Accounts + billing

Which Microsoft account should I use?

If you have more than one Microsoft account, you'll need to choose which one to use when you sign in to your new Windows Phone. Once you sign in, you can't easily change your mind (at least not without the risk of losing information or things you've bought). So you'll want to think carefully beforehand about how you use your accounts. Which one has information that's hardest to change? Have you spent money on something that you'd hate to lose? Will it be challenging to get friends to use a new address? And—best-case scenario—is it possible to change any of your accounts to use a new email address?

A wizard to help you choose

We've put together the Choose a Microsoft account wizard (English only) to help you sort out your choices, and in some cases even help you narrow down the number of email addresses you use into a single one.

Enter the email addresses for the accounts and services you use and we'll walk you through what you'll need to do to use just one for everything. We'll even give you a to-do list that you can print and check off as you go.

The tips below can also help you decide which one is best for your needs.

Tips for choosing between your accounts

If you can't use the Choose a Microsoft account wizard, here are some tips to help you decide which account you should use to sign in to your phone.

Can you change your email?

In some cases, it's possible to change the email address you use with a Microsoft account to one you already use with another Microsoft account. You can then access information for both accounts using the one address.

Here are the requirements for changing an email address associated with an account:

  • You need an Xbox console to change your account's email address.
  • You can only use the Xbox console to change an email address associated with a Microsoft account once every 30 days.

If those work for you, go to the Switch a gamertag to another Microsoft account topic to learn how to do it.

If you've had a Windows Phone before...

...chances are, you'll want to use the Microsoft account you used on your last Windows Phone. That way you can use any apps, videos, and music you've already bought using that account, plus keep your gamerscore and avatar if you used them on that phone.

In addition, if your last phone had Windows Phone 8 or Windows Phone 8.1, and if you sign in during the phone setup with the same Microsoft account you used on your old phone, you can install a backup from your old phone. This way you won't need to reinstall apps or set up accounts you had on your old phone. For more info about how to restore a backup, see Restore a backup to my phone.

If you sign in with the email address you use for Xbox...

...you'll get your gamerscore, avatar, and achievements on your phone, and you'll be able to play Xbox games with your friends. If you sign in with a different email address, you'll need to:

  • Create a new Xbox account using the new email address.
  • Re-buy anything you've bought that requires a specific Microsoft account to play, including accessories for your avatar, games, items in games, music, movies, and so on.
  • Reset your family and online safety settings.
  • Let your Xbox friends know you've changed your account.

To get help figuring out which email address and password you used to create your gamertag, see Find your Microsoft account email address or password on the Xbox support site.

If you sign in with the email address you use on Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8.1 tablets or PCs...

...your settings will roam. For example, if you change your theme color on your phone, it'll also change on your computer. For more info about what settings will roam and how to turn this on or off, see Sync my Windows Phone settings.

If you decide to change the email address you use on your Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8.1 device, you'll need to re-download or re-buy any apps you bought using the old account and connect the new account to your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts. For more information, see Windows support.

If you sign in with the email address you use for a Music account...

...you'll be able to play any music you've bought with that account, and get new music on your phone using your Xbox Music Pass. You'll also keep your playcounts, ratings, and anything you've bought using that account.

If you sign in with a different account, you'll need to use that account to create a new Xbox Music account. You'll also need to re-buy anything that requires a Microsoft account to play or watch. For more information about your Xbox Music account, see Xbox Music and Video help.

If you sign in with the email address you use for Skype...

...you'll get all of your Skype contacts and you'll be able to use Skype on your phone. If you sign in with a different account, you'll need to let your Skype contacts know to use the other email address, and you'll need to recreate your contact list with the new account.

If you sign in with the email address you use for OneDrive (formerly called SkyDrive)...

...you'll be able to get anything you've saved on OneDrive from the Office Hub, plus automatically upload photos and videos you take to your OneDrive account. You'll also get to keep your current sharing relationships if you have any.

If you sign in with a different account, you'll need to move the files you keep on OneDrive to the new account if you want to see them on your phone, and you'll need to set up new sharing relationships. For guidance on moving your OneDrive files, see OneDrive help.

If you have a Microsoft account that you use for email...

...you can always add it later, even if you sign in with a different Microsoft account. You'll still get your contacts and calendar, too.

However, there are some benefits to using the same email address for email that you use as your primary Microsoft account. For example, when you sign in on your Windows Phone and automatically upload your photos and videos to OneDrive, you can get to your OneDrive account on the web with the same address you use for email.

If you have an Office 365 account...

...good news: with Office 365, you can add more email addresses to your main account, so typically there's no need to change the primary email address.

If you're having trouble deciding between these accounts...

...you'll need to decide which one has the information you most want to preserve, or that you'd be most eager to use on your phone.

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