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  • Looks like installing a clean Win10 version 1903 Home forces you to use a Microsoft Account

    Posted on October 1st, 2019 at 16:29 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    For many years, I’ve recommended that users set up a new Windows 10 machine with a Local account — one that isn’t a Microsoft account, and doesn’t phone home to Ma Microsoft every time you log on. (Microsoft now calls it an “offline account.”) I’ve included the detailed step-by-step method, which varies a bit by version, in all of my Windows All-In-One For Dummies books.

    Now it appears as if installing a clean copy of Win10 version 1903 — yes, the one that’s been out for five or six months — makes you jump through a bizarre hoop in order to set up the computer with a Local account.

    I’ve been expecting some shenanigans with Win10 version 1909. Martin Brinkmann posted a report yesterday that he’s still seeing an option to use an Offline account to set up the machines:

    We installed Home and Pro editions of Windows 10 version 1909 multiple times and the offline account option was presented to us each time. It is quite possible that Microsoft is A-B testing the chance or that the change affects only some regions and not others.

    But I’ve also seen many reports that folks clean installing 1909 didn’t have that option — when you set up a new machine with 1909, you have to use a Microsoft account. I figured I’d wait until I have the final, shipping, bits before kicking the tires and raising the roof.

    Now comes word from Chris Hoffman at How-To Geek that the setup routine forces you to use a Microsoft account on version 1903. It’s astounding how much power Microsoft has over privacy-busting “features,” even on versions of Win10 that have been out for a while.

    If you get stuck with installing a clean copy of 1903 or 1909, unplug your machine from the internet during the installation. The exact steps from that point vary a bit, depending on version, but Chris and Martin can take you through the details.

    Justin Pot at How-To Geek calls this kind of flim-flammery a “dark pattern” — a way that companies trick you into doing what they want, in this case to snoop. Er, harvest your telemetry.