When you get your shiny new Windows 10 computer and you set it up you get the opportunity to setup a Microsoft account or a local account. Which should you choose. Well it depends.

If you are setting this up yourself it is most likely that this is a personal setup or a small business setup without an in-house or cloud-based server. Lets look at the features and benefits of both so that you can decide.

First lets look at the local account option.

Benefits of using a local account include:

  • More secure — You create a complex password that works on one computer and nowhere else.
  • Private — Your settings and computer use don’t transmit to remote servers. Everything is stored locally on one computer.
  • Internet-independent — A Microsoft login requires a connection to the internet to retrieve user settings and preferences.
  • Custom login name — You don’t use your email address as a login name, so it won’t be displayed on the login screen when your screen locks.

Now lets look at the Microsoft account option.

  • Access to the Windows Store -If you use Windows 10 apps this is an easy way to access those apps for installation or updates.
  • Free Cloud Storage – A Microsoft Account gives you 5 GB of storage space in the cloud, free of charge. Although 5GB does not go very far if you sync pictures and music files. You can with the OneDrive storage share with your friends and family. Just like a Dropbox account. Note, if you do not setup a Microsoft account on your PC you can still access the free 5GB of storage.
  • Sync Your Account Settings – A Microsoft Account stores your Windows 10 account settings in the cloud. When you log in to your account on one Windows computer and set it up the way you like, the changes are stored in the cloud in your OneDrive account. A Windows 10 account syncs network profiles, passwords, and Windows Store app settings between accounts.

Some Cons of Logging In With a Windows Account.

  • Hackable — Your Microsoft account info is stored on the internet, if it gets hacked, the hacker gains access to your computer and every Microsoft service you use.
  • Internet required — If you do not have Internet access cannot login to your online account. You can still login to your PC, but it requires an extra step to confirm that you want to use the latest saved settings.
  • Shared password — If you share your Microsoft login with anyone so that they can access your  computer, they then have access to all Microsoft services associated with the account, as well as any  sensitive information stored there.
  • Less privacy — Your computer settings are stored on Microsoft servers, along with your computer usage, sites you visit, and apps you use.

So whichever option you choose you will have full access to your new Windows 10 computer, you just have to decide which approach you want to use to protect your info.