Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Windows 8 user accounts: what is right for me?

  1. #1

    Windows 8 user accounts: what is right for me?


    Got Win8 RP up and running on my home PC on a separate partition from the main OS, WinXP x86. I was a little surprised at the request to log in with my Microsoft account (Windows Live) credentials. I understand that can be used to "sync" various things across devices, which could be handy, but I'm a little concerned about security and am wondering what's the best type of account for me and my wife to use.

    A little context: we have this one home-built desktop PC (WinXP Pro x86), and one Dell laptop (WinXP Pro x86). The Dell laptop is used pretty much strictly for web browsing and that's it. Sometimes a few pics or documents may be viewed on the laptop, but the data is all stored in shared folders on the desktop's data storage HDD (D: drive).

    The desktop is used for various things like finance work, office document work with OpenOffice, some photo editing work, web browsing, music with iTunes or WinAmp, light music file editing, burning CD's or DVD's, etc.

    Right now the desktop has a single Admin user with a password, and the laptop has a user with no password. Both my wife and I use both machines using the single user account on each. The laptop has some Firefox bookmarks added by both of us, and the desktop has the same.

    I was just reading earlier this week how it's better, especially in XP, to use a Normal user account for day to day stuff as opposed to Admin accounts, and so I was thinking of switching over and creating Normal user accounts for each of us, at least on the Desktop. But then I load Win8 where I sign in with my Microsoft credentials. My wife does not have a Microsoft account. When I check in Users, it says the user profile using my e-mail is an Administrator account.

    As I understand it, I can create "normal" (non-admin) accounts in Win8, but they will be local users only, and there would be no synchronizing of favorites, apps, etc. across devices. Now I haven't really decided yet if we need to have stuff sync'd between desktop and laptop. We do not have any tablets, and only have our two iPhones.

    So how can I create different user accounts, that could sync across devices if we decide to, but are not Admin accounts that could be vulnerable to attack? Does each user have to have a Microsoft account for this to work?

    My wife and I share a single iTunes account because we wanted to be able to share music and apps between our iPhones. I would think we would also want to share Microsoft apps, if we chose to go with Win8 and not Win7. I REALLLLLLY love Win7, but not so sure about 8 yet. Maybe we need to just continue using the same user account on both machines (tied to my Microsoft credentials), but how do I get it to not be an Admin account?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    As I understand it, I can create "normal" (non-admin) accounts in Win8, but they will be local users only, and there would be no synchronizing of favorites, apps, etc. across devices. Now I haven't really decided yet if we need to have stuff sync'd between desktop and laptop. We do not have any tablets, and only have our two iPhones.
    With respect to "normal" accounts, they can be standard accounts as well as administrative accounts. Within Vista, 7 and now 8, it's normal to have an account which escalates to admin privs when needed, but remains a normal account for all intents and purposes.

    The reason that you have to use a live account for the sync functionality is because the system uses the SkyDrive cloud system as the storage mechanism and synchronization mechanism. One point you may not understand, is that the synchronization is "only" between Windows 8 boxes....not to tablets, windows XP machines, or cell phones. So, if you have 2 Windows 8 computers, you could use the Live Account and then ensure that your favorites and color scheme remain the same between the two.


    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    So how can I create different user accounts, that could sync across devices if we decide to, but are not Admin accounts that could be vulnerable to attack? Does each user have to have a Microsoft account for this to work?
    Each person would have to use a Microsoft account. But it's not like your settings would go to your wife and her settings would go to you. You would each have an account on each PC, and when you log in, you get your settings and when she logs in she gets here settings. Her account is synced across devices she uses and yours is synced across devices that you use.

    Using a Live account is still a standard account which can escalate to admin when necessary. This really is what you want and the way nearly all of us run our systems.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Yeah I know it only syncs between Win8 machines. However isn't Win8 designed also as a tablet OS and so the settings would sync to a tablet running that OS also?

    Anyway, when Win8 was first setting up and asked me to sign in, I put in my email and Windows Live password. After everything was up and running I looked at the user accounts and it said the account associated with my email is an Administrator account. Is that how it's supposed to be?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 248
    Windows 8 RTM (Retinas taking damage...)


    Local Account. Always.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Yep, Windows 8 handles local and MA accounts. If you have a network connection when you initially set it up, it will ask your for your Windows Live account by default. Off network, it just does a local account.

    As for the sync settings, you can have your Desktop personalization settings from wallpaper, window color, Start Screen color and pattern as well as lock screen picture. Also, sound settings tend to sync over if that machine has those specific sound files on the drive. Also, you have your interwebster favorites sync over and app settings if you have those apps installed too. It's REAL handy when you beta test Windows and dual boot different preview builds as well as leaked builds!

    They will sync over regardless if you're using Windows 8 on a tablet or laptop or netbook or desktop or nettop. As for the phone part, unless if you have a Windows Phone, some settings do in fact sync over, except for personalization settings of course and interwebster favorites. I bet that will be Windows Phone 8. It's actually quite nice to have the Windows and Windows Phone pairing. A calendar or appointment you make on your phone syncs over to the Calendar app or Outlook. Neat.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    Anyway, when Win8 was first setting up and asked me to sign in, I put in my email and Windows Live password. After everything was up and running I looked at the user accounts and it said the account associated with my email is an Administrator account. Is that how it's supposed to be?
    On my Win8 RP machine, that I use at work and is joined to a domain. When I log in with my Live ID, and then go to Control Panel, User Accounts, and I click on Manage User Accounts, and I check the properties of my @Live account it's set for a standard user and not an administrator. This is further reinforced by the fact that whenever I click on any link with the UAC shield next to it, I'm prompted to provide the username/password of my domain account which IS a member of the local admins group.

    On a test laptop at work, running Win8RP, but is NOT on the domain, when I go to Change My Account type, it prompts me the credentials of my user1 account (which is the local admin user account, that I created when I set up the machine). Once I supply those credentials I can see that my @live account is set as a standard user.

    I suspect the very first account, be it local, domain or @live, is given the admin rights. Obviously you need at least 1 account which has admin level privs. From there on out, unless you change it, I suspect all additional accounts would be standard user account.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Windows 8 user accounts: what is right for me?
Related Threads
I have just put windows 8.1 on a new drive for a couple. The old drive has failed. I got the husband on and he has user-folders tied to his account, but when I added an account for his wife via control panel, nothing is showing for her when I go to Users. Does that person have to put their e-mail...
How to View Detailed Information About All User Accounts on a Windows PC This tutorial will show you how to quickly view detailed information about all user accounts on your Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 PC. Here's How: 1. Open a command prompt.
Solved User accounts on a Tablet (full Windows 8.1) in BSOD Crashes and Debugging
I was successful to create another user account than mine, hotmail based too. Then I disactivated Skydrive in the registry according to the following. How to Get Rid of SkyDrive in Windows 8.1 Explorer It does the same as this tutorial but set the value at 0 rather than f090004d....
Solved Windows 8.1 user accounts in User Accounts and Family Safety
I have installed the Windows 8.1 update on two computers; one requires a password to login which I have changed to a PIN, the other logs in with no password. How can I log in without a password or pin on the computer set to do so as control userpasswords2 will not let me change the password or...
Windows 8 user accounts in User Accounts and Family Safety
I have 6 windows 8 laptops for my students and I'm beyond exhausted for dealing with the poorly thought out consequences for the end user and the priorities of the end user. I spent forever unistalling the junk and distractions as an administrator for these laptop. I also spent forever putting...
Eight Forums Android App Eight Forums IOS App Follow us on Facebook