Once you’ve taken the wrapping paper off your new Windows 8.1 device, be it a tablet or PC, there are just a few steps to follow when you sign in for the very first time using a Microsoft account.

That account is the “key that unlocks your whole world of apps and services,” writes Brandon LeBlanc on the Windows Experience Blog.

If you have used Microsoft services like Xbox, Outlook.com, Hotmail, SkyDrive or Windows Phone, you’ve got a Microsoft account. It’s the email address you use to sign in to those services.

If you don’t have a Microsoft account, can’t remember it -- or if you want to make a fresh start, it’s easy to create a new account. LeBlanc recommends creating an Outlook.com account.

Among the reasons to do so: when you use an Outlook.com address as your Microsoft account, “all of your Microsoft services are connected, including Mail, Calendar, SkyDrive, Skype, and People,” he writes.

“If you want to use Outlook.com as your primary Microsoft account, but you already have an existing Microsoft account using a Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail address,” you can easily upgrade to a shiny new Outlook.com address, LeBlanc says. All you need to do is create an @outlook.com alias and make that your primary account.

Learn more about using Outlook.com with Windows here. And to read LeBlanc’s full post, head over to the Windows Experience Blog.

You might also be interested in: 

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff