What is a Microsoft Account?

Customer’s frequently ask me, “What is my Microsoft Account?”. So I thought I would explain with this simple little post.

A Microsoft Account is the generic name given to ALL Microsoft’s services and is used to access thsose services, so if you have OneDrive, Office365, Hotmail, Microsoft Live, Outllook.com, Skype, or Xbox Live then you have a Microsoft Account.

Now we have got that out of the way, I would like to disperse a few myths about a Microsoft Account:

  • You don’t need to setup a new email address to have a Microsoft Account you can use your own pre-existing email address.
  • The same email address will be used to access all these services, you don’t need to create different account details.
  • Yes Microsoft bought out Skype Inc. So if you have an old Skype account you can merge this with your Microsoft Account and then use your Microsoft Account to login to Skype but you do get to keep your Skype name.

Now for some top tips

  • Always set your security info with a telephone number preferably a mobile so that you can easily unlock your account if you forget your password.
  • Login to https://account.live.com to access your account details, security info, billing, subscriptions, etc.
  • If you own a smartphone consider installing the Microsoft Account Authenticator [Google Play] [Apple App Store]. This app lets you quickly and securely verify your identity online, this way more easier and very simple to setup (see video below)

If you have any questions about how to setup a Microsoft Account or securing it, then comment in the box below.

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How To Get Windows 10

Microsoft have now announced how end users can obtain an upgrade to the new Windows 10 Operating System. The new release will be on July 29th 2015 as a free download for anyone running Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 and will only be available for 1 year.

If you are still running Windows XP then you will not be eligible to upgrade and you would have to purchase a license. Windows 10 Home will set you back $119 (just over £77 under the current exchange rate), and Windows 10 Pro will cost you $199 (just over £129). However please note, these are just US pricing and there are no current UK or international pricing at time of writing this article.

How Do I Get Windows 10

If you can remember the article I wrote about “GWXconfigmanager Linked to Windows Patch KB3035583“? Well this is where it now comes into play. In order to get Windows 10 (code-named: GWX) you must have this patch installed, next you have to “reserve” your copy to be entitled to it, here is your To-Do list:-

  • First, you must be running Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.1, and you must have installed the Windows update KB3035583, which you can check yourself in your Add/Remove programs > View Installed Updates
  • In your system tray (the lower right corner near your clock) you should see a new icon displaying the Windows logo.GWX - Get Windows 10
  • Click that icon, and a window will pop-up that explains how the free upgrade works. Once it’s available, Windows 10 will automatically download onto your PC. You’ll need approx. 3Gb of hard drive space and a good Internet connection, you will receive a notification after the download is complete. Meanwhile, you can scroll through the various screens of the GWX window to read more about the new OS.

GWX1 - ScreenshotGWX2 - ScreenshotGWX3 GWX4 - Screenshot GWX5 - Screenshot GWX7 - Screenshot

  • When you’re done, simply click the button to reserve your free upgrade.
    The reservation screen asks for your email address so you can receive the notification. Enter your email address and click the Send confirmation button. You can now close the GWX window.


  • Should you change your mind and wish to cancel the reservation, just click the Get Windows 10 icon again. Click the menu bars in the upper left corner to display the options and click the link for View Confirmation. Then click the link to Cancel reservation and click the button for Cancel reservation to confirm your choice.

What You Need to Know!

Please be advised, by opting to install Windows 10 I would strongly advise you follow these tips:-

  • Backup your essential data BEFORE installing the upgrade.
  • Check with your software and hardware manufacturers that the kit you have is compatible with Windows 10.
  • Make sure the specification of your PC meets the requirements for the new OS.

For further support on upgrading to Windows 10 please contact us on support@rlscomputers.co.uk.

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Coming to grips with Windows 8.1 in a new computer – A Customers Prospective

We ask our customer’s for feedback, and sometimes they give it, and sometimes that feedback warrants a public discussion. In this case the customer makes some very valuable observations in to Microsoft Windows 8.1 and how the interface has become more complex than simplified. What are your views?

The lovely chap who runs RLS Computer Services seems to think a few notes on the journey taken by an ordinary, non-expert PC user, while coming to grips with Windows 8.1 in a new computer, might be of interest to someone. So here goes.

Some of the changes still strike me as bizarre. Why do we have pretty pictures in boxes (yes, I know — apps) lurking in a “Start” that in my mind actually feels not like a start area but somewhere in the back of my computer, instead of plain old program names listed easily where one can see them? Even now I haven’t found an “All Programs” (surely it’s somewhere?) although the Windows Help pages assume there is still an initial “Start > All programs” instruction.

Most of my problems are due to my being blind or silly, and I solve them eventually myself. The “Mail” email program was a pain — for example I couldn’t print an excerpt, only a whole email — so we swapped that for “Windows Live Mail”. At first I raged against the loss of the old “address book”, and fought my way through the complicated process of searching, editing, copying (I couldn’t) addresses through “Start > People” etc , until one day I suddenly realised “Contacts” was right there on the bottom left of my screen. Duh. On the other hand, so is “Recovered items” — and that baffles me. I had been thrilled to find it: occasionally while writing an email I have touched something mysterious (I’ve never known what) and the whole thing has vanished in a flash. Gone! Where? Aha, maybe this is where I can find it, except that there are only files with a date and a strange number that I can’t see a way to open. I’ve combed through the online Help sites without success — so far.

Similarly, I missed having the old “Undo” arrow, until discovering I should know about Ctrl+Z. But why not simply include it in the quick access toolbar? I can no longer prompt Send or Receive, but have to wait for the program to do it. What is the difference between “Sent” and “Sent items”? Is “Sent” the old Outbox? And what is “Trash” versus “Junk”? Is Trash something I should be using for my own purposes? These seem to be questions that are too simple to appear on help pages. But some of us are simple.

A newcomer will probably find their way easily through all this “progress”, but to us older users (who have managed to evolve from manual typewriters through an awful lot of changes that would once have seemed pure magic) some of the innovations feel more, not less, complicated. For example, when copying from a removable disk I always end up using “location of choice” because I now find it hard to pin down the particular folder I want in my PC Documents and not in “OneDrive”, where it always wants to go. And why can I no longer see an option to send (or cut or copy) a web page, either as a page or a link?

I’ll get there. Many changes are rather nice: the layers of mail pages at the bottom of the screen, the panel that floats in from the top corner (if you get your cursor just right) that allows you quick access to help on the web. It’s just that there are moments when I spend more time working out how to tackle a detail than actually getting the job done…


Mrs S Hamilton, King’s Lynn

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