This web site has to be one of the most user unfriendly sites that I have seen. The pages on the site are extremely slow loading and the navigation system is a jumbled mess making finding things on the site almost impossible. What makes things even worse is the complete lack of any instructions on how to actually set up an Xbox Live account and what links are provided make it extremely easy to set it up incorrectly.
In trying to connect my son's Xbox to Xbox Live I did eventually find a link on the web site for creating an account (which they really ought to delete from the site since setting up an account that way just wastes your time and means that you can't set up a useable account on the email address you chose for that account. What they really need in big writing on the home page of the Xbox Live Site is a message telling you to set up the account from your Xbox and not from a computer.
Having created an account that looked like we ought to be able to use it, the next thing I tried was to see if we could get the Xbox itself to connect. Of course it refused to do so since it hadn't yet been configured with the correct values to know how to connect but we eventually located a diagnostics option that actually runs through all of the connection steps and where they fail gives you the opportunity to enter the correct values needed to connect. I don't know whether that is the way you are supposed to set those options up since there were absolutely no instructions anywhere on how to do the setup (the manual doesn't go into anywhere near enough detail) but it did work to get the Xbox connected to the internet.
Actually connecting to the account that we had created on the Xbox Live site was also easy but there were two problems. Firstly it set itself up as a new profile on the Xbox rather than linking into the existing profile and secondly the flyer that came with the Xbox stated that it was supposed to include one month of Gold level access and there was no option to be found to activate that access.
After searching everywhere for the option for the free upgrade and not finding it I eventually emailed support asking them where the option was. The answer that I received back was completely meaningless and utterly useless in resolving the problem. I don't know what question the support person was answering but nothing in their email answered the question that I asked.
A phone call to support provided instructions on what option to go into on the Xbox to activate the free upgrade. Unfortunately those instructions were also useless since the option they said to select didn't exist.
A second call to support eventually provided a messy solution to the problem since it involved abandoning the original account that was set up and creating another one using a different email address (which since the original email address is the one we really wanted the account on is still not really a solution to te problem but rather is just a workaround to bypass bugs in the Xbox Live system). Setting up a brand new account through the Xbox itself (which is extremely awkward to do unless you have a keyboard attached to the Xbox (which we didn't) got the original profile on the Xbox to attach itself to the new account that it created on Xbox Live.
This setup process could be made nice and simple if only Microsoft were to provide proper step by step instructions on how to set up an Xbox Live account. That they haven't provided even the single statement needed to set you straight on how to set up the connection so that you can end up wasting hours trying to work out why it doesn't work is incomprehensible. Why make it easier to create an account on the web site than it is to create an account through your Xbox if you can't then use that account with the Xbox.
This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.