PIN, password, confusion - sigh


Bree

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Windows 11 Home
A bit of research revealed that the 'MS Account' that is required for Win 11 Home login has to be a 'personal' MS Account, not a 'work' or 'business' MS Account.
Interesting, I was not aware of that.

However, my Win11 Home PC has only local accounts. In the case of my System One in the specs below that was because it got the W11 upgrade from a W10 that only used local accounts, but there are workarounds to set up a new install of W11* bypassing the requirement to use an MS account.

That's not to say I don't have and use an MS account, with all the benefits that provides. It just means that I don't have to use it to sign in to the PC.


* you will note that I missed out 'Home' in that sentence. That's because it looks like starting with 22H2 an MS account will be required to set up Pro as well.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Aspire 3 A315-23
    CPU
    AMD Athlon Silver 3050U
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon Graphics
    Monitor(s) Displays
    laptop screen
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768 native resolution, up to 2560x1440 with Radeon Virtual Super Resolution
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung EVO 870 SSD
    Browser
    Edge, Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October. Windows Update offered the 22H2 Feature Update on 20th September 2022.

    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.

    My SYSTEM FOUR is a 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e 20DA, Celeron N2930, 4GB RAM, 128GB ssd. Unsupported device: currently running Win10 Pro, plus Win11 Pro 22H2 Insider Release Preview as a native boot vhdx.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Lattitude E4310
    CPU
    i5 M 520
    Motherboard
    0T6M8G
    Memory
    4GB
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    500GB HDD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround. In-place upgrade to 22H2 using ISO and a workaround.

    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.

    My SYSTEM FOUR is a 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e 20DA, Celeron N2930, 4GB RAM, 128GB ssd. Unsupported device: currently running Win10 Pro, plus Win11 Pro 22H2 Insider Release Preview as a native boot vhdx.

Mark Phelps

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From that article: "... Someone who steals your online password can sign in to your account from anywhere, but if they steal your PIN, they'd have to steal your physical device too!" . So their argument is, the PIN is no use to anyone UNLESS they also steal your device ... but that's a valid scenario.
You specifically state "online" password.

I use a LOCAL password for my Win11 PC -- and I presume that it is not "online" as I have not, as far as I know, shared it with MS.

My local password is 14 characters long and a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.

So, are you saying that password is at risk?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom built
    CPU
    Ryzen 5600X
    Motherboard
    ASRock Steel Legend
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GT 710
    Sound Card
    None
    Monitor(s) Displays
    23",24", 19" - flat panels
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1200
    Hard Drives
    None - only M.2 SATA and NVMe drives
    PSU
    750W
    Case
    Antec
    Cooling
    stock Wraith cooler
    Keyboard
    Corsair gaming
    Mouse
    Logitech M720
    Internet Speed
    1Gb

Bree

Well-known member
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Local time
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6,476
Location
S/E England, UK
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Windows 11 Home
My local password is 14 characters long and a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.
So, are you saying that password is at risk?
Give me your PC, and I'll give it back to you with your local account's password reset so I could sign in as you.

If your PC is stolen a local account is no real protection against a knowledgeable hacker, no matter how complex the password. It's far too easy to reset the password.

Now an MS account, that's a different matter - I wouldn't be able to reset the password for that. I know, I've tried. I was asked by my cousin to unlock her late husband's PC. Best I could do was create a new local administrator account, so at least we could recover his documents.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Aspire 3 A315-23
    CPU
    AMD Athlon Silver 3050U
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon Graphics
    Monitor(s) Displays
    laptop screen
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768 native resolution, up to 2560x1440 with Radeon Virtual Super Resolution
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung EVO 870 SSD
    Browser
    Edge, Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October. Windows Update offered the 22H2 Feature Update on 20th September 2022.

    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.

    My SYSTEM FOUR is a 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e 20DA, Celeron N2930, 4GB RAM, 128GB ssd. Unsupported device: currently running Win10 Pro, plus Win11 Pro 22H2 Insider Release Preview as a native boot vhdx.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Lattitude E4310
    CPU
    i5 M 520
    Motherboard
    0T6M8G
    Memory
    4GB
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    500GB HDD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround. In-place upgrade to 22H2 using ISO and a workaround.

    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.

    My SYSTEM FOUR is a 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e 20DA, Celeron N2930, 4GB RAM, 128GB ssd. Unsupported device: currently running Win10 Pro, plus Win11 Pro 22H2 Insider Release Preview as a native boot vhdx.

Steerpike

Member
Local time
12:40 PM
Posts
19
OS
Windows 11 Home
Interesting, I was not aware of that.

Here's a great article that explains the confusing state of affairs. Microsoft’s Maze Of Work And Personal Accounts | Bruceb Consulting and a shorter, updated version, same author (updated to 2020 situation) - Microsoft Business & Personal Accounts | Bruceb Consulting .
In my case, I set up my own company in 2014 and wanted to use Office 365 for my email hosting (and office licensing), and for that I purchased a subscription to 'Office 365', which meant I got a 'work or school account'. But they won't allow a 'work or school account' to be the login for Win 11 Home, so when I bought a new laptop a couple of months ago I had to create another, 'personal' Microsoft account. I could have just forked over some extra $ and bought an upgrade to win 11 Pro, but I decided to see what the 'home' experience was since more of my clients are home users these days. And of course I could have just worked around the whole need for an MS account, but again, I decided to torture myself and see what 'the average user' experiences.
However, my Win11 Home PC has only local accounts. In the case of my System One in the specs below that was because it got the W11 upgrade from a W10 that only used local accounts, but there are workarounds to set up a new install of W11* bypassing the requirement to use an MS account.

That's not to say I don't have and use an MS account, with all the benefits that provides. It just means that I don't have to use it to sign in to the PC.


* you will note that I missed out 'Home' in that sentence. That's because it looks like starting with 22H2 an MS account will be required to set up Pro as well.
I think that is a more appropriate way to go. I really don't like having MS involved in my device sign-in!
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    LG Gram 17 17Z95P-K.AAE8U1
    CPU
    i7-1195G7
    Memory
    16GB LPDDR4X 4266MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe (Integrated)
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1600
    Hard Drives
    512 GB M.2 NVMe SSD
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Samsung NP940X5J
    Memory
    8 Gig
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    256 GB SSD; 2 TB SSD (SATA)

Mark Phelps

Active member
Member
VIP
Local time
3:40 PM
Posts
219
OS
Windows 11
Give me your PC, and I'll give it back to you with your local account's password reset so I could sign in as you.

If your PC is stolen a local account is no real protection against a knowledgeable hacker, no matter how complex the password. It's far too easy to reset the password.

Now an MS account, that's a different matter - I wouldn't be able to reset the password for that. I know, I've tried. I was asked by my cousin to unlock her late husband's PC. Best I could do was create a new local administrator account, so at least we could recover his documents.
Thanks -- I did not know that. But other than theft, the local password then, is not at risk, right?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom built
    CPU
    Ryzen 5600X
    Motherboard
    ASRock Steel Legend
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GT 710
    Sound Card
    None
    Monitor(s) Displays
    23",24", 19" - flat panels
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1200
    Hard Drives
    None - only M.2 SATA and NVMe drives
    PSU
    750W
    Case
    Antec
    Cooling
    stock Wraith cooler
    Keyboard
    Corsair gaming
    Mouse
    Logitech M720
    Internet Speed
    1Gb

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