WW 736: Backplate and Pill

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

Great Show. I honestly don’t think Windows 365 is that expensive. Most people are going to use the $40 ish SKUs. I think it is a huge benefit to have Microsoft manage security and have employees log in and do their work from any advice. For example, I can tell my employees, since you are working remotely, you are responsible for your own hardware. They will buy Chrome Books or whatever and connect to the cloud PC service that the business is paying for.

Also, I am not seeing the show on Apple Podcasts. Not sure if its just me or if its a broader issue.

$40 a month is still $480 per year per user. You can buy a cheap laptop for that which, in a way, is part of the problem

I thought that Microsoft already had a managed desktop product for large enterprise so I’m unsure if Microsoft are managing security on this but, even if they are, I’m not sure I’d want to be forced to take every single update Microsoft release

Maybe but the SKU you really want is going to be $162/month - That’s almost $2000 per year.

I’m one of the users who doesn’t want a Microsoft Account to be able to log into the machine I own. I don’t need/want any of the cloud services that Microsoft offer (I have local backups), so what advantages does having a Microsoft account to long into Windows give me? As such, I’m not going to upgrade my old laptop (which is using Windows Home), but am considering upgrading my new laptop (which I’ve bought with Windows Professional to avoid the Microsoft account requirement).

My concern is what happens if an account gets hacked and Microsoft locks it to prevent further damage (like can happen currently with accounts to use Visual Studio for personal use, where it requires a valid account). The recovery process requires entering a mobile number (they don’t support landlines), so people like Mary Jo’s mother who doesn’t have a mobile are going to be locked out of their own devices. In the situation where the account is locked, will they have the recovery process built into the operating system?

Yes, I understand it’s less than ideal, but being forced to have it is not being forced to use it.

Well if the account is inevitable anyway, then all you do is create a “throw away” account for that purpose and never use it. The one practical use for it is they will associate your Windows Entitlement with that account such that you should be able to recover it if the need arises. (The PC suffers enough changes to deactivate Windows Activation, say. (Which can happen if you have to replace the motherboard during a repair, as one example.))

Normally the account you install Windows with becomes an Administrator account, and you should NOT be running day to day as an administrator, so you should already have another account on the PC anyway. You can create that account as a local account, without the cloud tie-in.

Actually, that is the point, they are being forced to use it. No Microsoft account: you can’t set-up a new Home PC.

Exactly this. But Microsoft does it the other way round, you can only use a Microsoft account and it automatically is set up as an administration account.

I do use a Microsoft account (I use M365 as well), but the first thing I did, after I set up my PC (Windows 10 Pro) was to add a second account, make it admin and remove admin rights from my main account.

But the majority of users don’t know this and Microsoft doesn’t explain it, or give them the chance to create an admin account during set-up. They have to use their Microsoft account and it automatically becomes the admin account.

Pro does let you set up a local account during installation, but the normal PCs that are sold to home users doesn’t. On Windows 10, you must set it up without network access, then it will let you use a local account; if you forget and connect to the network during initial set-up, game over, you have to use an MS account, even turning off and back on again won’t get around the problem, it knows you had a network connection on the first attempt, so you can jolly welll connect the PC to the network again!

Windows 11 (Home) will not even set-up without a network connection, according to Microsoft, as you are required to use a Microsoft account.

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but IIUC, this change to Windows Home means that the user will no longer have a local account, but will have a Microsoft Account tied to their PC. That means that even if you can log into the machine in the case where the online account is disabled due to having weak authentication (think of the regular users discussed in the episode), Microsoft can then increasingly automatically tie their online services to that computer even if I don’t want them. That is, I would have to actively turn off features like One Drive, where I currently have to turn them on.

Microsoft have constantly been trying to get users to connect to a Microsoft account by having the “Help set up your PC” screen appear after each update, with a tiny “Configure later” link. They eventually added an option in the settings where you can turn that off. Microsoft are increasingly applying dark patterns to make users create a Microsoft account, just like Amazon do with pushing users to setting up a Prime account.

And yes, I’m aware that the default install account is a local Administrator account. Currently, you can create a local account on Windows 10 Home, but on Windows 11 Home you have to create a Microsoft account. – That’s the issue I have, and why I’ve bought Windows 10 Pro for my new computer.

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We all have to remember that they have been offering these OS’s for free since Win 10, Every free service has the draw back of “you are paying for it with your information” they can’t collect that information if you are on a local account.
Long story short, free upgrade “Home edition” pay with your info, Paid upgrade “Pro edition” pay with your money. Regardless of how you got Pro that seems to be the sentimentality.

They were offering free upgrades, but the licenses are still as expensive as they’ve ever been - and most are OEM licenses that come with a device, so aren’t transferable anyway…

If I buy a new PC and set it up, I’ve just paid for the license. If I upgrade an existing PC with a local account that will continue to work with the local account, AFAIK. So, it is actually the other way around. Those along for the free ride keep getting the free ride. Those paying for new licenses are forced to give up their “freedom”…

Forced seems a little harsh. There will always be work around to not having to use a Microsoft account. Of course there is always moving to a different OS. Have they made it difficult? Yes. Impossible? No.

They are just hoping like any company that if they make it difficult to use a local account that people will be to lazy to set it up then they score your information. And I say lazy because anyone should be able to look up a YouTube video or article and with a little reading and following steps get this stuff done. Whether it be upgrading to a Pro version of Win 10 so it will be Pro on 11 (and yes you can still do this with old Windows 7/8 Pro/Ultimate keys and get it for free) or setting up the Microsoft account to setup the PC then creating a local account and getting rid of the Microsoft login.

If you can’t set up a new PC without a Microsoft Account, I’d call that forced. In Windows 10 Home, if there is no network connection, you can use a local account. In Windows 11 Home, if there is no network connection, it waits for you to connect it to the network and then proceeds to use a Microsoft Account…

Even if you remove the account afterwards, you were still forced to create an account in order to set-up the PC.

I concede, 2 different points of view I suppose.

I will be curious if this old trick still works in Windows 11, I created myself a batch file so I wouldn’t forget about it.

c:\Utilities>type userpasswords2.bat
REM Invoke the "hidden" 2nd User Passwords control panel
control userpasswords2

Should probably still work, but it doesn’t help with the initial setup.

As I said before, just because you’re required to set up the initial account doesn’t mean you need to give valid information for it, nor does it mean you have to use it, just delete it, using the control panel I just mentioned. Again, it’s not a pretty look for MS, it’s very “needy” of them, but given that it is what it is and will be what it will be, you just need to choose your workaround.