Simple questions: What is a Microsoft account (Outlook, Xbox, Skype)?

Are you using operating systems from Microsoft like Windows 10 or Windows 8.1? Are you using Office 365 or OneDrive? Do you have an Xbox console? Do you use Skype? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, chances are that you have a Microsoft account. You may call it in a different way but in Microsoft’s dictionary, your account is a Microsoft account. In this article, we explain what a Microsoft account is, how to figure out if you have a Microsoft account and the benefits of using this account:

What is a Microsoft account?

A Microsoft account is an ID composed of an e-mail address and password, which you can use to login to Microsoft websites, services, operating systems and properties such as: Windows 10 or Windows 8.1, Xbox, Skype, Office 365, OneDrive, Windows 10 Mobile or Windows Phone 8.1, the Windows Store, Bing, MSN and Outlook.com. The Microsoft account used to be called “Windows Live ID”.

If you already use an email address and password to sign into Microsoft devices and services like the ones shared earlier, then you already have a Microsoft account.

Do you have to have a Microsoft e-mail address for your Microsoft account?

Many people assume that, in order to have a Microsoft account, you need to have an e-mail address with one of Microsoft’s email services like outlook.com, hotmail.com or live.com. While this is definitely what Microsoft wants, it’s not mandatory. You can register a Microsoft account without having an e-mail address from outlook.com, hotmail.com or live.com. For example, you can create a Microsoft account using an email service like Gmail or Yahoo.

What are the benefits of using a Microsoft account?

There are benefits to having a Microsoft account and they grow the more you use Microsoft’s products and services. Here are some of the most obvious:

  • You can use it to sign in into computers and devices with Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 and have your settings synchronized across devices (including smartphones)
  • You can use Cortana on your Windows 10 computers and devices (including smartphones)
  • You can download and install apps and content from the Windows Store, on computers and devices with Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 (including smartphones)
  • You can use your Microsoft account to sign in into Xbox consoles, purchase games and communicate with others
  • You can use Office apps and services like Office 365
  • You can use Skype for text, audio and video chat
  • You get free online storage on OneDrive
  • You can get a free email account if you prefer Microsoft’s email services
  • You can sign into Bing and get access to personalized data
  • You can get personalized news and content from MSN.com
  • You can use any consumer oriented product from Microsoft, including but not limited to Bing Maps, Microsoft Groove and more.

How to create a Microsoft account

You can create a Microsoft account in many ways and most users will create it from an operating system like Windows 10 or Windows 8.1. However, you can also create it straight from a web browser and then use it to sign into all of Microsoft’s services and devices. We have a separate step-by-step guide which explains everything you need to know, including how to create a Microsoft account without using an e-mail address from Microsoft: How to create a Microsoft account with or without a Microsoft e-mail address.

Do you have a Microsoft account?

Before you close this article, let us know whether you have a Microsoft account and if you are using a Microsoft email address with it, or a personal one. Also, which Microsoft products and services do you use it for?