Windows Live ID is a single sign-on service from Microsoft that allows people to log into many websites and services with one account. A Windows Live ID is an email address and a password stored in Microsoft’s servers. It’s free.

Most people will have a single Windows Live ID. I’m setting them up routinely for each employee in my clients’ offices.

More services are being added all the time. Almost all of them are free. They are increasingly tied together so that access to them is easy. This includes instant messaging (Windows Live Messenger), file syncing and sharing (Live Mesh), online file storage and sharing (Windows Live Skydrive), online photo sharing (Windows Live Photo Gallery), and more.

If you don’t yet have a Windows Live ID, follow this process. I’m including a couple of extra steps that will save you time later.

Go to this site and click on Sign up on the left.

Use your regular email address.

Choose a safe password. Put it somewhere secure. Remember it.

    • (If you’re already got a Windows Live ID for the email address, you’ll find that out when you leave the signup screen. If so, you’ll have to figure out what the password is, or reset it.)

You’ll get an email asking you to verify the email address. Follow the instructions – you’ll click the link in the message, then go through a couple of very short screens online.

Go to

Click on “Registered information


Enter first and last name

Enter birth date (apparently required, but you don’t have to tell the truth as long as you make yourself an adult)

Change home and work country to NONE

Change home and work country back to United States. Each one should now have extra lines for addresses. They can be left blank.

The page for “Registered Information” will look like this – on the left when you arrive, on the right when you’re done.

windowsliveid2    windowsliveid3

Click SAVE

You should now see your name and Country/Region: United States on the front page.

You’re done!

When you’re prompted for your Windows Live ID and you’re sitting at your primary computer, watch for the checkboxes to save your login name and password – the Windows Live services can almost always open automatically with no password prompt after the first time.

Read about the Windows Live services on my news page or online. There are links to many of the services here on my Favorites page. You may find something that you can use right away!

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