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Microsoft, please do not hide Local Account option in Windows Setup!

While performing a clean install of the most recent Windows Insider build (18922), I noticed something I really dislike. I do not like the way Microsoft is making the option to set up Windows 10 using a local offline account more and more obscure. What’s worst is that they are doing it on purpose. I believe they’re trying to force users to set up Windows 10 computers using a Microsoft Account (MSA) by making it harder and harder to find a way to set up Windows using a local account.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am a huge fan of MSA, and I more or less always use it. I just want to set up my devices using a local account simply to name my user profile the way I like it. Then, I connect the local account to an MSA first thing after I get to the desktop. This allows me to name my profile explicitly, rather than abstracting from my MSA name string to name the associated user profile.

That’s right. When you set up Windows 10 using an MSA, the profile name and folder is a five character acronym based on the first and last names in the MSA email address:

– If my Win10.guru partner Ed Tittel had a typical MSA, first and last name separated with a dot and both written in lower case, his profile folder would be named as edtit.
– MSA user Jo.Brainwaith@email_provider.com, first letter in first and last name in upper case would have a profile folder JoBra.
– Mrs. Betty Ivana Tchaikosky with MSA email b.i.tchaikovsky@email_provider.com would have her user profile named as bitch.

Quote from my earlier post Microsoft Account vs. Local Account – Why not both?

Until recently, the option to set up a Windows 10 device with a local account was already somewhat obscured. In fact, the user had to know what Offline Account means:

Click screenshot to open it enlarged in a new tab.

Now, the Windows Insider build 18922 shows a new screen after you select Offline account:

Click screenshot to open it enlarged in a new tab.

Not only is that obscure, but telling users that continuing set up with a local account is a “limited experience” is really misleading. To my way of thinking it’s not necessarily limited at all, because it gives me better control over my user profile (and user folder) name.

Not good, Microsoft! You really should make it easier for us users to find options like this, not deliberately make things more and more difficult. And shame on you, to use language (“limited experience”) that makes users who want to control profile and folder names doubt their choice.



Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

7 Responses “Microsoft, please do not hide Local Account option in Windows Setup!”

  1. Keith Donald
    June 22, 2019 at 14:22

    The other thing I don’t like. I couldn’t find a way of avoiding setting up a PIN.

    • June 22, 2019 at 16:42

      If you setup Windows with a local account without password, you don’t have to create a PIN. You can then make password later.

  2. Andrew
    June 24, 2019 at 14:21

    I don’t know how you managed to get the offline account option at all. I work at a tech store where we sell computers all the time. Now when we set up computers the offline account or local account option is gone entirely. This sucks cause it’s against store policy to either set up a Microsoft account or even gather Microsoft account information.

  3. TPR0688
    July 2, 2019 at 19:01

    How do you setup non-Windows devices if that is your store policy? Given most (if not all) non-Windows devices require an account (with email) to sign in – iOS, Android, Chromebook, etc.

    • July 2, 2019 at 23:45

      I think you completely missed my point. Fortunately, Windows 10 does not require a Microsoft account, not even for installing apps from store. In that sense it can’t be compared to Android, Chrome OS or iOS. Also, users can switch to a Microsoft account later on whenever they need to / want to do so. Switching from a Microsoft to a local account is also possible, completely removing the MSA email address from computer.

      As I said in the post, I am myself using a Microsoft account, and strongly recommend using it. But, I also recommend using a local account when setting up Windows 10, and only switching to Microsoft account after the user profile has been created.

      The option to setup Windows 10 using a local account should not be hidden.

  4. Greg
    July 8, 2019 at 22:35

    I regularly install Windows 10 for customers and I can no longer do a complete installation and test the machine unless I put in a dummy account or use my own. This is stupid. I cannot find a workaround in the latest Windows install procedure.

  5. Greg
    July 8, 2019 at 22:38

    Immediately after I posted the message above, I found the workaround. Just disconnect from the internet and you can install a local account.

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