In Windows 8, Microsoft introduced a new way to log in to your Windows – with Microsoft Account. Instead of logging in with your local user accounts, you can log in your machine with a Microsoft Account. There are many advantages by logging in with Microsoft account, most of which are related to user experience and Windows integration for cross platform sync and support. However, there is another upside by using Microsoft Account rather than Local Account to log in your computer, your computer is more secure with Microsoft Account.
For years, your personal PC (none network domain) log in with your local accounts. Those aren’t the safest ways to prevent others, especially from wrongful people accessing your computer. There are many tools out there that helps you to reset a local account’s password, or simply remove the account. Tools like Trinity Rescue allows you to basically hack into anyone’s computer in a matter of minutes. It’s a LiveCD you can download and burn to a disk or create a bootable USB stick. Boot the machine using those tools allows you to recover password associated to your local Windows accounts. It sounds scary but, that’s the nature of hacking into a regular consumer machine, simple and easy.
But in Windows 8, Microsoft took a brand new approach in implementing user login. It has been a lot safer ever since, given if you are using Microsoft Account to log in to your computer. Tools like, Trinity Rescue, Kon-Boot, and Ophcrack, will be useless against a machine that uses Microsoft Account. It will be almost impossible for them to retrieve the password, but they could still use other Linux Live CD to gain access to your file system without the access of your Microsoft Account. But that’s another story in preventing hack against your machine.
Overall, if you combine Windows 8’s new picture password and Microsoft Account, the chances of your password got stolen by those tools are significantly reduced.