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You have a choice of two account types in Windows 8. One is a local account, with a username and password, just like Windows 7 and earlier versions. New in Windows 8 is the Microsoft account option.
The advantage of a Microsoft account is that your sign-in credentials are connected to a secure service that allows you to sync settings between PCs.
You can switch between account types at any time by going to PC Settings, selecting the Users tab, and then clicking or tapping the button under your account name.