Windows 10 and Microsoft Accounts: The Windows team simply does not get it

A while ago I wrote a post about Microsoft’s push of Microsoft Accounts in Windows 8.x, and how it antagonises users. I have been testing Windows 10 and providing feedback since the early iterations of its Technical Preview, and the good news is that I can see by reading the feedback provided by other testers that I am not the only one banging on some issues around Microsoft Account integration. The bad news is that Microsoft is showing no signs of taking these feedback on-board, and in fact it seems that things are going to get worse with Windows 10.

The following screenshot of the Windows 10 welcome screen illustrates all that I consider to be fundamentally wrong with Windows and Microsoft Account integration, as well as this new round pictures fad:

There is an overwhelming amount of negative feedback being logged on the Windows 10 Feedback App about those issues, particularly with the round pictures. Microsoft likes to be seen like they are listening to customer feedback for the development of Windows 10, but the fact sad fact is that they have adopted a selective hearing. Now I understand the subjectiveness of this particular point. After all if thousands of users despise those round pictures, couldn’t it be that millions like them? The fact is that Microsoft will not be able to please everyone when it comes to high-level, GUI/UX things like this. So why not compromise? Give users the option to choose how they want the pictures to be displayed. No need to add this option in the Settings app or in the Control Panel either — I’d be happy with a registry setting!

While on the subject of pictures, why Microsoft insists in synchronising the picture of a user’s Microsoft Account with the picture used locally on the computer? I might want to have a casual picture on my home computer, while I have a more professional picture at my Microsoft Account profile. Same goes for the user account name.

As for the email fiasco, this is a clear security and privacy concern. The fact that the Windows 10 did not foresee this is shocking. Now if you think that I am alone on this one, then think again. The following screenshot shows the amount of negative feedback that showing user’s email at the welcome screen has generated so far. Note that this is the most voted, trending submission. There are numerous duplicates about this issue which are not being counted here:

Negative feedback concerning the display of email addresses at the welcome screen of Windows 10.

This issue has counted more votes than the recent enforcement of automatic updates fiasco. Yet the Windows 10 team so far refuses to acknowledge their mistake. Considering that this mistake exists since Windows 8, this is how I perceive the Windows 10 team reacting to every up-vote this feedback gets:

One of the most narrow-minded arguments I hear in favour of showing the email address of Microsoft Accounts at the welcome screen is that this is a way of identifying multiple accounts with similar or equal names. It makes me cringe to think that some people can be so short-sighted to believe this is the only possible way to identify accounts. If users could specify a local account name and picture independently from than their Microsoft Account profile, then this problem would be solved. For example “John Doe” could have account #1 named locally as “Johnny” or “John Doe 1”, and account #2 named locally as “Dr John Doe” or “John Doe 2”. Another alternative would be for each account to have different account pictures. The issues with account names when using Microsoft Account to log-in are beyond simple aesthetics. It can be a particular problem for simple file-sharing across small office and home (SOHO) networks.

Will I upgrade to Windows 10? Probably. Will I log-in to my PC using a Microsoft Account? Not until these issues are fixed. And if Microsoft does not fix those issues, then I am hoping that some sensible individuals will come up with a hack.


  • While I am not particularly bothered by a round picture, I do agree about not displaying the user's email. It does seem extraordinarily short-sighted, particularly given the bleating by Microsoft on how important security is to them.

    Perhaps it's a plot to push us all towards upgrading our devices to those capable of using the Hello face recognition technology?

    Regarding the round picture, I agree it's a fad. Microsoft isn't the only company that seems to have adopted this fashion recently; I see that Plex has done it as well.

    • The email still shows even for those using Windows Hello to log-in. The issue is that Windows shows the email address to identify an account as being a Microsoft Account.

      As for the round pictures, so did Google and Apple, by the way. Funny how those companies try to be different form one another while copying one another. Sigh…

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