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Using Work Accounts with Visual Studio Subscription

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


  • Work account is an account created by an organisation’s administrator to enable a member of the organisation to access all Microsoft cloud services such as Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Intune or Office 365. A work account can take the form of a user’s work email address, such as, when an organisation federates or synchronises its Active Directory accounts with Azure Active Directory. To learn about the process of administering work accounts by the organisation’s administrator please refer to What is the process to administer work accounts to eligible organisational members?.

    Microsoft account, created by user for personal use, is the new name for what used to be called “Windows Live ID”. The Microsoft account is the combination of an email address and a password that a user uses to sign in to all consumer-oriented Microsoft products and cloud services such as Outlook (Hotmail), Messenger, OneDrive, MSN, Windows Phone or Xbox LIVE. If a user uses an email address and password to sign in to these or other services, then the user already has a Microsoft account – but the user can also sign up for a new one at any time.

  • You must use a Microsoft account to activate your Visual Studio subscription, but you can then link your benefits to your work account through the My Account portal. You get the same level of benefits whether you use a work account or a Microsoft account.

  • Organisations with Visual Studio subscriptions who need the flexibility to transfer Microsoft Azure benefits between different employees of the same organisation. This is relevant for organisations that are concerned that an MSDN subscriber in their organisation creating Microsoft Azure assets under a Microsoft account could cause undue business risk when the person associated with that Microsoft account leaves the company. Transferring the Microsoft Azure benefits to a different individual requires that individual also have an MSDN licence associated to them.

  • New or existing Visual Studio subscribers who have not activated their Microsoft Azure MSDN benefit yet can activate it using a work account via the My Account portal.

    If you’ve already activated your Microsoft Azure benefit and would like to transfer the subscription from your Microsoft account to your work account, contact Microsoft Azure Customer Support.


    1. The administrator signs up as an organisation to a Microsoft cloud service such as Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Intune or Office 365.
    2. A cloud-based tenant is provisioned automatically in Azure Active Directory to represent the organisation.
    3. Once this tenant has been provisioned, the administrator issues work accounts to each one of its members.
  • Visual Studio subscribers can activate their Microsoft Azure benefit with a work account by following the steps below:

    1. Navigate to My Account (you’ll be prompted to sign in with your Microsoft account).
    2. In "Subscription Benefits" under "Microsoft Azure", choose "Link to your work account".
    3. Enter a work account (e.g. and select "Link".
    4. Choose "Activate Microsoft Azure" and sign in with your work account.
  • The work account is activated once the user has successfully completed the steps described in the answer to “How can eligible Visual Studio subscribers create an MSDN Microsoft Azure subscription?”. This validates the work account and ensures that the user accessing the benefit is the person who has been granted the benefit.

  • When an employee leaves an organisation and the associated account is removed from Azure Active Directory, the user’s work account is automatically disabled. If you’d like to transfer the assets under this disabled MSDN Azure subscription to another Visual Studio subscriber within your organisation, then the organisation administrator can contact Microsoft Azure Customer Support to transfer ownership of the disabled account.

    Note: Disabling a user’s work account does not cancel their Visual Studio subscription. To remove the MSDN subscription of an employee who leaves the organisation, see Volume Licensing Administration Help.

  • Organisations should implement a clear policy requiring Visual Studio subscribers to use their work accounts.

  • With clear policy and guidance, organisations can reduce the likelihood of this happening, but they cannot prevent it completely.