information stored in my local user account currently in use on my box?

viProCon
viProCon

One thing I'd like to add to this discussion, a major problem for me by the way that I am quite upset at MS for, is that you simply cannot use the Microsoft Store and install apps from it, once you're on 8.1, without converting your system to a Live account and away from using Local accounts.  To clarify, I don't mean you need to use your Live account just to get the app but you continue using your Local, I mean to even install an app, you must permanently convert your PC to using a Live account and no longer using Local accounts.  I haven't tested if you can convert back via the method mentioned above though. 

andus58
andus58

However, if you want to use say Skydrive on the Surface screen, you are now FORCED (!) to switch your local account to a microsoft email account, something I and my work organisation specifically do not want. I have not yet tried the Desktop Skydrive app to see how this works. If this is the case, 8.1 is pretty useless to me. 

Essentially you are now restricted from using MS services you are entitled to unless you use your email driven MS account.
From memory in Win 8, if I used a MS email account profile, then Skydrive desktop app defaulted to that as well, losing flexibility to use my own Surface skydrive and my organisation 'Desktop App'Skydrive.

adornoe
adornoe

My bigger problem is that, when I try to go to the Windows Store to download and install the 8.1 update, I get the message: We weren't able to connect to the Store.  I tried many of the "solutions" I found on the internet where people posted the same problem, but, I can't get beyond that message, and it's now 5 days later, and while I've kept trying, I haven't succeeded.  


BTW, I was able to install the update to 2 other laptops without a problem.  It's just my desktop which I can't get to the store with. 

Zigarten
Zigarten

I just clicked "disconnect" below my hotmail address in the same spot Mark showed us, win 8.1 went ahead and allowed me to set up a local login. Piece of cake.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

Were you confused by the account setup process during your update to Windows 8.1? Did you end up with a Microsoft account you didn't really want?

wally1938
wally1938

@nsemrau Terrific!  I got all screwed up when I updated to 8.1 on three machines.  The MS password mess cut me off from my MS forum, I could NOT use any of my CustomRefresh Imgaes that I made for backups(since 8.1 s**tcanned disk image backups and found my long-used email address was not even recognized by MS.  This simple sequence fixed the whole thing.  I want to stay as far away from MS cloud stuff as possible and prefer my backups controlled by me, locally.  You deserve applause!  Clap clap clap!!

Seawin June
Seawin June

@nsemrau This is the easiest way!! However, my question is: How do I disconnect my email address WITHOUT creating a new local account.  After step 5 (Enter your local user account name and password.), It tells me that the User name and is already in use. I need to create another one. I DO NOT want to create another user account. I want to continue to use my original user name - just with the email disconnected. Can u help me with this problem, Please??

BobL27
BobL27

@nsemrau Hey, thank you SOo much for this! I've been aggravated and sick over this since Oct 17th, when I screwed up by using my Microsoft account log in. It's like being told I've been cured of some dreaded disease, no exaggeration :-)

tomacito
tomacito

@carlsf such drama. start button... = list of programs installed. on one screen, scroll-able. fully user set  -up - able. 

Office is EXACTLY the same on the desktop. 

AND I have no idea how to drive a horse and buggy.  

My goodness. there is NOTHING better than MS Office. that's how they should have sold the surface RT in the first place "and it comes with office FREE! "  ok rant is complete. Please sit down, relax. it's quite simple really. bye.

james
james

@carlsf Bye, sorry you seem so emotional about your business decision.  Sounds like you'll miss Windows a lot. 

viProCon
viProCon

I'm not sure of the implications of this update in many respects.  For example, if I create a network share on my 8.1 system, and from say my Windos 7 PC try to access it, when it prompts for a username and password will it accept the local one, or the Live account?  Who knows.  Wish I had time to spend testing all those quirks. 

Your files like World docs should be safe, but my guess is that everythiung related to your local account will not be seen in the Live account.  it's like having two accounts on your PC, if you login with one, you won't see settings, your background image, Internet Favorites and so on for the other account. They still exist, stored in c:\Users\username but in terms of accessing them, you hav eto understand the Windows file system and wher to find these things. 

Hwoever I am guessing at this, but I can't see your Live account importing anytihng from the local one, since you can have multiple different computers all with local accounts, you can't merge imports from all of them, and I don't think MS woul dwant to casue the confusion of importing the first account you use.  So hw knwos. 

sachfam
sachfam

@Zigarten Same here. But then you cannot use the mail app unless you sign in to the MS account. Any way around that?

ProperName
ProperName

I see. I don't use a live account even though I do have a hotmail email which I still use lightly. I also don't use skydrive and since the MS app store requires a Microsoft account to use, I simply don't use it. I just want to be sure that the local account I currently use will be available and not "merged by default" because MS prefers it that way. Heck, the only reason I bothered buying a laptop with Windows 8 was to have a box to learn the OS on so I can better support clients with this platform.

viProCon
viProCon

Wow my keyboard, or typing skills, suck :)

One thing to add - Microsoft doesn't elete the local account, just convertgs your system to using the Live one.  I do not yet know if you can in all cases, revert back to local however.  This article gives an example of where you can, but for that Windows Store app scenario I mentioned, I don't yet know. 

viProCon
viProCon

Respectfully to the poster, I recommend avoiding CNET downloads.  That awful website pushes some really annoying crapware/games etc. via its download manager.  Not only that, but using the DL  manager and not installing the crapware is actually designed in a way to trick the user - this was a few months ago but I vaguely recall  thinking that they way they did it, you'd have to go into some advanced settings screen I think it was, to avoid installing these add-ons. 

I can't respect any website or company that pulls that crap, so IMHO CNET sucks.  But perhaps if that's the only way to get the file, though I would not trust files posted there.  If you can't get it via the MS authorized methods, don't grab it from 3rd parties (and especially not torrents, though that should be obvious...). 

Again,m no disrespect meant to the poster of the suggestion.