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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Pros and Cons of Win 8.1 Microsoft Login

    I just upgraded three computers to 8.1. I use local accounts on all of them. I mostly use the Google ecosystem, haven't yet started to use the Microsoft ecosystem (e.g. Skydrive) much but am open to doing so. What are the pros and cons of Microsoft account vs local? What am I missing?

    I do have a live.com email (which forwards to my gmail) which I could use for Microsoft credentials. My biggest obstacle is I use very long, high entropy, always unique passwords for all my online accounts, managed by lastpass and keypass. These passwords would be unsuitable for logging in to my computers, and I don't want to weaken my live.com password.

    I did search for this topic before posting, didn't find anything (might have missed something). I'm guessing there are no big advantages until one starts to use more Microsoft devices (I have an Android phone, no tablet yet). Any comments would be appreciated

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  3. #2
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    I use a Microsoft account for online access, for my Windows Phone and on my Windows 8.1 laptop. I don't see such huge advantages or disadvantages. On the plus side, I have access to contacts and calendar everywhere, which is pretty neat. I love the people hub and there I have the same contacts I have on the phone and on the web. You can choose which settings to sync, which includes the list of apps you bought - something very useful if you want to get those apps in a new PC, for example, and the app settings themselves. You can sync other settings such as taskbar, colors, desktop, favorites, local network passwords, etc. You can also backup all these settings, so that they can be restored, if you need it for some reason.

    Other members will raise privacy questions, regarding this. Well, I don't really find that problematic. I don't keep website passwords on any of my browsers and I don't use IE except as a test browser for web development. With all respect to those who think different, the privacy issues that could result from the data they keep seems minimal to me. The NSA has access to everything, anyway .
    Rui
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  4. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Privacy and tracking will be the major "con" of using an MS account at logon.
    It will depend upon how you set it up and use it.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
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  5. #4
    New Lounger
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    Thanks to ruirib and CLiNT for replying. So if I use a Microsoft account, I use my Microsoft web password to login. What if I use a strong difficult-to-type password for my Microsoft account? Looks like I have to weaken my Microsoft password for practical use on my computer (since I can't access lastpass before I login!) Right? I'm not worried about a weaker password on my local machine, but I am for my live.com account.

    I may be too concerned about security, but I manage several mailing lists, and I can't tell you how many hijacked email accounts I have had to deal with. Just because you are paranoid does not mean they are not after you :-)
    Last edited by twegner; 2013-10-26 at 16:39.

  6. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I always log on with my MS account, and have never had a problem doing so. I do use a financial app and do online banking. I guess I figure I'm safe enough with what I have in place. I also guess I really do not care if MS tracks what I'm doing. I just am not as paranoid as others.
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  7. #6
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    Are any of your computers touch enabled? If they are, you could use the picture password and use touch to login. If not, well, I guess a longer password can be harder to type. My password has around 15 chars, includes numbers and special chars, lower and upper case letters. I am happy with it, strength wise.
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  8. #7
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I also use the Picture Password on 2 non-touch PCs. It works very well with a conventional mouse.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medico View Post
    I also use the Picture Password on 2 non-touch PCs. It works very well with a conventional mouse.
    Well, I confess I didn't know that. That increases the feature's usability a lot and it seems like a good alternative to inserting a long password.
    Rui
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  10. #9
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Or you can elect automatic logon in Windows 8;
    Windows 8, How To Automatically Log On
    ...And use any long password you wish, provided you are the only user of this computer.

    I may be too concerned about security, but I manage several mailing lists, and I can't tell you how many hijacked email accounts I have had to deal with.
    Keep your primary account safe and use other lower priority accounts for mailing lists.
    I use a Gmail account as a secondary.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2013-10-26 at 17:04.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
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  11. #10
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    One problem I ran into with a MS Account was the use of my email address as the USERID. My Western Digital My Book Live NAS wouldn't allow an @ sign in the user Id field preventing me from logging in to the NAS. I tried changing the MS Account away from my email but then it requires a first & last name. I went back to a Local account (after many tries to get it right) and all my problems disapeared. The only problem now is signing into each Modern App but since I only use Minesweeper and Skype that's not much of a problem. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by twegner View Post
    These passwords would be unsuitable for logging in to my computers, and I don't want to weaken my live.com password.
    Set a PIN for the password on the PC.

    Bruce
    Last edited by BruceR; 2013-10-26 at 18:53.

  13. #12
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    My bank uses a combination of my IP address and my PC's MAC address to let me get as far as the login screen. If I login from some free WIFI hotspot, the bank will send a one-time passcode to my email address, my cell phone, or both, depending on how I want to set it up. I then have to check my email, and enter that one-time passcode to get to the second login screen.

    If my next login is from home, then the IP address has changed (from the WIFI hotspot IP address), and I can't login again without an emailed one-time passcode, to re-establish my credentials. I consider this to be fairly secure. I don't want my personal/business data to be any less secure, so I'm not going to be using a MS account to login to anything other than my Microsoft Community account. Everything I put there is open to the public, so I have no concerns about security there. I still use a strong password, anyway.

    I use a double algorithm to generate passwords. The algorithms are known only to me, and I don't really have to remember a bunch of passwords, because I can reconstruct them as needed. They aren't subject to a dictionary or bible crack, either. It would take a brute force cracking effort, and I change passwords fairly often, so I feel comfortable.

    I don't feel comfortable having one password for all things Microsoft. I don't care for the subscription model, either, and that seems to be the direction in which Microsoft is trying to lead the sheep. I'm not going along for the ride. I don't need or want a smart phone, so there's nothing to sync there. Microsoft Office is capable of syncing any business collaboration I need. My personal stuff is on my home network, and that doesn't need to be synced, since I have access to it across the network.

    I won't be putting anything in "the cloud", so I don't need any access to "the cloud". So a local account is all I need for my PC. I was offered the 8.1 Upgrade from the Store while logged in with that local account.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
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  14. #13
    New Lounger
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    I saw the pin feature, but didn't quite understand how it worked, so thanks for the suggestion.

    Anyhow, thanks everybody, I'll check out the various suggestions. I may just just end up keeping the local account.

  15. #14
    New Lounger
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    On 2013-10-26 (#9), CLiNT wrote: "Or you can elect automatic logon in Windows 8;"
    Windows 8, How To Automatically Log On

    I had my Windows 8 computer set up for auto logon, then I updgraded to Windows 8.1, and things went south.

    The 8.1 upgrade forced a start to an Administrator (Microsoft) account, which required a password. I made sure that the "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer" box was unchecked in "User Accounts", but it had no effect. After a lot of trial and error, I deleted my original account and created a new one with the same name.

    To create a Local account, open the Windows 8.1 settings either by searching for "Settings" from the Start screen or by using the Charms Bar (Win Key + C) to open PC Settings. Once there, click on "Accounts", then "Your Account". Click "Disconnect" to start the process.

    A new window will open asking you to enter your Microsoft Account password. Click "Next" after entering it. You’ll be asked to name your new Local account; leave the password fields blank. Click Next. On the "Switch to a local account" screen, click "Next" again. If you head back to the PC settings for Accounts, you’ll see your account is now designated a Local account, and you can switch it to a Microsoft account at any time.

    I might have been able to fix things with deleting my original account, but that's just how it worked out for me.

    This process might be helpful for the problem described in "Windows Secrets Newsletter", Issue 408, where Susan Bradley wrote "I'm still investigating how to get one user back into his local account; his original password no longer works."

  16. #15
    New Lounger
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    The same person who wrote the "Windows 8, How To Automatically Log On" article has another one:

    How to log on automatically on Windows 8 using a Microsoft Account

    "Windows 8 users have options to log on to the system using a local account or a Microsoft Account. Both options have their advantages. The local account does not communicate with Microsoft during logon, while the second enables the synchronization of select personalization features of the operating system on each system the user logs on.

    "If you are using a Microsoft Account to log on to Windows 8, you have probably noticed that you have to enter the user account password each time you are doing so while the username is filled out automatically by the operating system.

    "If you are the only user on the system you may want to speed up the logon process by enabling automatic logons on the system."

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