WW 764: The Rat From Punxsutawney

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

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The reason why the apps on the Windows/Amazon/Android store are crap are because they are Amazon Android apps. This means, most likely, they don’t have access to the Google Play Services, which is what most Android apps make use of to make them shine.

I understand the dislike for how Windows 8 handled window snapping, but on a Surface device (or any touch-first device) it was absolutely stellar. Microsoft had some great UX elements in Windows 8 specifically aimed at touch users. They screwed up in that 99% of their userbase were not touch users at the time. Really a shame they let some of that stuff die out. I never understood why they didn’t fork the OS into two separate products, one for desktop users and one for touch.

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I guess I’m in a minority when it comes to the acceptance of using Microsoft Accounts in that I have no issue using one. And I see absolutely no difference between using a phone that requires a Google or Apple account and using a PC with Windows that requires a Microsoft account. In every way that matters - phones and tablets are computers, regardless of any clever marketing by Apple. They have CPUs, motherboards (or what passes for one on phones/tablets), storage, memory, network connectivity, displays, keyboards, operating systems and updates, and so forth. The single differentiating issue is size/form factor, which I would argue isn’t really differentiating given Surface-like tablets that run a full OS instead of a consumption-oriented OS like Android or iPad OS.

So - if there is no difference between them (as I postulate) - it seems churlish to insist that it’s acceptable in one case (with phones and tablets) to use ‘company-accounts’ - but to find it completely intolerable in the case of an OS geared toward more traditional form factors. If the behavior is bad - the behavior is bad, regardless of whether it’s on a mobile OS or a desktop OS.

It seems over the last 5-6 years as Windows has become more open and flexible that Leo has become equally intolerant of it. Of all the major tech companies. Microsoft has moved toward opening up things on Windows (like the app store) and relaxed developer requirements while Google and Apple have just ratcheted things tighter. And Google and Microsoft are the ones accused of major monopoly behavior while Microsoft is showing itself to be a good partner. So I wish I understood where all of this animosity is coming from, because as a long-time listener of WIndows Weekly - I just don’t get it.


I think that was exactly @Leo ’s point, that it isn’t acceptable on the phone or tablet, but we have no choice.

On the other hand, we have always had the choice on PCs, until now.

I want the choice. Apple is more benevolent than Google, when it comes to smartphones and tablets, but I would still prefer the option of using it without linking it to an account.

With PCs, that was never a problem, until Windows 10 came along. Microsoft have been closing down the users’ freedoms with each new release.

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I guess it depends on what we mean by freedom. Every modern OS really needs an internet connection for updates and patches. Unless you are running an air-gapped device that has no need to ever connect online, I have a hard time seeing a need for an entirely offline need.

But even if that’s a issue that shows the limits of my vision - I was just really taken aback by Leo’s vehemence against using it. Never is a pretty absolute term - and when I think about how I really don’t encounter any issues with using a Microsoft account, it just struck me as extreme.

And while I would prefer an offline option to use the smartphone. I have not heard the kind of resistance to the idea from Leo when discussing iOS or Android that I heard here.

It isn’t about updates, it is about the manufacturer tracking what you are doing. I the old days, what you did on the device stays on the device. Nowadays, that choice is being eroded, because everything is stored in the cloud.

On the one hand, this enables you to move from one device to another and carry on, where you left off. This gives you one type of freedom.

On the other hand, your freedom to have your own data on your own device and nobody “looking over your shoulder”, you are losing another type of freedom here.

But, most of all, you are losing the freedom to decide for yourself, how you want to use your devices.


I should also say that no one needs to justify their own personal opinion. We like what we like, and dislike what we dislike, and there’s absolutely nothing about that which requires justification to anyone.

I was just taken aback (as I said) because the emphatic way in which Leo’s position came out really took me out of the discussion and surprised me. I would like to learn more so I can inform my own point of view. If there are substantive issues that people have encountered with MSAs that I haven’t had, I’d like to know about them.


This, right here, is definitely something I can get behind as an issue. Thanks, @big_D !

Is there an enterprise sku for WIndows 11? If that allows for non-MSA local-only accounts, then that could solve that problem. But you’re right that the ability to create an air-gapped PC is severely constrained.

I use my MS Account and my Apple Account - no issues with any of this - minor


IMHO, it’ll be like Windows 11 Home: local account OOBE / setup still works, just with more convoluted steps.

Forcing MSA on 11 Pro seems to be another ploy to boost Teams / Edge MAU. :joy:

Wait for the next earnings call: “We’re introducing a new metric to add color to our services revenue numbers this quarter: in millions, # of signed-in Edge / Teams / Windows users.”

I just wish we could pick our user profile name, e.g., C:\Users\ABCDE. I’m a bit tired of the first five letters of my email as a forced username if you install Windows with an MSA.

Who still forces auto-generated user names in 2022?! :frowning:


My genuine frustration (channeling my inner Paul): Microsoft needs to fix and improve signing in with a Microsoft Account into Windows. If you’re going to require, then make it competent at what it was meant to do: granular cross-device syncing OR backup / restore.

Signing in with MSA does not restore any of these, especially granularly:

  • Taskbar icons? (e.g., allow “locating” programs after we install them back)
  • Fonts?
  • File Explorer preferences?
  • Search indexing?
  • Backup policies?
  • Mouse settings?
  • Group policies!
  • System restore settings?
  • Notepad formatting?
  • Calculator history?
  • Privacy / Telemetry settings?

A Windows clean install and rebuild is like pulling teeth in 2022. MSA sign-in was meant to be a “lifesaver” and it’s turned out to be another half-baked great idea out of Redmond.


Finally got around to listening to this episode. Jeez… I’m still waiting to see what the heck Pluton is doing on devices. Something feels especially icky about a soft-required MS account when combined with a Microsoft black box security chip… I guess once you’ve signed into the account once on any machine, Microsoft now has perpetual insight into what happens on that device, and has a link to you bolstered by 2FA. Even if you wipe the drive and start with a different OS, it’s connected somehow to an account.

I’m glad @Leo was equally as flabbergasted by the claim that it’s more secure to require this account. If that argument rests on the idea that biometrics are more secure (aren’t there universal fingerprints?) then maybe the bigger question is: why do these biometrics devices require a Microsoft account to run what’s already software or firmware? Sometimes it feels like I’m losing my mind…

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