With Windows 8.1, Microsoft appears to be pushing users even harder towards signing in with a Microsoft account rather than a local user account.

My Microsoft account has a secure (long, hard to type/remember) password, which is fine when I'm logging in to a website because my password manager helps - but that's no good for logging into Windows. I don't want to make my Microsoft account less secure just to log onto Windows more easily.

Ideally I'd like a short/insecure Windows login password which takes me to an account associated with my Microsoft account. Is there a way to achieve this?

  • No if you want a short password don't link your local account to a Microsoft account
    – Ramhound
    Oct 7 '13 at 10:04
  • Thanks, Ramhound - unfortunately it appears that you're right! Oct 7 '13 at 16:25
  • I don't believe even if Microsoft wanted to allow this they could. The actual user profile when a Microsoft Account is linked is unique. This means the actual password to that profile is the Microsoft Account's password. The original unlinked user profile technically exists.
    – Ramhound
    Oct 7 '13 at 16:32
  • I may be missing something, but they are effectively allowing access to the user profile using PIN or picture password as alternatives aren't they? Oct 8 '13 at 12:25
  • They are able to do that because you also store the Microsoft Account password in the registry hive and the PIN or picture password is used only to access the computer. I should point out that this isn't specifically unique to Windows 8.1 either. the behavior hasn't change since the intial windows 8 release.
    – Ramhound
    Oct 8 '13 at 12:37

I've found a couple of options, neither ideal:

  1. Use a picture password
  2. Use a PIN

Frustratingly, PINs are limited to 4 digits. It's a shame (in my opinion) that Microsoft didn't add a 'Use a simple password' option too for exactly my scenario - but I assume that having two passwords would be too confusing.

  • windows+r
  • netplwiz
  • highlight the user account you want to sign in with
  • uncheck user must enter a name and password to use this computer
  • when dialogue box pops up enter your password twice, apply then reboot.

IF you are using a Microsoft login, change the user name in the dialogue box to your XXX@live.com or XXX@hotmail.com etc, whatever your Microsoft login is and then enter the password twice and apply/reboot.

I looked for a while and tried the above steps without changing the user name to my Microsoft email login name and had no luck, but after using the login credentials like you would to login to Microsoft.live.com it works.

  • 1
    This doesn't give a simple password for a Microsoft login though, does it? Surely it just removes the need to type in any password, which is not what I'm after. Oct 23 '13 at 7:56

After setting my Win8 account, I changed my Microsoft account password. The password of Win8 stayed the same. It might be a fluke, might be worth a try to see if you can repeat this.

  • It's a nice find, but I'd advise against doing so; you never know when Microsoft might notice and/or change that behaviour. In other words, you're just going to get frustrated when your trusty old password no longer unlocks your PC.
    – Nolonar
    Mar 11 '14 at 22:48
  • Doesn't work in Windows 10... Jun 28 '15 at 22:29

Join your computer to an active directory. (Your place of employment might already have one)

If you are savvy enough to setup your own personal LDAP server and authenticate against that, you can use whatever password you want with the LDAP server and still have it linked to your Microsoft account.

(Also if it's a laptop, don't worry. Cached credentials will ensure that as long as you have access to the server once a month or so while logging in, you don't have to be connected to the active directory to log in)



In command line run control userpasswords2

Untick "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer."

Enter your current password

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