How do I change my Account Picture in Windows 8 or RT

How do I change my Account (as Microsoft calls it) picture in Windows 8 or RT?

First, know this about your account picture. In the ecosystem this is the picture associated with your Microsoft Account, Hotmail or the email address that you associated with your Microsoft Account. This Account or Profile picture when changed on one device or online, will update the picture on all Windows 8 (or Windows Phone 7.5) devices you log in to with that account.

Note: That your picture in the People Hub under ME will change, but this does not mean your Photo will change on other peoples People Hub where you appear. The People Hub pulls in a picture for a contact from the “connected” service for a contact. More times than not Facebook profile pictures are used when you “Connect” your Microsoft Account with Facebook, LinkedIn etc. If you want to change the picture that others see in their people hub then you would want to change your Facebook or LinkedIn profile picture.

First have some pictures to work with. There is your Pictures Library, which is like the My Pictures folder of the past, and then there is the Photos app on the Start screen.

If you have “Connected” your Microsoft account to Facebook and/or Flickr, when you launch the Photos app you will see a Facebook and Flickr folder that has all your pictures from those two services. Likewise if you have saved pictures to your SkyDrive you will have a SkyDrive folder with all the pictures on your SkyDrive. Your Pictures Library appears in the Photos app as well.

If you have no pictures to work with, just save some to your Pictures Library or Browse to somewhere like your Facebook page, view your profile picture and Right Click (press, hold and release on the Surface) on the picture and choose Copy to my pictures library. Boom, you have a picture in your Picture Library.

In my house I have Network Discovery and Sharing Turned on for each of my computers. I have added the Pictures folders from each computer to the Pictures Library on my Windows 8 Desktop. So I have all pictures from all computers accessible in one place. Between you and I, I have no idea how it did it but my Surface has picked up all those Shares on all the computers in my houseJ. Remember shares like this are only available when on the same network. Sharing and Libraries be it Photos, Music or Videos is a whole other animal for another post.


You can change your Account picture on-line. Just browse to the and log in to your Microsoft Account. You can change the picture there in the left column.

Start Screen:

You can change your Account picture from the Start Screen, but I prefer changing it on the People hub. When you change your Account picture from the Start Screen it will try to bring in and resize the shot as is. When you change your Account Picture from the People Hub you are allowed to resize the image and given a “crop” window to adjust how the picture looks and fits in the space allowed.

Simply click on your picture in the upper right and choose Change account picture.

You will be taken to the PC settings screen.

Here you see Current and History for Account pictures. You can right click (press, hold and release on touch screen) a picture in the history and choose Clear history to remove the history pictures.

You can click/tap on a History picture to set your account picture to one of those or click/tap Browse to find a new picture for your account picture.

Clicking Browse button will take you to the Files v Pictures page.

If your picture is not in your Pictures folder you can browse your computer by clicking the v to the right of Files. The browse menu will open. You can browse within/using Apps as well. I will choose Photos to open the Photos app because I know it has my Pictures library, all my Facebook, Flickr, SkyDrive and Shared Photos on my network in the app.

I find a picture in one of the folders in Photos app and click/tap on it (it will have a check Mark) to select it.

Then click/tap Choose Image to make that your Account picture.

People hub:

A better method to change your Account picture is the doing it from the People hub. Steps for finding a picture is much the same as above so I won’t litter the page with screen caps.

  1. From the Start screen click/tap on the People Hub.
  2. On the Home screen of the People hub, click/tap on your Account picture; this will take you to your Contact/Status page.
  3. Under ME
    click/tap on your Account picture again; this opens a page that gives you a representation of how big your picture can be.
  4. On the bar on the bottom click/tap Browse, the Photos app will open allowing you to pick from the folders of pictures you have available.
  5. Once you choose a picture, you can make the picture bigger or smaller and make it fit the provided crop window to see how it will look.
  6. When you have what you want visible in the crop window, save the picture.

Really that is all there is to it.


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