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How to add a work or school account to Windows 10 or 11

You can add a work or school account to Windows, even if you're already using a local account or Microsoft account.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Businesswoman by window working on laptop.
iStockphoto/Getty Images

I juggle a few different accounts in Windows. I use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 10 and 11, through which I also receive emails and maintain a calendar. And I use a domain-based work account that taps into its own email as well as my calendar appointments and contacts. This scenario may be similar for those of you who've been working at home during the pandemic and perhaps using your own personal devices for work.

In this case, you might already have a personal Windows PC set up with a Microsoft account or a local account. But say you'd like to use that same computer to handle your work or school account and access. 

Assuming this type of setup passes muster with your IT folks, you have a couple of options depending on what you want to access, and who will manage your computer.

Also: How to use Microsoft Authenticator as your password manager

If you want to view your work email, contacts, and calendar, and the computer you're using is a personal PC owned and managed by you, then you can simply add the email account to your computer. But if you want your PC to join your company's network where it will be managed to some degree by your organization for security updates and other policies, then you could add the PC to your Active Directory domain. Obviously, this is a decision you would discuss and coordinate with your IT staff.

As another route, maybe you're a student or you're taking classes, and you have a dedicated school account through which you receive email and set up appointments. You'd like to add your school account to your personal PC at home. That's also doable.

Also: Students, take note: These are the best laptops for college

To demo this process, I'm using a Windows 10 computer, but it works the same whether you're running Windows 10 or 11.

How to add a work or school account to Windows 10 or 11

1. Connect your account

First, I'll assume you're already using a Microsoft account or a local account on your Windows computer at home. Go to Settings > Accounts > Access work or school. Click the Connect button.

Connect button for Access work or school.
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Also: How to 'downgrade' a Windows 11 PC to Windows 10

2. Type the address for the account you want to add

The next screen asks for your email address. To add your work or school account and not have your PC managed by your organization, type the address for the account you want to add and click Next.

Set up a work account or school account popup.
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

3. Enter password and sign in

You're then prompted to enter the password for your account. Type it and click Sign in.

Microsoft account sign in page.
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

4. Click Done

The account is registered on your computer with any company or school policies applied. Click Done.

You're all set popup for adding an account.
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

5. Add your work or school account to specific applications you use

Next, you need to add your work or school account to the specific applications you use for mail, calendar, and contacts. Let's say you want to access this content from the built-in Windows apps. Open Windows Mail, for example. Click the gear icon for settings, select Manage accounts, and then select Add account. Assuming you use Office 365 or Exchange on the backend, choose that option.

Add an account for the Office 365 or Outlook option.
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

6. Confirm account and then sign in

Type your work or school email address, confirm the account, and then enter your password or approve the sign in. The account is added, so you can now access your work or school email, as well as your calendar and contacts. The process would be similar for other email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook or Gmail.

Also: The six best email hosting services: You need a professional address

Now, let's try the other scenario. You want to register your PC on your company's domain so that you can access all the necessary resources and have your computer managed, at least in part, by internal policies.

How to register your PC on your company's domain

1. Choose a "Join this device" option

At the Connect window, click either the link for Join this device to Azure Active Directory or Join this device to a local Active Directory domain.

Choosing Azure Active Directory enrolls your computer with your organization where IT admins can apply policies to control your PC. In many cases, the policies for using a personal computer via BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) would be less restrictive than those for a company-owned computer. But you'd have to check with your IT group or Help Desk to confirm this.

If you take the Azure Active Directory route, you're asked to enter your email address and then your password. Confirm your organization's domain name, your username, and your user type (administrator vs user). Click Join. You're told that your device is connected.

Popup making sure this is your organization.
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

2. Enter the domain name and account credentials if needed

Choosing the Local Active Directory domain option instead requires that you already be connected to your organization's AD domain. In this case, you would enter the domain name, followed by your account credentials. Your PC would then be managed according to any applicable domain policies.

The next time you sign out of Windows and then sign back in, you can choose to log in with your local or Microsoft account or your work account. To use your work account, choose Other user at the login screen and type your work email address and password.

Other user sign in page.
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

3. Add your work email account to your mail client and other applications

Your account then receives the necessary settings and policies. You would just need to add your work email account to your mail client and any other work-related applications. From then on, you can sign in to Windows with your local or Microsoft account or your work account.

Also: Microsoft is rolling out these security settings to protect millions of accounts. Here's what's changing

4. To disconnect your work account, go to Settings

Finally, you can easily remove or disconnect your work account if you no longer need it. Go back to Settings > Accounts > Access work or school. Select your account and then click Disconnect. Confirm that you want to remove the account. Enter the credentials for your local administrator's account if prompted. Restart your computer, and your work or school account will be gone.

Disconnect button for Access work or school.
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET
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