Microsoft has long been accused of using “Dark Patterns” to push Windows users into choosing options which Microsoft prefer over ones users may choose themselves without coercion.
A dark pattern is “a user interface that has been carefully crafted to trick users into doing things, such as buying insurance with their purchase or signing up for recurring bills.” Microsoft was famously accused of using such a confusing user interface to trick Windows 7 users into upgrading to Windows 10.
Now Microsoft has been accused by Redditors of using such patterns to force Windows 10 users into using Microsoft Accounts to create their Windows account, rather than using a local account.
A local account has certain advantages over a Microsoft account, such as increased privacy and not being tied to an online identity which itself can be hacked.
It appears in the latest versions of Windows Microsoft will now hide the options to create a local account.
“It’s such a dick move,” said Redditor Old_Traveller. “I’ll never tie my main OS with an online account.”
One way to force Windows 10 to offer the option is by not being connected to the Internet when the option is offered, by for example pressing the Flight Mode button and reloading the option page. Even then Microsoft works to steer users away from Local Accounts.
“They changed the wording and made it sound like it was the worst choice I could make but it let me do it,” wrote ExiledLife.
If you don’t mind giving Microsoft the power to erase your PC, an online account, of course, has its advantages, such as being able to reset your password from the cloud, but given the issues Microsoft’s last run-in with dark patterns caused, I would have thought Microsoft would have let the advantages speak for itself instead of trying to lead PC users by the nose.