Quick Tip: Change Microsoft live to a local account in Windows 8.1

Since the Windows 8.1 update, I have been asked many times how to change a Microsoft live account into a local account without losing data. Here is how you do it.

When I wrote Quick Tip: Change to a local account in Windows 8.1, I was concentrating on the problem presented during the free upgrade process from Windows 8 to 8.1 where you seemingly had no choice but to choose the Microsoft account login option. In my scenario, I was starting Windows 8.1 from scratch and did not have any pre-existing apps or data to worry about.

After writing that Quick Tip, I received numerous emails asking for information on how to switch to a local account without losing all the previously installed apps and associated data. This is possible and relatively easy. It is, however, not as obvious as it probably should be, so here is how to do it.

Note: I would make sure your Windows 8 operating system is updated because you don't want anything running the background while you attempt to switch accounts.

A simple disconnect

The first thing you have to do is get to the Your Account screen. The easiest way to do that is to open the Start Screen and type "your," which should perform a search to find an entry for Your Account as shown in Figure A.

Figure A


Search for Your account settings

When you reach the Accounts screen, similar to Figure B, you click the "disconnect" button.

Figure B



As you can see on Figure C, you are warned to save your work before you proceed. You'll have to enter your Microsoft account password and click the Next button to proceed.

Figure C


Enter password

The next screen (Figure D) is where you'll choose your local account user name and password. Click the Next button when you are ready.

Figure D


Local credentials

Figure E is your basic, "Are you sure you want to do this" screen. Note the paragraph about files located on your SkyDrive. If everything is how you want it, click Sign out and finish.

Figure E


Sign out and finish

The process will take a few moments, but eventually you should see a screen similar to Figure F. Note that you can always go back to your Microsoft account if need be.

Figure F


You are now local.

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By Mark Kaelin

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 BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.