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    Understanding Win10s MS and local accounts


    Windows 10

    Understanding Win10s MS and local accounts


    By Tracey Capen

    For years, a basic tenet of computing security has been to set up two accounts on all Windows systems; one an administrator-level account that provides full rights to a system and system management, and the other a standard user account that has fewer privileges.

    In Windows 10, you can still set up a second standard account for better security (limiting what malware might do on your system), but the operating systems use of MS and local accounts makes the process more complicated. Heres how it works.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/windows-secrets/understanding-win10s-ms-and-local-accounts/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    I've been using a local account from the start for several reasons and have yet to find a single downside. Conversely, I can perceive some downsides to using a MS account - perhaps they are more imagined than real, but...

    As to having to sign into Email and OneDrive separately - that is true but it's a one time affair. Once signed in, Win10 remembers your credentials and automatically connects you.

    I'd like to hear why using a MS account is better from anyone who is using it. I don't wish to debate this, just to hear a different view. Perhaps I'll learn something.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

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    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsmith-plm View Post
    ...I'd like to hear why using a MS account is better from anyone who is using it. I don't wish to debate this, just to hear a different view...
    My Win10 Pro was upgraded from Win7 Pro <> late July 2016. Win7 was using a local administrator-level account and nothing has changed in that respect - Win10, after the upgrade is still using a local administrator-level account and I have not seen any reason to change that.

    One of my workbench desktops has Win10 Insider Preview which signs in w/ my M$ account (admin) but I haven't seen any advantage w/ that over a local admin-level account.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsmith-plm View Post
    I've been using a local account from the start for several reasons and have yet to find a single downside. Conversely, I can perceive some downsides to using a MS account - perhaps they are more imagined than real, but...

    As to having to sign into Email and OneDrive separately - that is true but it's a one time affair. Once signed in, Win10 remembers your credentials and automatically connects you.

    I'd like to hear why using a MS account is better from anyone who is using it. I don't wish to debate this, just to hear a different view. Perhaps I'll learn something.
    (1) Many Cortana and Bing features are "personalized". These results work best when you are connected with a Microsoft Account.

    (2) Bitlocker in the Home Edition is entirely dependent upon using a Microsoft Account:

    http://www.howtogeek.com/234826/how-...on-windows-10/

    (3) Syncing settings across devices and using Continuum to continue a user session from one device to another, depend on the use of a Microsoft Account.

    (4) Some Apps will operate more smoothly with a single logon, which is done using a Microsoft Account.

    (5) Using a Microsoft Account makes getting into the account easier if you forget your password or PIN.

    All of this having been said, I prefer to keep at least my Administrator Account local. For Bitlocker, this means I must have the Pro Edition, where a Local Account can still encrypt and unlock the drive. For a Standard User Account, which is not so involved in system maintenance, I don't care whether it's local or Microsoft.

    Just remember, if using a Microsoft Account, your activities will be tracked. There's no way to totally turn this off if using a Microsoft Account.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    A Microsoft Account could also make re-activation easier too, on rare occasions:

    Activating Windows 10 after a hardware configuration change
    If you made a significant hardware change to your device (such as replacing the motherboard) Windows 10 might no longer be activated. If you're running Windows 10 (Version 1607) and added your Microsoft account and linked it to the digital license on your device, you can use the Activation troubleshooter to reactivate Windows. For more info, see Using the Activation troubleshooter.


    Activation in Windows 10

    And syncing settings can make migration from an old to a new computer much easier.


    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    (4) Some Apps will operate more smoothly with a single logon, which is done using a Microsoft Account.
    Any examples?
    Last edited by BruceR; 2016-12-22 at 12:57.

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    [QUOTE=Tracey Capen;1075817]
    Windows 10

    Understanding Win10s MS and local accounts

    A good article-as far as it goes!

    The kicker is in your last sentence - you now have to manage two accounts. And not just in an ongoing way - a great deal of re-initialising has to be done. For example Outlook needs to be re-initialised - and if you are on POP I don't know how separate the versions in each account are? If I send email from one local account will it show up in the other? If I change my tile arrangement in one account will it sync to the other? Will "recent docs" in Word in one local account be the same as in the other? These and a myriad of other questions have always stopped me from going down this path. What I would like is that the two local accounts are indistinguishable whatever changes I make - just my privileges are limited in one account. An article spelling out the consequences of having two local accounts - and any ways of simplifying their management - is what I see as needed.

    Peter

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    (4) Some Apps will operate more smoothly with a single logon, which is done using a Microsoft Account.
    Such as?
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Just to clarify about Windows Store apps and logging into a Microsoft online account:

    It seems the Live Tiles updates for some apps need the user to be logged into the Microsoft Account, although for others, only being connected to the Internet is required.

    There is personalized content for some apps which will not show up unless you sign in to the App (effectively signing into a Microsoft Account).

    And some Apps will not even open without a sign-in and in some cases, your App Password, both of which mean signing into your Microsoft Account.

    Am I wrong in my perceptions of these things?
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Administrator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    I don't use a Microsoft Account to log into Windows 10 and will continue to use a local account. (My choice... YMMV.) So far I haven't noticed a downside.

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petermat View Post
    The kicker is in your last sentence - you now have to manage two accounts. And not just in an ongoing way - a great deal of re-initialising has to be done. For example Outlook needs to be re-initialised - and if you are on POP I don't know how separate the versions in each account are? If I send email from one local account will it show up in the other?
    That is an excellent question! If Microsoft accounts work the way they are represented to work, then a POP3 account on one computer should show the same email as the same POP3 account on another computer. For example, if I create a Microsoft account on my dad's Windows 10 computer and on my Windows 10 computer, and have Outlook 2016 on both computers, and set up my same email account as POP3 on both computers, then both should stay synchronized, even though they are both POP3. I should be able to do email at my house, log off, log on at his house, and pick up right where I left off.

    I have no idea if this will work. But based on my long and vast experience supporting Windows and other Microsoft products for decades, my guess is that it won't work.

    But if I have Office 2016 on both of these computers, and I save my documents in the Microsoft cloud, my guess is that everything will show up on both computers -- the documents, the recent documents list, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    ...I have no idea if this will work. But based on my long and vast experience supporting Windows and other Microsoft products for decades, my guess is that it won't work...
    I agree; I doubt if it would work.

    It would make most sense to me to use IMAP instead of POP3 if you want to access your email from two different locations using two different computers.

    With IMAP your email remains on your provider's mailserver, but with POP3 your email is downloaded to your computer then deleted from the mailserver (though there are settings in email clients that can be changed to leave emails on the mailserver for a period of time).

    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    ...But if I have Office 2016 on both of these computers, and I save my documents in the Microsoft cloud, my guess is that everything will show up on both computers -- the documents, the recent documents list, etc.
    That's right (as I understand it anyhow).
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    I agree; I doubt if it would work.

    It would make most sense to me to use IMAP instead of POP3 if you want to access your email from two different locations using two different computers.

    With IMAP your email remains on your provider's mailserver, but with POP3 your email is downloaded to your computer then deleted from the mailserver (though there are settings in email clients that can be changed to leave emails on the mailserver for a period of time).
    To expand further: My thought is that the synchronization of multiple Windows 10 installs via the Microsoft account doesn't reach as far as your emails. Therefore, email synchronization would have to be done by using IMAP (or perhaps some other method, such as Exchange).

    As far as documents, I'm quite sure that the "most recent" lists maintained by Windows would be synchronized; but I'm not so sure about the documents themselves.

    My thought is that the things that are managed by Windows (Windows recent documents list, items on the desktop, Windows settings) are synchronized; but those items which are managed by programs (emails, the documents themselves) will not be synchronized.

    If I am right about that, then there are two ways that you can synchronize your documents: Put them in the cloud, or put them on the desktop.

    I am reminded of a concern I brought up a year or two ago -- is this synchronization process an intrusion on your privacy by Microsoft? If the desktop is synchronized, and if you store documents on your desktop, then those documents would in fact be stored on Microsoft's servers so that they can be pushed down to other installs of Windows 10 (or 8.1) that you log onto with your Microsoft account. However, the consensus, when I posted my concerns, was that there weren't any privacy concerns here, because Microsoft doesn't store your documents on their servers. I've never tested this to see if I am right, so I can't say for sure.

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    5 Star Lounger RockE's Avatar
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    I access most of my computers using local accounts. However, I use my Microsoft account to log into two of my Windows 10 Pro computers. Anything I want to access on both of those two machines I can simply save in OneDrive. Walking across the room to the other member of that "pair" allows me to access what I just saved. That's handy (but it's a game killer for anyone who is even the least bit paranoid).
    Last edited by RockE; 2017-01-23 at 17:45. Reason: typo

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    Administrator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockE
    I use my Microsoft account to log into two of my Windows 10 Pro computers. Anything I want to access on both of those two machines I can simply save in OneDrive. Walking across the room to the other member of that "pair" allows me to access what I just saved. That's is handy (but it's a game killer for anyone who is even the least bit paranoid).
    If you look up the meaning of paranoia you'll find something along the lines of 'an irrational and obsessive distrust of others'. As Microsoft won't confirm exactly what data is being slurped, only that it's being slurped, I doubt that people who are concerned about this think their distrust is either irrational or obsessive.

    Do you remember in Sept 2015 when Terry Myerson, Microsoft's Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group, stated publicly that:

    You are in control with the ability to determine what information is collected. (https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexp...3Mlx9lylVI2.97)
    It doesn't matter how many people try to put a positive spin on this.... it just isn't the case (as Microsoft later admitted), nor did he address the OneDrive issue reported in The Verge just prior to Myerson's statement:

    Elsewhere, Windows 10 seems to transmit information a server related to OneDrive even when the feature is disabled and logins are using a local account that isn't connected to a Microsoft Account. It's not clear what is being sent, but it's obvious that Microsoft needs to address this as transparently as possible. (http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/17/91...ivacy-concerns)
    IMO people who view Windows 10 with caution aren't "even the least bit paranoid"... just prudent.

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    5 Star Lounger RockE's Avatar
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    Well, defined that way, I'm extremely prudent I guess. Those two computers are on a separate LAN than my other computers, and use a separate ISP for Internet access. They are isolated from my other computers so that I am better able to study Windows 10, OneDrive, and other such Microsoft offerings. (I drink the Kool-Aid but only in a limited way.)
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