Changing Primary Microsoft Account on Windows 8.1

My wife is taking over my Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch laptop. She needs a laptop, and she really likes the X1 (which is still quite new).  I’m getting the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 10 in a few days, and the Surface Pro 3 in a couple of weeks (I sold the Surface Pro 2 to a co-worker), and how many tablet/laptops can I use in one day? (You’d be surprised, but that’s another story).

The OS on the X1 is Windows 8.1. You usually log in to that OS using your Microsoft account. I wanted to change the Microsoft account used for log in from mine to hers. This way she can access her OneDrive, her DropBox, etc. rather than mine. However, I did not want to have to reinstall all of the apps (Outlook, Adobe Acrobat, Visual Studio), as you used to have to do when changing user profiles in Windows 7 and earlier.

The process is generally described in the answer in this Microsoft Community forum thread. Basically, there are two steps:

  1. Switch the existing primary Microsoft account (mine in this case) to a local user account. The forum thread is a bit brief on how to do this, but Quick Tip: Change Microsoft live to a local account in Windows 8.1 illustrates (literally) how.
  2. After logging on under the newly-created local user account, switch that account to the new primary Microsoft account (my wife’s in this case) per the instructions in Step 2 of the forum thread. Then restart the computer, and login using the new primary Microsoft account.

Worked smoothly, and  I did not have to reinstall any apps. Of course, I have to change the email accounts in Outlook, but so far, that’s it.

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