What is a local account?

If you've used previous Windows versions, such as Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7, a local account may be familiar to you. A local account is a simple combination of a username and a password you use to access your Windows 10 device. Having a password is optional, but you’ll need one if you want to prevent access from someone other than yourself.

A local account is different from a Microsoft account, but it’s OK to have both types of accounts. With a local account, you use your username and password to access only one device. While we encourage users to create a Microsoft account for the best experience in Windows 10, there are many reasons why you may choose to create a local account:

1. Control of your data and peace of mind: Some people prefer a more “locked-down” experience that gives them more control over their data. Local accounts do not include online functions like syncing between multiple Windows 10 devices.

2. Administrator access to your device: An administrator account is a type of local account that can access all the device resources. With an administrator account, you can install programs and create new users. It may also come in handy as backup in case an issue arises with your main account or if your device becomes compromised.

Think of an administrator account as the superintendent for an apartment complex. An administrator account has access to all the doors with a master key and can go in at any time.

When you create an administrator account, make sure you turn on Windows Security to add another layer of security to your device. It's free and already built in!

Local account example

3. A more simplified experience for everyday use: A standard local account is more secure and has fewer privileges than an administrator account. A standard account is like a guest key to a single apartment unit. Standard local accounts are the best option for everyday use and navigating the web.

Creating a local account

As you create an account, choosing a password and keeping it safe are essential steps. If you're on Windows 10 version 1803 or later, choose and answer three security questions to recover your password in case you forget it. Make sure you remember these hints or jot them down and keep them somewhere safe. Knowing the answers to your security questions ensures you never get locked out of your computer if you forget your password.

(Tip: Remember to update to the latest version of Windows 10 to get stability and security improvements. Watch Windows Security update video from Windows Update team to learn about its importance.)

1. Go to Settings > Accounts > Other users and select + Add someone else to this PC.

account settings

2. Follow the steps in the image below to create your local account.

create account

create an account

To give your new account administrator access, go back to Accounts and change the account type to Administrator.

change to administrator

Now you are ready to navigate and personalize your Windows 10 device. Windows 10 gives you more options for choosing between a Microsoft account and a local user account—or using both. Deciding which option is right for you depends on your goals and how you plan to use your device. Whatever you choose, we’ll always protect your data so that you can use your account worry-free.