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  1. #1
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    Microsoft account vs. local account when updating from Win7 to 8

    I am preparing to upgrade a Win7 Pro machine to Win8 Pro. Win8 suggests during installation that a Microsoft account be used. When doing an upgrade that retains all user settings, programs, files, etc. what happens with the existing local account if one chooses to setup a Microsoft account during the upgrade. In other words; does the upgrade migrate the current local account into the new Microsoft account? I have a laptop with Win8 installed which is using a Microsoft account. I had to do a clean installation on it since i previously had the release preview installed on it so I could not retain my settings.

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    I haven't seen anything about such a scenario. I performed a clean install when I upgraded. If in doubt, you can always upgrade using your local account and then change it to a Microsoft account. Alternatively, you can try the other path, but I am not sure your existing accounts won't be upgraded and a new one created, for the Microsoft account.

    Whatever the way you choose, be sure to backup before, preferably by creating an image you can use afterwards, in case something goes wrong or you choose the 2nd alternative and don't like the results.

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    Thank you for your quick reply.

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    Wish I could have offered advice about the specific situation . I would say, though, going local and then upgrading to a Microsoft account should work fine.

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    I also always recommend the Custom Install. Even though the Upgrade Install works quite well in most cases, we have seen quite a few very strange problems that could only be solved with a Custom Install. Unfortunately people that encounter these strange problems spend a lot of time trying to T/S them to find a solution, and in many cases have to resort to a Custom Install anyway.

    I am also unaware what the ramifications are to upgrading a Win 7 local account to Win 8 while setting up a MS account during the process. I suspect everything will migrate fine, but am not at all certain of this. I would definitely choose to Install by creating media so that you will ultimately have an installation media for future reference.
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    When I installed the Release Preview on my laptop I did an upgrade install over a Win7 Pro installation. I was actually rather surprised how quickly it finished and, if I remember correctly, nearly everything came across fine with the exception of a couple of programs which were not compatible. Unfortunately, even though I do remember being asked to setup a Microsoft Account, and I did so, I cannot remember whether it simply changed the account name and credentials or if I had to do anything manually. I think it was automatic but have been trying to find some confirmation that is the way it works.

    When I upgraded the laptop to the RTM I did not realize that it was not possible to upgrade from the Release Preview directly so I had to do a clean install.

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    I have no personal experience performing an upgrade that retains anything from the upgraded system but it sounds as if your laptop upgrade from Win 7 Pro to the Release Preview went fine, which suggests to me that if you make an image of your other Win 7 Pro system before upgrading it using the Win 8 Pro Upgrade it might be worthwhile to try to retain your existing Win 7 configuration (save for any incompatible areas) if doing so would save you a lot of work making a 'clean' Win 8 Pro Upgrade into what you actually want (and if that doesn't work out, you can always just restore the Win 7 Pro image and perform a 'clean' upgrade on it - at least that worked for me when I decided that I wanted a 32-bit version of Win 8 Pro on a machine after already having installed a 64-bit version on it: the result even activated automatically on line without demur, I assume because it recognized that the hardware hadn't changed).

    That said, I agree with others that not creating a new Microsoft Account during the process would likely be safer (unless you decide to go the 'clean install' route, in which case it doesn't matter), since I think you'll later have the opportunity to change the existing local account to a Microsoft Account after you've verified that it's set up the way you want it.

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Have you considered using Windows Easy Transfer to preserve your files and settings?
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    No need to create a local account. Everything will migrate is you choose Microsoft Account. The only difference in the two options is that when you create a Microsoft account, a bunch of stuff migrates to the cloud as well. I personally have no use for the cloud so I just use a local account. Eliminates any dependency on the Web.

    See How To Geek explains Microsoft Account vs Local Account
    Jerry

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    Thanks to all who have replied to my original post. I have made an image of my system and program files drives so I am going to go ahead and do the Win8 upgrade which is supposed to keep all user settings, files, programs, etc. I will post a final report on how it all turns out in a few days.

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    As I promised in the previous post here are the results of my upgrade from Win7 Pro to Win8 Pro. Much to my satisfaction all of my files, programs, and settings migrated to the new Microsoft account, actually a pre-existing Hotmail account, with no problem. It retained my original local account and it appears that it still has the same permissions, etc. as before, which means that the two accounts are essentially parallel except that any changes I would happen to make in the local account would not show up in the online account and thus would not migrate to my laptop. I find this to be very convenient.

    There were a few glitches. A couple of programs which normally started upon login would not do so. I found that one of them would start properly if I logged onto the built-in Administrator account however. I solved the problem by creating a task set to run the program upon my account login. I do not use other one very much so I can simply start it manually when needed.

    I was also surprised to see that the OS was automatically activated with the Product Key that I received when I purchased the upgrade. The online process apparently associates the Product Key with the download that is part of the process. I am guessing that if one chooses to make a boot disk for later installation this would not be the case.

    I now have Win8 running on two machines. One is a Gateway desktop purchased originally in Dec. of 2007 with Vista Ultimate, subsequently upgraded to Win7. The other is a Toshiba laptop purchased in Nov. 2006 with XP, upgraded to Vista Ultimate, upgraded to Win7 Pro and now to Win8. Both units are running Win8 very satisfactorily so far.

    Again, thanks to those who responded originally, giving me the confidence I needed to charge ahead with the upgrade.

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbkurtz View Post
    I was also surprised to see that the OS was automatically activated with the Product Key that I received when I purchased the upgrade. The online process apparently associates the Product Key with the download that is part of the process. I am guessing that if one chooses to make a boot disk for later installation this would not be the case.
    Actually, it is almost that easy. Activation of a reinstallation is not automatic, but the activation routine will take you online after recognizing your Product Key, and ask for a series of numbers to be input. It's rather painless and takes very little time.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-02-17 at 09:15.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

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    I used a local account even though I have an Outlook.com account (converted from a Hotmail account), because why identify yourself to Microsoft for no good reason? Woody ran a story on Windows Secrets on this last year before Win8 was released and advised using a local account. I have no intention of buying any apps from the apps store. I have had Windows from version 3.1 and have never had to request any support.

    Here is some good Win8 essential information on a single long page:

    http://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk/Essen...-windows-8.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Legge View Post
    I used a local account even though I have an Outlook.com account (converted from a Hotmail account), because why identify yourself to Microsoft for no good reason? Woody ran a story on Windows Secrets on this last year before Win8 was released and advised using a local account. I have no intention of buying any apps from the apps store. I have had Windows from version 3.1 and have never had to request any support.

    Here is some good Win8 essential information on a single long page:

    http://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk/Essen...-windows-8.htm
    With all due respect, Woody's opinion is just that, his opinion. We can differ from that. I like the Start Screen a lot and I do use some of the Metro apps, and the Microsoft account helps getting some of those tiles to work as they should. The messaging app, the People's app, even Skype can use the info from your Microsoft account, which is even better since I can instantly have access to all the contacts I already have on my Windows phone.

    I would say that not using Metro apps you are cutting yourself off from some apps that are really nice. There are no indispensable apps, but some of those offer stuff that I cannot access, in the convenient way the metro apps offer, anywhere else.

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    just another opinion

    For those of us who don't care for the Start Screen or all manner of cross-linked information enabled by a Microsoft account, who do not want anything at all stored "in the cloud", there is no real need for a Microsoft account. My decision to get an early start with the RTM Windows 8 was based solely on the price, and the Start Screen was a negative, not positive part of that decision; I bought it in spite of the GUI. Having stumbled upon StartIsBack has thankfully taken the Start Screen completely out of my Windows 8 experience. It has an option to remove all non-App tiles from the Start Screen and place them on the Desktop as shortcuts; and if I don't want them on the desktop, I can get to them through the Start Menu. My last visit to the Start Screen was to shut down all live tiles.

    I don't have or want a smart phone. My current cell phone is approximately 4⅜" X 2¼" and it's a bit too large for my needs and my taste. I miss my Motorola Razr flip phone. I have no desire for a smart phone interface on my PC, and I have yet to see an App that I would want to use. My ISP offers a home page that is thoroughly customizable with all manner of updating local news, business news, political news, local weather, movie listings, media events, games etc. There's a lot of that sort of free content that I don't use, and have removed from my home page. There are a number of web portals that offer the same types of customizable content, and all free. I see no need to bother with Apps.

    But that's just my opinion...
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-02-17 at 11:14.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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