Switch a local account to a Microsoft account

With a Microsoft account, you get the best cloud-connected experience, free online storage, and more. Follow these steps to switch the local account on your Surface to a Microsoft account.

Applies to

Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2.

Applies to

Surface 3, Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro.

Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2.

Operating system:

When you use a Microsoft account to sign in to your Surface, you get cloud storage, entertainment and apps in the Windows Store, and you can connect your devices and accounts seamlessly.

Not sure if you have a Microsoft account?

If you’ve used Microsoft services in the past—like Xbox, Outlook.com, OneDrive or Skype—or if you use a phone running Windows, you already have a Microsoft account. It's the email address and password you use to sign in. If you can't remember the email address, that's okay—you can sign up for a new, free email address.

To check whether you're signed in with a Microsoft account

Step 1:  Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > Accounts > Your account.
Step 2: 

Look to see which kind of account you used to sign in:

  • A Microsoft account. If you're already signed in with a Microsoft account, your name and email address appear above your account picture.
  • A local account. If you're signed in with a local account, you'll see the words Local Account below your name, along with the Connect to a Microsoft account link.

Switch your local account to a Microsoft account

If you signed in to your Surface with a local account, there are a few ways to switch to a Microsoft account.

Step 1:  Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > Accounts > Your account.
Step 2:  Select Sign in with a Microsoft account.
You might have to verify your password.
Step 3:  Choose one of the following:

Option 1: Connect to an existing Microsoft account

Even if you didn’t sign in to your Surface with a Microsoft account, you might already have one if you use other Microsoft services like Xbox, Hotmail, Outlook.com or Skype. Your Microsoft account is the email address you use to sign in to those services.

Enter the email address and password you use to sign in to other Microsoft services, select Next, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Switch to a Microsoft account

Option 2: Sign up with the email address you use most often

If you haven’t used Microsoft services in the past, you can use any email address you want to sign up for a new Microsoft account, including addresses from Outlook.com, Yahoo! or Gmail.

To use your favourite email address:

Step 1: Enter the email address you want to use, and select Create a new account.
Step 2: Enter your personal and security info, and you're all set.
Set up a Microsoft account

Option 3: Get a new email address

If you want to get a brand-new email address to use as your Microsoft account, you can get one for free:

Step 1: Select Create a new account.
Step 2: Enter your personal and security info for a new email address, and you're ready to go.
Set up a Microsoft email address

What if you have more than one Microsoft account?

If you have more than one Microsoft account, you’ll need to choose one for your Surface.

For more info about Microsoft accounts, see Sign in with a Microsoft account.

If you’re new to Surface, check out this getting-started info:


When you use a Microsoft account to sign in to your Surface, you get cloud storage, entertainment and apps in the Windows Store, and you can connect your devices and accounts seamlessly.

Not sure if you have a Microsoft account?

If you’ve used Microsoft services in the past—like Xbox, Outlook.com, OneDrive or Skype—or if you use a phone running Windows, you already have a Microsoft account. It's the email address and password you use to sign in. If you can't remember the email address, that's okay—you can sign up for a new, free email address.

To check whether you're signed in with a Microsoft account

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and select Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the top-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and select Settings.)
Step 2:  Select Change PC settings > Accounts > Your account.
Step 3: 

See which kind of account you've used to sign in:

  • A Microsoft account. If you're already signed in with a Microsoft account, your name and email address appear above your account picture.
  • A local account. If you're signed in with a local account, you'll see the words Local Account below your name, along with the Connect to a Microsoft account link.

Switch your local account to a Microsoft account

If you've signed in to your Surface with a local account, there are a few ways to switch to a Microsoft account.

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and select Settings.
Step 2:  Select Change PC settings > Accounts > Your account > Connect to a Microsoft account.
You might have to verify your current password.
Step 3:  Choose one of the following:

Option 1: Connect to an existing Microsoft account

Even if you didn’t sign in to your Surface with a Microsoft account, you might already have one if you use other Microsoft services like Xbox, Hotmail, Outlook.com or Skype. Your Microsoft account is the email address you use to sign in to those services.

Enter the email address and password you use to sign in to other Microsoft services, select Next, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Switch to a Microsoft account

Option 2: Sign up with the email address you use most often

If you haven’t used Microsoft services in the past, you can use any email address you want to sign up for a new Microsoft account, including addresses from Outlook.com, Yahoo! or Gmail.

To use your favourite email address:

Step 1: Enter the email address you want to use, then select Create a new account.
Step 2: Enter your personal and security info, and you're all set.
Set up a Microsoft account

Option 3: Get a new email address

If you want to get a brand-new email address to use as your Microsoft account, you can get one for free:

Step 1: Select Create a new account.
Step 2: Enter your personal and security info for a new email address, and you're ready to go.
Set up a Microsoft email address

What if you have more than one Microsoft account?

If you have more than one Microsoft account, you’ll need to choose one for your Surface. To work out which Microsoft account to use, see Choose a Microsoft account.

For more info about Microsoft accounts, see What is a Microsoft account?

If you’re new to Surface, check out Get started with Surface RT or Surface 2.


When you use a Microsoft account to sign in to your Surface, you get cloud storage, entertainment and apps in the Windows Store, and you can connect your devices and accounts seamlessly.

Not sure if you have a Microsoft account?

If you’ve used Microsoft services in the past—like Xbox, Outlook.com, OneDrive or Skype—or if you use a phone running Windows, you already have a Microsoft account. It's the email address and password you use to sign in. If you can't remember the email address, that's okay—you can sign up for a new, free email address.

To check whether you're signed in with a Microsoft account

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the bottom-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up and click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings > Accounts > Your account.
Step 3: 

See which kind of account you've used to sign in:

  • A Microsoft account. If you're already signed in with a Microsoft account, your name and email address appear above your account picture.
  • A local account. If you're signed in with a local account, you'll see the words Local Account below your name, along with the Connect to a Microsoft account link.

Switch your local account to a Microsoft account

If you've signed in to your Surface with a local account, there are a few ways to switch to a Microsoft account.

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings.
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings > Accounts > Your account > Connect to a Microsoft account.
You might have to verify your current password.
Step 3:  Choose one of the following:

Option 1: Connect to an existing Microsoft account

Even if you didn’t sign in to your Surface with a Microsoft account, you might already have one if you use other Microsoft services like Xbox, Hotmail, Outlook.com or Skype. Your Microsoft account is the email address you use to sign in to those services.

Enter the email address and password you use to sign in to other Microsoft services, tap or click Next, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Switch to a Microsoft account

Option 2: Sign up with the email address you use most often

If you haven’t used Microsoft services in the past, you can use any email address you want to sign up for a new Microsoft account, including addresses from Outlook.com, Yahoo! or Gmail.

To use your favourite email address:

Step 1: Enter the email address you want to use, and tap or click Create a new account.
Step 2: Enter your personal and security info, and you're all set.
Set up a Microsoft account

Option 3: Get a new email address

If you want to get a brand-new email address to use as your Microsoft account, you can get one for free:

Step 1: Tap or click Create a new account.
Step 2: Enter your personal and security info for a new email address, and you're ready to go.
Set up a Microsoft email address

What if you have more than one Microsoft account?

If you have more than one Microsoft account, you’ll need to choose one for your Surface. To work out which Microsoft account to use, see Choose a Microsoft account.

For more info about Microsoft accounts, see What is a Microsoft account?

If you’re new to Surface, check out this getting started info:


When you use a Microsoft account to sign in to your Surface, you get cloud storage, entertainment and apps in the Windows Store, and you can connect your devices and accounts seamlessly.

Not sure if you have a Microsoft account?

If you’ve used Microsoft services in the past—like Xbox, Outlook.com, OneDrive or Skype—or if you use a phone running Windows, you already have a Microsoft account. It's the email address and password you use to sign in. If you can't remember the email address, that's okay—you can sign up for a new, free email address.

To check whether you're signed in with a Microsoft account

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the bottom-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up and click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings > Accounts > Your account.
Step 3: 

See which kind of account you've used to sign in:

  • A Microsoft account. If you're already signed in with a Microsoft account, your name and email address appear above your account picture.
  • A local account. If you're signed in with a local account, you'll see the words Local Account below your name, along with the Connect to a Microsoft account link.

Switch your local account to a Microsoft account

If you've signed in to your Surface with a local account, there are a few ways to switch to a Microsoft account.

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings.
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings > Accounts > Your account > Connect to a Microsoft account.
You might have to verify your current password.
Step 3:  Choose one of the following:

Option 1: Connect to an existing Microsoft account

Even if you didn’t sign in to your Surface with a Microsoft account, you might already have one if you use other Microsoft services like Xbox, Hotmail, Outlook.com or Skype. Your Microsoft account is the email address you use to sign in to those services.

Enter the email address and password you use to sign in to other Microsoft services, tap or click Next, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Switch to a Microsoft account

Option 2: Sign up with the email address you use most often

If you haven’t used Microsoft services in the past, you can use any email address you want to sign up for a new Microsoft account, including addresses from Outlook.com, Yahoo! or Gmail.

To use your favourite email address:

Step 1: Enter the email address you want to use, then tap or click Create a new account.
Step 2: Enter your personal and security info, and you're all set.
Set up a Microsoft account

Option 3: Get a new email address

If you want to get a brand-new email address to use as your Microsoft account, you can get one for free:

Step 1: Tap or click Create a new account.
Step 2: Enter your personal and security info for a new email address, and you're ready to go.
Set up a Microsoft email address

What if you have more than one Microsoft account?

If you have more than one Microsoft account, you’ll need to choose one for your Surface. To work out which Microsoft account to use, see Choose a Microsoft account.

For more info about Microsoft accounts, see What is a Microsoft account?

If you’re new to Surface, check out Get started with Surface RT or Surface 2.


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