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Microsoft Hides Windows 10's Offline Account Option

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Microsoft has become a services company. It would much prefer that people sign up for its subscription-based services than purchase its software outright, as demonstrated by it bad-mouthing Office 2019 to make Office 365 seem more appealing in February, and it unifies those services with a Microsoft Account. Hot Hardware reported Sunday that Microsoft is pushing those accounts during the Windows 10 setup process harder than ever.

Setting up a local account on Windows 10 was already a convoluted process: people had to make sure their device wasn't connected to the internet, confirm they don't have internet, click "Continue with limited setup" and then finally select the option to create an offline account. Otherwise the setup process would all but force them into setting up a Microsoft Account even though they really only wanted to use the system they had paid for.

So how could that process be made even worse? Hot Hardware said it saw multiple people claim on social media that the option of creating an offline account for Windows 10 had been removed entirely. But that wasn't the case; it had simply been made even more inscrutable. Now people have to follow the steps listed above, but instead of being asked if they want to create an offline account, they're given the option of "Domain join instead."

English speakers can say a lot with three words. "I love you" is the obvious example. "Where's my baby?" and "You're under arrest!" also speak volumes. But "Domain join instead" means nothing. The only reasons someone would choose that option would be A) they work at Microsoft so they know what it's supposed to mean, B) they're desperate enough to click anything at that point or C) they read some news posts about this change.

Microsoft wasn't content to rely on a meaningless three-word phrase to convince people they should just sign up for a Microsoft Account. On the next screen, an option in the bottom-left corner says "Or, even better, use an online account." We're pretty sure that anyone who got that far into this deliberately obtuse setup process doesn't actually think using an online account would be "even better" than using one local to their system.

It makes sense for Microsoft to push customers in the direction it wants them to go. But as the company makes setting up a local account even harder, it's hard not to think it would prefer to remove the option entirely, and would do so if the decision wouldn't prompt immediate backlash. Maybe for Microsoft's sake the people who don't want to set up a Microsoft Account just need to boil it down to just three words: "We're not interested."

  • kerberos_20
    u know u can always unplug network cable when installing if ya want offline account
    Reply
  • Giroro
    FYI logging into the window store 1 time converts your entire local windows account to an online account.

    Microsoft made it seem like I had to log into the Windows store to download a free coded to get HEVC back... You don't actually need to login to get free software from the windows store. You also don't need to pay $1 to get back a feature they removed.

    Just use this one
    Honestly, I'm a little suspicious they removed a common modern codec and started charging for it in order to funnel more people down the path of being tricked into setting up a Microsoft account.
    Reply
  • drtweak
    Giroro said:
    FYI logging into the window store 1 time converts your entire local windows account to an online account.

    Microsoft made it seem like I had to log into the Windows store to download a free coded to get HEVC back... You don't actually need to login to get free software from the windows store. You also don't need to pay $1 to get back a feature they removed.

    Just use this one
    Honestly, I'm a little suspicious they removed a common modern codec and started charging for it in order to funnel more people down the path of being tricked into setting up a Microsoft account.


    Actually no it doesn't. You can still log into the store and not convert it to a MS account login. I know because that is how my PC is setup on a clean install of 1903 as well.

    Also pretty sure you don't have to unplug your network card. you just have to know where to click. But yes MS is stupid for making a local account harder.

    Also 4) IT People who know what Domain is and that clicking it means making local account even if you don't join a domain. lol
    Reply
  • kerberos_20
    Giroro said:
    FYI logging into the window store 1 time converts your entire local windows account to an online account.

    Microsoft made it seem like I had to log into the Windows store to download a free coded to get HEVC back... You don't actually need to login to get free software from the windows store. You also don't need to pay $1 to get back a feature they removed.

    Just use this one
    Honestly, I'm a little suspicious they removed a common modern codec and started charging for it in order to funnel more people down the path of being tricked into setting up a Microsoft account.
    umm. i use VLC player or youtube, in both cases hevc works fine
    Reply
  • Giroro
    drtweak said:
    Actually no it doesn't. You can still log into the store and not convert it to a MS account login. I know because that is how my PC is setup on a clean install of 1903 as well.

    That was not my experience which was a few weeks ago. After logging into the Microsoft store (the app not the website) it started pulling data over from the microsoft account I had made for my Surface Pro, changed my login screen etc. After logging out from the store I had to go back into control panel and convert my entire user account back to local.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Giroro said:
    Honestly, I'm a little suspicious they removed a common modern codec and started charging for it in order to funnel more people down the path of being tricked into setting up a Microsoft account.
    They probably removed it because it's not free. HEVC is covered by patents, and the MPEG-LA sets licensing fees that (AFAIK) must be paid on a per-player basis. Either these terms changed, or MS just decided not enough people use the codec for it to eat the cost of buying a license for all users.

    kerberos_20 said:
    umm. i use VLC player or youtube, in both cases hevc works fine
    That's because VLC bundles its own codecs.

    However, if you want to use Windows Media Player or load HEVC files in various media authoring tools, you need the Windows (DirectShow?) HEVC codec.
    Reply
  • kerberos_20
    bit_user said:
    They probably removed it because it's not free. HEVC is covered by patents, and the MPEG-LA sets licensing fees that (AFAIK) must be paid on a per-player basis. Either these terms changed, or MS just decided not enough people use the codec for it to eat the cost of buying a license for all users.


    That's because VLC bundles its own codecs.

    However, if you want to use Windows Media Player or load HEVC files in various media authoring tools, you need the Windows (DirectShow?) HEVC codec.
    codec packs usualy have hevc bundled...hevc is open source anyway
    https://codecguide.com/download_kl.htm
    Reply
  • bit_user
    kerberos_20 said:
    codec packs usualy have hevc bundled...hevc is open source anyway
    https://codecguide.com/download_kl.htm
    Open source does not mean it's free-to-use!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Efficiency_Video_Coding#Patent_license_terms
    Reply
  • kerberos_20
    bit_user said:
    Open source does not mean it's free-to-use!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Efficiency_Video_Coding#Patent_license_terms
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/hevc-video-extensions-from-device-manufacturer/9n4wgh0z6vhq?activetab=pivot:overviewtabhere its free to use from microsoft

    as for royalties...i have hardware decoder, in nvidia gpu..so teh royalty should be already paid
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Giroro said:
    FYI logging into the window store 1 time converts your entire local windows account to an online account.

    No it does not.
    My local Standard user and local Admin user remain fully local.
    The rarely used MS account remains MS.
    Reply