A Microsoft account?

[Updated 15/01/15] If you have Windows 8 (or a Windows phone) and you want to use Windows to its full capacity including getting apps from the Windows Store you’re going to need a free “Microsoft account”, basically this just equates to a or email address, note that you don’t need to use this as your primary email (or use it at all beyond just getting access to the store and logging on to your PC).

Logging on to Windows in versions 8 and later now utilizes a "cloud" based logon name for example This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to tie all the accounts and services to you as the user and also gives you the ability to log on to multiple computers or devices. You can, if you chose, still use a traditional "local account" and in fact I always recommend another local administrator account so that your always covered if you can't logon via your normal account. However if for some reason you chose to set yourself up to use a "local" account initially it will pretty soon convert to a Microsoft account anyway (or at least try) as soon as you connect to various services. That can be pretty confusing so its best to start out the right way from the beginning, so setup your Microsoft account first before you even turn-on your new PC, tablet or phone.

Just a note if you logon in a business setting either via a domain or even peer to peer things are little different. In a domain you logon as the domain user and can then optionally "connect" the Microsoft account to the domain logon, peer to peer needs a bit more planning.

A Microsoft account is basically an email address and password. The good news is you probably already have one. If you use Microsoft services like, Xbox, or SkyDrive/OneDrive, the email address and password you already use is your Microsoft account. You don't have to do anything else to get one. Just use that Microsoft account to sign in to your Windows 8 PC, tablet or phone, and you'll get free online storage, apps in the Windows Store, access to Xbox music* (on windows 8). You can also use your Microsoft account to synchronize your photos, documents and files to and from One drive to whatever devices you sign in from, on your phone, laptop, and tablet.

Here is the link to signup if you don't have one already:


  • Setting you the account is free however once you have the account setup and if you want to purchase apps for your shiny new PC or tablet then you will also need to add your credit card details (only required if you want apps that cost money).
  • If you do logon with a domain account you can "connect" your Microsoft account to the domain account as well.
  • I suggest you do NOT chose to save all your files to one drive by default, firstly its a bad idea and secondly Microsoft has realized its a bad idea and that concept has been depreciated in windows 10 which is in public beta as of the date this was written. See a screen shot here about where you get asked that question.


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Telstra offers new contract that allows an upgrade after a year.

One of the great things about having a mobile phone on a contract is that you get a shiny new phone for free*every time you renew your contract. The problem is that on a standard 24 month contract with Telstra that only happens (obviously) every 24 months and in 2 years your phone is so out of date it feels like you're making a call with a baked-bean can and a piece of string compared to what's currently available.

Shortly, Telstra will be offering an option to upgrade half way through the contract to a new phone, it does cost extra for the privilege and looks like you have to return the old phone "undamaged and in good working order". (I'm not too sure what that means, as always check the fine print)

See the link below for more details and check it out before you purchase your next phone under contract (preferably a Windows phone):–-but-you-pay-for-it


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Looking for a low cost (but still great) smart phone?

Nokia-Lumia-520-front-pngThere is a newish, low cost Windows phone out, the Nokia Lumia 520 for $179 (no contract, not locked)

It has a great Sat-navigation included for free plus you get your email on your phone and all the other things you would expect. The only limitation with windows phone is the "smaller" apps like Westfield shopping guide or blue mountains tourist info at aren't typically available for windows phone but hopefully this will come in the future, and all the everyday staples are well provided for with the exception of Google services.

For $179 outright purchase price that's pretty cheap for a 4" screen size smartphone device with:

  • phone
  • Sat-navigation
  • music player (ipod)
  • PDA (email, calendar, contacts)
  • basic camera
  • game console
  • video player
  • MS office mobile
  • eBook reader
  • Audio book player
  • and its expandable by MicroSD card for those really big music, photo or video collections.

Things have come a long way in recent years once upon a time you had to buy all these devices separately, that's a lot of functionality for a pretty small price.

This is a great phone if you don't want to spend too much (for a personal prepaid phone account for example) and great for teenage kids as well (these are very tough and relatively inexpensive).

If you want a high end device, windows phone comes in higher price tags as well for such features as wireless charging, up to 6" display, and massive 41mp digital camera.

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Microsoft buys Nokia

When Microsoft announced that it was going to become a "device and services" company a while back they didn't have any devices and their services certainly weren't well known or well supported.

Now with Office 365, Azure, the Microsoft surface (surface 2 hopefully being released on October 18) they really have reinvented themselves.

Windows PC's still represent 90 something percent of all PC's. To put this in perspective, Windows 8, which was released less than a year ago accounts for more "PC's" world wide than all the Apple "PC's" on the planet put together (yes that's JUST windows 8).

As if that wasn't enough Microsoft have announced today they have done some shopping and bought Nokia (Subject to all the legal stuff) for 7.2 billion US$. With windows phone climbing in market share each month and the Nokia Lumia 1020 flagship camera/phone kicking everything else on the market. (photos from the phone about to appear in national geographic) it will be interesting to see what happens next.


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Paul Thurrott’s Free Windows Phone 8 book

Paul Thurrott’s Windows Phone 8 eBook is complete and available for free at the following location. If you’re a Windows Phone user get your 600+ pages of Windows Phone goodness at the link below.

Thanks Paul!


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Nokia 1020 smartphone with 41 Megapixel camera

Once again leading the rest of the world in smartphone technology another windows phone has had its product launch in the last couple of weeks.

The Nokia 1020 is on its way, complete with 41 Megapixel camera, yes 41mp!

It’s hard to believe not only is it an extremely high resolution image but the excellent quality sensor, low light capability and image stabilisation make this not only unique but so far ahead of the rest it’s hard to believe and that’s not only the camera either. Even my Nokia 920 has wireless charging as standard, NFC (Near Field Communication to allow for visa payments via paywave/EFTPOS), it even works with gloves (for the ski field) and has a host of other unique features.


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