How to sign in to Windows 11 with your Microsoft 365 Business account (and why you should)

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When you set one up new computer At home or in a small office, the Windows Setup program encourages you to use a Microsoft account. For most people, it is the right choicealthough you still have the option to log in with a local account if you want.

If your computer is managed by your employer and if your employer has paid for Microsoft 365 enterprise account, you may have another option — sign in Windows 11 with your business email address. That option is also applicable if you’re self-employed, in which case you’re both the user and the administrator. Advantages include 1TB of OneDrive for Business online storage, with granular control over file access and easy collaboration using Office apps. More importantly, that account allows you to use a custom domain email address, instead of using a generic address.

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But keep in mind, the line between consumer and Microsoft 365 business accounts is more like a demilitarized zone. By definition, consumer accounts are unmanaged. You can share your account with up to five other family members, but they manage their accounts and you don’t have any access to their files or emails.

Business accounts, on the other hand, are designed for employee or student use. You have some control over your account, but your organization’s admin controls what you can and cannot do with your account. Microsoft 365 Business dashboards are designed for experienced administrators. For the average small business owner, trying to manage a one-person organization can be intimidating and the options can be overwhelming.

Also: How to downgrade from Windows 11 to Windows 10 (there’s a catch)

Non-technical customers will have the best results working with a partner who can handle those administrative tasks. But if you have enough experience with Microsoft enterprise infrastructure and don’t mind rolling up your sleeves, you can do it all yourself.

To log on to Windows, you need to have Import ID (formerly Azure Active Directory) associated with your business. You also need to be running Windows 10 or 11 Pro on the client. Windows Home edition will not work with Entra ID logins. Next, you’ll need to create what Microsoft calls a Work or School Account (with your custom Microsoft 365 domain) instead of using a free Microsoft account. That account logs into the Entra ID infrastructure for your organization’s custom domain.

Also: Windows 11 setup: Which type of user account should you choose?

You can link your Entra ID account to Windows when you first sign in, which is probably the easiest option. If you’re signed in with a Microsoft account, go to Settings > Accounts > Access Work or School. In the ‘Add work or school account’ section, click Connect. Enter your business email address and make sure you set up your account as an Administrator. Sign out and then sign back in using the ‘Other account’ option instead of your Microsoft Account.

If you need more help with Microsoft 365, see the article “What is Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365)? Everything you need to know.


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