Microsoft seemingly backtracks on a controversial move to keep Windows 11 users stuck with their Microsoft Account

Microsoft has resurrected its instructions for Windows 11 (or 10) users who want to switch from a Microsoft Account login to a local account, after recently ditching this guide.

If you’ve not been following this somewhat odd chain of events – which would hardly be surprising – to get you up to speed, Microsoft has a couple of guides relating to Windows 11 and Windows 10 logins. One of them details how to switch from a local account to a Microsoft Account, and the other shows you how to transition the other way, from a Microsoft Account login to a local account.

In June, however, Microsoft dropped the guide on how to revert from a Microsoft Account to a local one. Why? Well, that’s a good question, and one we’ll come back to later.

Whatever the case, there were a number of Windows users who weren’t happy with this development, and how it seemed to fit in with the software giant’s agenda to push more people to use a Microsoft Account.

As Tom’s Hardware reports, though, the guide for changing back to a local account in Windows 11 (or 10) has now been reinstated (in this support document, if you scroll down to the bottom).

So, that’s obviously good news, and Tom’s further noticed that an addition has been made in the form of a new ‘password reset disk’ guide, an extra piece of advice for users who are reverting to a local account.

This is important because if you forget your password for a local account, there’s no way to access help (an online reset, as there is with a Microsoft Account). You’re up the local creek without a password paddle, in short. However, if you have a password reset disk, as you might guess, this helps you extricate yourself from that messy situation with a local account, facilitating a reset.

Check out this secondary guide here and bear in mind you’ll need a USB stick to use as the reset drive. Make sure you keep that USB drive in a safe place, of course, after you’ve created a reset disk on it – and we’d even advise creating a second copy on another USB drive to be extra safe (in case the first drive fails when it comes to the crunch).

Analysis: What was Microsoft thinking here?

As noted, the consternation around Microsoft’s decision to ditch the local account guide – temporarily – mainly revolved around bad feelings that the company was just trying on another measure to stoke Microsoft Account usage (or to keep Windows 11 users on their account login, more to the point).

Is that fair, though? Well, it’s understandable, certainly, given that over the past year or two, Microsoft has definitely cranked up its promotional efforts – some of which are outright ads, let’s be honest – around using a Microsoft Account. (The latest move being to jam a thinly veiled advert into the Start menu, sadly). Furthermore, Microsoft has been closing loopholes that allow folks to keep a local account when installing Windows 11, too.

However, could there be a genuine reason Microsoft pulled the guide – maybe to rewrite it with the added info on password recovery? Well, you could argue that, perhaps, but was there any need to completely take the guide down (after it’s been up for several years) to do that?

It’s stretching things, let’s be honest, but we guess the possibility can’t be ruled out. However, for us it feels inescapably like Microsoft got rid of the guide because it doesn’t think switching away from a Microsoft Account is a good idea – due to the benefits of the latter – then put it back up after the complaints and general outcry from some quarters of the Windows computing public.

Don’t get us wrong: there are indeed benefits to be gained from using a Microsoft Account, as the company keeps banging on about. But therein lies the problem – in the same way that Edge is actually a good web browser, but is constantly promoted in various over-the-top ways, having these products and services shoved in our face repeatedly simply makes us want to rebel and not use them out of principle. One day, perhaps, Microsoft finally will get that.

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