New phone?

Which Microsoft account should I use?

If you have more than one Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID), you’ll need to choose which one to use when you sign in to your phone. Once you sign in, you can't easily change your mind (at least not without the risk of losing information or purchases). 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 using one that you’d hate to lose? Do all of your friends know you by just one? And is it possible to combine any of your options into a single account?

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 accounts you use into a single one.

Enter the email addresses for the accounts you use and we'll walk you through what you'll need to do to use just one for all of your accounts (including your phone). 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 into 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.
  • If you've ever used your email account to buy something from a Microsoft service, like the Windows 8 Store, Windows Phone Store, Xbox Marketplace, or Zune, you can't change it to another email account that you've also used to buy something from a Microsoft service.
  • You can only use the Xbox console to change an email address associated with a Microsoft account once every 30 days.

If you meet all of these requirements, go to Xbox support and scroll down to Can I switch my gamertag to a different Microsoft account? to learn how to do it.

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

…your best bet is 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.

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 account, you'll need to use that account to create a new Xbox account to use on your phone. To get help figuring out which email address and password you used to create your gamertag, see Find the Microsoft account I used to create my gamertag.

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

...you'll be able to play any music you've bought with those accounts, and get new music on your phone using your Xbox Music Pass. If you sign in with a different account, you'll need to use that account to create a new Xbox Music account.

If you sign in with the email address you use for Messenger…

…you'll get all of your Messenger contacts and you'll be able to use instant messaging (IM) on your phone. If you sign in with a different account, you'll need to let your Messenger contacts know to use the other account if you want to IM them from your phone, and you'll need to recreate your contact list with the new account.

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

...you'll be able to get anything you've saved on SkyDrive from the Office Hub, plus automatically upload photos and videos you take to your SkyDrive account. If you sign in with a different account, you'll need to move the files you keep on SkyDrive to the new account if you want to see them on your phone.

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.

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 use on your phone.

Related topics

Tell us what you think