FAQs

How do I create a Microsoft account?

To create a Microsoft account, visit the sign-up page , provide an email address and just a bit more information (to verify that it’s you), and add a password.

Or, if you already use an email and password to sign in to Outlook.com, Hotmail, Skype, Xbox Live, OneDrive, Outlook.com or Bing, you already have a Microsoft account. Microsoft account is the new name for what was formerly called Windows Live ID.

You can continue to use your current Microsoft account, or you can start fresh with a new email and password — your choice.

How is a Microsoft account different from a Windows Live ID?

Microsoft account is the evolution of what we used to call Windows Live ID. When you connect a device or service to your Microsoft account, you automatically get a set of cloud services, including a contact list, calendar, Inbox, instant messaging, and cloud storage. These services connect to your PC and your Windows Phone, and they’re accessible from any web browser. Because these services are a part of your Microsoft account, they are shared across all Microsoft products and services. For example, your contact list is shared across Windows Phone, Windows 8, Hotmail, and OneDrive, so when you add a contact in one place, it shows up on all of your other devices and services. You can read more about this transition on the Building Windows 8 blog.

What happened to my Windows Live ID?

It’s still there for you! It’s just evolving, so it has a new name. If you already have a Windows Live ID account to sign in to Outlook.com, Hotmail, Skype, Xbox Live, OneDrive or Bing, you already have a Microsoft account. That is because Microsoft account is the evolution of what we used to call Windows Live ID. So, whether your Microsoft account ends in @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, @skype.com, or another Microsoft service, you have a Microsoft account and do not need to change your email address to benefit from it.

What if I currently use more than one Windows Live ID?

If you use more than one email address to sign in to services and devices from Microsoft (for example, you use one email address for Hotmail, and Xbox Live, and you use another for OneDrive or for your Windows 8 PC) we suggest that you choose one address for everything so that you can enjoy the convenience of having all your info and settings available, regardless of where you sign in. We can help you figure out which of your accounts to use. It depends on what’s easiest to change and what you’re most attached to. We may even be able to help you switch the email address you use with certain services. To get started, launch the Account Wizard.

What if I use a different email and password across different Microsoft services?

If you use more than one email address to sign in to services from Microsoft (for example, one for Hotmail, and OneDrive, and a different one for Xbox Live), we recommend that you choose just one. This way, your photos can follow you from your PC to your phone. And there are many more benefits of a connected experience. We may even be able to help you switch the email address you use with certain services. To get started, launch the Account Wizard.

How do I use the money associated with my Microsoft account to purchase apps, games, movies, and more?

After you’ve added a payment method (such as a credit card, bank account, or Microsoft gift card) to your Microsoft account, it’s easy to buy what you want. Use your Windows phone, tablet, PC, or Xbox from any Microsoft participating store. Choose the app, game, or other content you want, and then, to complete your purchase, select a payment option.

How can I see a list of my recent transactions?

You can see a list of all of your Microsoft purchases, refunds, and subscriptions on your account transactions page.

How do I redeem a Windows or Xbox gift card?

After you have an active Microsoft account, you can redeem a Microsoft gift card to it, either through your Xbox console, your Windows Phone, or online. (On the left nav, click Payment options, click Microsoft account, and then click Redeem Microsoft gift card.) After you redeem your gift card, the entire value of the card is transferred to your Microsoft account. You can then use the money associated with your Microsoft account to purchase apps, games, videos, and other digital content at Windows Phone, Windows, Xbox Games, and Xbox Video stores . Please note that the card or code may provide additional instructions on redemption, and it may be subject to additional terms and conditions, as provided with the card or code.

NOTE You can only redeem gift cards to a personal Microsoft account (not to a business or corporate account).

How do I manage personal information on my account?

You can change your name, personal details, marketing preferences, security, and contact/billing information on your Microsoft account. Sign in to the account and, to manage your information, visit the basic info, billing info, aliases, and security pages.

Where can I find more help and how-to info for my Microsoft account?

For Microsoft account matters, including privacy and safety info, or for details about adding friends and resetting passwords, visit the Help & How-to page.