Microsoft is really trying hard to get every Windows user to sign into their cloud storage system. And, they want you to think you must use a Microsoft account to do this.
The advantages and disadvantages of this are discussed below, but it it possible to have a Windows 8 system without a Microsoft account or SkyDrive, even though Microsoft has made it very difficult and obscure to do this. The simplest solution is to not enable it when you do the initial setup. The following steps were taken from TechRepublic which has pretty pictures and all that, so you might want to look there.
- When you get to the Sign in to your PC screen, it asks for your Microsoft Account. Click the link which says "I don't have an account, create one now" or something similar.
- On the next screen, you should see an option "Sign in without a Microsoft Account." Choose that.
- Continue with the installation
If you have already created an account, but do not want to use it anymore, back up all your data, then create a new Local User account. Log into the new user you have created, then delete the old user. See this article for a full discussion.
- Log in with your Microsoft Account
- Back up all of your data to a thumb drive or someplace convenient
- Create a new user that is a local account
- Log out of the Microsoft Account
- Log in a the new user you created
- Delete the old Microsoft Account
To disable SkyDrive, simply follow the instructions at howtogeek.com
Ok, why do we care. I'll get more on this later, but for now, there are some reasons I can think of not to use SkyDrive or a Microsoft account.
- Using SkyDrive, all of your information is stored on Microsoft's servers. Microsoft (and Google, which is why I don't use them either) make money by gleaning information from your data. I prefer to use someone who makes money by protecting your data.
- DropBox It has been around forever. One of the first, and as far as I know, has never been hacked.
- OwnCloud this is not really a service, but is a program you can install on your own web site. There are, however, links to people who set up OwnCloud servers for individuals (including Daily Data).
- Microsoft has been very strong in wanting to know who their clients are, and what services they use. Using a Microsoft account to access your computer, with your data on it, is something I do not want to do. It is my computer and my data, and I don't want to give anyone the right to look at it.
- Windows Search will index all your files, both on your local computer and in your SkyDrive. This information is not kept only on your computer, but is also kept on Microsoft's servers.
- Microsoft has a very poor track record on security. I do not trust them to secure my information.