[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 hotmail.com or outlook.com 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).
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 hotmail.com outlook.com, 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.