Understanding Microsoft vs Office 365 Accounts #msftexpert #msftedu @microsoft_edu

When I first started working with Microsoft and Office 365 accounts, I was pretty ignorant. And, in my ignorance, I ended up creating free Microsoft accounts using my Office 365 account. That meant that I had TWO accounts associated with my Office 365 email--a Microsoft AND an Office 365 account.
Source: Unsplash photo by Anton Repponen


This became a problem because it meant that I had two Onedrive accounts, too. A Onedrive account with 5gig limit (Microsoft), and a second one with 1 terabyte limit (Office 365). I'm not the only one who did this. Several colleagues also accidentally created Microsoft accounts. In retrospect, it seems obvious. And, as I've now had the chance to facilitate Microsoft workshops across Texas, others have made the same mistake, ending up with multiple accounts and not knowing what to do about it.


1 - Clarifying Login Screens

One point to keep in mind is that logging in, Microsoft itself differentiates between screens. I'm sure there is a web page somewhere that highlights this difference. I didn't notice it until Lisa at a training in Kilgore, Tx pointed it out to me.

Microsoft Login - Access Your Personal Microsoft Account that is FREE:


You can see the login above by going to http://microsoft.live.com or http://login.live.com

Compare that login above with the one you see below.

Office 365 Login - Access Your Work Account (Not Free):

You'll find the login screen for a work account below...as you can see, where the free account shown above is represented in the center of the screen, the Office 365 account login screen below appears far right of the screen. Pretty simple difference, right? I never noticed it until someone pointed it out to me.


To get to the Office 365 login, you can use https://login.microsoftonline.com/ or https://portal.office.com

Now, what can be confusing is if you create a free Microsoft account using an Office 365 email. At that point, you start to get screens that ask you, "Which account do you want to login with?" when you enter your email address:



2 - What To Do If You Get the Screen Above?

If you are getting the screen shown above--featuring Office 365 account displaying two options for how you want to login, either Work/School OR Personal Account--then you may be in the same situation. Microsoft, considerate of your needs, will display this choice on every login.

To eliminate it, you will need to remove your free Microsoft account associated with your Work or School email account. Here's how I have begun the process:
  1. Backup your data from OneDrive in the accounts to remove. I recommend CloudHQ.net as a solution to quickly move content from OneDrive for Business (Office 365) to OneDrive (Microsoft) or vice versa.
  2. Go to http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=523898 and enter the Microsoft account username and password for the Microsoft account you want to remove.
  3. Follow the instructions.
  4. Your account will be removed in 60 days (and you can change your mind at anytime).

3 - But wait! I Accidentally Created My MS Education Account with Some Account

One of the mistakes my colleagues and I committed--not to mention other folks I've encountered--is that we all created our Microsoft Education Community account using one of these options but it was really the desired option. For example, we used Twitter or Facebook to create an account. Or, in my case, I used my Microsoft account associated with my GoogleSuite work email account. Now, I simply want to put them all together so that when I login in with my desired Office 365 account, all my stuff will be in one place.

When you try to join the Microsoft Education Community, you have lots of options:


 The Microsoft folks have been very helpful in combining accounts at places like Microsoft Education Community, which is where you go to access all their online professional learning options. To get their help, simply go to this web page for Support and click on the HELP button that appears at the bottom right corner:


You can see the orange button in the bottom right hand:

After clicking the button, you will see a window pop up that looks like this:

At this point you can write something like the following:
Hi, I have two (or three!) Microsoft Community Education accounts created. Could you combine them for me? Here are the accounts:
  • mguhlin@work.com (GoogleSuite based account)
  • mguhlin@work.onmicrosoft.com (Office 365 account)
  • mguhlin@work.onmicrosoft.com (Microsoft account associated with Office 365 email)
Please be aware that I will be using the Office 365 account as my primary login from this point forward. Thanks!
After a short time, they will let you know the status and then when it's done, what the disposition of your request is. My contact was fast and had a positive resolution!

Whew, it's been a long time that I've been wanting to write this set of information up. I know I'm not the only one who has suffered through this and I hope this will help someone else!


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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