Creating Local Accounts in Windows 10

Similar to Windows 8, Microsoft is pushing the option to sign-in to Windows 10 with a Microsoft account. The advantage, says Microsoft, is that it lets you sync your personalized account settings across multiple devices. Features such as your preferred desktop background, passwords, language preferences, and Windows theme all sync when you use a Microsoft account. A Microsoft account also allows you to access the Windows Store.

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All About the Microsoft Account

Windows 10 Settings app

If you're not interested in any of those features, however, a local account might be a better option. Local accounts are also handy if you want to create a simplified account for another user on your PC.

First, I'll show you how to switch the account you sign-in with to a local account, and then we'll look at creating local accounts for other users.

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Creating a Local Account

Changing from a Microsoft to a local account

To begin, click on the Start button and select the Settings app from the menu. Then go to Accounts > Your email and accounts. Just above the sub-heading that says "Your picture," click on Sign in with a local account instead.

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Password Check

Enter your password to switch to a local account.

Now, you'll see a blue sign-in window asking for your password to confirm it's really you asking for the switch. Enter your password and click Next.

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Go Local

Enter the details you want for your local account

Next, you'll be asked to create the local account credentials by choosing a ​username and password. There's also an option to create a password hint in case you forget your login. Try to choose a password that is not easy to guess and has a string of random characters and numbers. For more password tips check out About's tutorial on How to Make a Strong Password.

Once you've got everything ready, click Next.

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Sign Out and Finish

Clicking sign out and finish

We're almost at the last step. All you have to do here is click Sign out and finish. This is your last chance to rethink things. After you click that button you'll have to go through the process of switching back to a Microsoft account--which honestly isn't that hard.

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All Done

The account is now local.

After you've signed out, sign back in. If you have a PIN set-up you can use that again. If you're using a password, use the new one to sign-in. Once you get back to your desktop, open the Settings app again and go to Accounts > Your email and accounts.

If everything went smoothly, you should now see that you're logging in to Windows with a local account. If you ever want to switch back to a Microsoft account go to Settings > Accounts > Your email and accounts and click on Sign in with a Microsoft account instead to start the process.

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Local for Other Users

Create a local account under Other users.

Now let's create a local account for someone who will not be a PC administrator. Again, we'll open the Settings app, this time going to Accounts > Family & Other users. Now, under the sub-heading "Other users" click Add someone else to this PC.

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Options

Windows 10 makes it difficult to create a local account.

This is where Microsoft gets a little tricky. Microsoft would prefer it if people didn't use a local account so we'll have to be careful about what we click. On this screen click the link that says I don't have this person's sign-in information. Don't click anything else or enter an email or phone number. Just click that link.

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Not There Yet

Local accounts in Windows 10 are buried under several links.

Now we're almost at the point where we can create a local account, but not quite. Microsoft adds one more tricky screen that could fool some into creating a regular Microsoft account by beginning to fill out the form pictured here. To avoid all this only click the blue link at the bottom that says Add a user without a Microsoft account.

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Windows 10 local account creation screen.

Now we've made it to the right screen. Here you fill out the username, password, and password hint for the new account. When everything is set-up how you'd like it ​click Next.

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The local account is ready.

That's it! The local account has been created. If you ever want to switch the account from a standard user to an administrator, click on the name and then select Change account type. You'll also see there's an option to remove the account if you ever need to get rid of it.

Local accounts aren't for everyone, but it's a handy option to know about if you ever need it.

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