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Your Windows 10 might have tricked you into using a online account

by walex
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Your Windows 10 might have tricked you into using a online account
Your Windows 10 might have tricked you into using a online account

38 points by xchip 1 hour ago | hide | past | favorite | 34 comments

Has this happened to more people?

I just noticed this, and so this happened to a few friends of mine.

I am familiar with dark patterns, and read carefully and I though I had dodged all Microsoft attempts at trying to register me into their online system, but somehow they got me.

This will happen when you sign in to any Microsoft product, such as Office, Teams or Onedrive. After you input email and password, there is a window dialog with a big button to use that credential to manage the device, i.e., your computer, converting your local into an online account. And there is an option, with small text, to “use only in Microsoft applications”, or words to that effect. This is easy to get caught, as everybody won’t read dialog windows and rapidly click on whatever big button.

This definitely happened to me a while ago. I’m not that upset about it, except that I spent some time changing all my local accounts from “jon” to “jrockway”, and signing in with my email address made my local account “jon”. Now when I ssh places, I have to supply -l or properly add an entry to ~/.ssh/config because this is the only account I have that’s not named “jrockway”. All in all, this reduces the enjoyment in my life by 0.0000000000000001% but I’m not losing too much sleep over it.

(My favorite Windows 10 update was the one where you installed it, and instead of getting your desktop on reboot, there was this weird slideshow that said “HELLO” “ALL YOUR FILES ARE EXACTLY WHERE YOU LEFT THEM”. I thought it was malware, but that’s apparently something a large team of experts at Microsoft thought would be fun for their users. Maybe they were really excited about some filesystem bug that they fixed? I’ll never understand.)

You should be able to fix your local user name in lusrmgr.msc (select your account and press F2).

I’m using a Microsoft account, but to avoid this nonsense, I created it as a local account (because this laptop shipped with Windows 11 Pro RTM, so I could still do that) and converted it to a Microsoft account. If I didn’t have this option, I would probably create a Microsoft account with the dumb default name, then create a local account, delete the old account, and convert my new local account.

In French, we once had a poor translation that said: “Laissez-nous tout”. Well the “leave everything to us” original was maybe already kind of weird.

I think the “files are where you left them” dialogue is meant to assuage the concerns of people who just did a big OS upgrade and are a bit anxious about it all.

It’s still a pretty poorly thought out dialogue, though.

You know what reassures me that nothing has gone wrong? When unexpectedly I am greeted with big white text insisting everything is okay. Imagine if you got a letter through the post out of the blue saying “You don’t have cancer.” I can only imagine how I would probably suddenly be a lot more worried about having cancer than before having gotten that letter.

Whoever came up with that idiotic dialogue is unhinged and detached from reality and has no business touching a user interface.

Did it switch you magically or something?

I actually don’t mind the microsoft account integration but I also have a name issue. Microsoft will name my account the equivilent “jons” instead of “jsmith” but all my ssh logins are the latter.

I just make an offline account first and then change my account to a microsoft one in user settings and it seems to keep the first name.

I think I know what you are referring to. When setting up my new laptop Windows was asking me to sign in with an account. This step could apparently be skipped (a friend told me later) but I didn’t notice at the time. I just formatted everything and installed Linux.

yeah, I thought I had dodged that trap every single time, but somehow I still fell into it.

Coincidentally, that’s why I am not using win11, despite all its improvements over win10.

(The one i miss most is GUI support in WSL )

If you create the bootable Windows 11 media with Rufus, it “allows to bypass the mandatory requirement for a Microsoft account on Windows 11 22H2. (NB: Network MUST be temporarily disabled for the local account creation to be proposed). Also add an option to skip all collection questions (Sets all answers to “Don’t allow”)”.

I use Windows 11 Professional and was able to install using a local account while connected to WiFi.

If you know what the UI looked like while you accomplished this, that would be useful. I’ve had to reach back behind the machine, unplug the ethernet, and reboot to get it to realize I’m just trying to setup a spare machine for visitors.

Not entirely, you can open a terminal and input a command to bypass it. It is kind of ironic, though, considering “open a terminal and input a command” is usually considered to be a take-that against GNU/Linux.

Yep, this still works. I did it about 3-4 months ago when setting up a laptop for someone. You do need to fail a few times in a row before it lets you create a local account.

It’s not even possible in windows 11. You can leave Microsoft behind, or accept it and move on. I think apple does this too. You have options, but they don’t include Microsoft or apple. I think chromeos, for now, lets you opt out. I could be wrong about that.

For some reason, “I think Apple does this too” always comes up in the discussions about Microsoft forcing online accounts within Windows.

MacOS doesn’t do this. Accounts are machine local. iCloud integration is an optional layer on top. Always has been. Nothing has changed.

Maybe give the OS a try before assuming Apple is following all the same antipatterns just because they also happen to fall into the category of “big tech”.

It is possible to set up MacOS without an iCloud account, but they do try hard to get you to sign in. You have to be diligent about looking for buttons like “Skip,” “Not now,” and “I’ll do it later.”

Fortunately those options still exist, but the pressure to sign in has been increasing over the last several versions of MacOS.

Em… No. Have you used a Mac? They only ask you once during setup, and have only one popup asking if you are sure.

This is no longer correct with the latest 22H2 December update. In order to circumvent this now requires getting to the command prompt (Shift+F10) during install and issuing a command to bypass the requirement.

I noticed in the accounts control panel that my local account became an online one.

As I said, I pay a lot of attention into not falling into Microsoft’s dark patterns, but somehow I did and my local account became an online one. I am wondering if this has happened to others too.

The only “trick” I’m aware of is when signing into accounts in certain (Microsoft) applications. You will get a prompt where you need to select to only sign into this specific app.

Other patterns pushing you to use a Microsoft account are not dark at all. They’re everywhere though!

Just fucking do it. I used to fight MS on principle, but if you just buy into the ecosystem it’s really convenient. Your data is being stolen everywhere. Using a local account doesn’t make you any safer or secure etc.

What do you mean? How is this a problem?

I think you can still use Windows without having an online account.
But this pattern is similar to Apple having your logged on to your Apple/iCloud account when using your devices.

It is a problem to get registered into some organization using dark patterns.

Android is straight forward and doesn’t insist every single time into drafting you with tricky dialogs.

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