Types of Account

Do you know which kind of account you use to log in to your computer? There are three types and they each have different functionality.

The local account belongs to the computer, the personal account belongs to an individual, and the work or school account belongs to an organisation.

Here’s a quick explanation of what that means.

Local Login

The local login is an account that is purely on the computer itself. This account type isn’t accessible anywhere else, and any files or settings are only available on that computer unless manually transferred elsewhere.

This is how home computers used to work by default but is now rarely used as it’s tied to a specific machine, which will eventually be replaced.
Nowadays this kind of account is most often used for an admin account intended purely for configuring the computer. For security purposes it’s generally recommended to have a local login with admin access instead of having admin access on the main account you intend to use on that computer.

Personal Account

The personal account adds some of the broader online functionality to the account. However, since it’s not designed for work, you won’t have access to everything you would get with the work or school account. Personal accounts are either tied to an existing email address or have the user create one when the account is set up.

Personal accounts can be used to log into any Windows computer, allowing the user to retain custom settings regardless of which computer they are using. OneDrive can be used to make files accessible across multiple computers.

Work or School Account

In additional to being available online, the work or school account is managed by an organisation. Giving a business or school control over the account makes it more practical to configure the adding of new staff or removing a person’s account if they leave. Unlike a personal account, a work or school account is generally in existence only for as long as the person it is set up for attends the school or works at the company.

These accounts are provided through an online active directory called Azure, and then assigned Microsoft 365 Business licences.

Work or school accounts have licences assigned by the organisation, and those control what functionality they have, which can include: Individual mailboxes, access to group mailboxes, and file storage via Sharepoint. These features are some of the benefits using Microsoft 365 Business has over 365 Home.

It’s possible to have both a personal account and a work or school account with the same email address, in which case you’ll be asked to specify which one it is when logging in. These are functionally two completely separate accounts. They each come with some storage space associated with them via Microsoft OneDrive, for storing personal files such as music or work files such as reports that aren’t ready to go company-wide, respectively.

Keep an eye out for our next article, in which we explain how small businesses can get the most out of a Microsoft 365 Business licence.

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