How to make your Windows 10 user account local

The account you log onto in Windows 10 is probably connected to Microsoft. Here's why you might (and might not) want to change that and how to do it.

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Sheila Harris set up a new Windows 10 PC, and realized afterwards that she set it up with a Microsoft account. That’s not what she wanted.

Microsoft really wants the user account on your Windows 10 PC to match up with your account on the company’s cloud-based service. The company therefore made the Microsoft account the default. But you can decouple the account on your PC from the one on Microsoft’s servers.

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But should you? With a Microsoft account, settings you change on one computer can carry over to others. You have an immediate, automatic connection to OneDrive. And you don’t have to type in your password every time you download an app from the Microsoft Store.

So why would you want to use a local account instead? Privacy. With a local account, Microsoft doesn’t know who you are.

If you’ve got a Microsoft account and want to convert it to a local one, click the Start button, then click your avatar at the top of the Start menu. Select Change account settings.

0329 change account settings

This will bring up the Accounts window in Settings. In the default Your email and accounts tab, click Sign in with a local account instead.

0329 sign in local

On the resulting wizard’s first page, enter your current Microsoft account password.

On the next page of the wizard, enter a password twice. Don’t use the same one you used for your Microsoft account. You can also change your name here if you wish.

0329 local name passwords

On the next page, just click Sign out and finish. Windows will log off and back on.

And yes, it will still be pretty much the same account. You’ll have the same library folders and files, the same settings, and even the same PIN if you use one.

If you ever want to go back to a Microsoft account, go back to Settings > Accounts, select the Your email and accounts tab, and click Sign in with a Microsoft account instead. Then follow the wizard. You’ll have to enter your email address and Microsoft password, and later your local password.

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