Microsoft testing error badge in Windows 11 to promote Microsoft accounts

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 5, 2023
Updated • Apr 5, 2023
Windows 11 News

Microsoft is testing a change in one of the latest Windows 11 Developer builds; it is displaying an error badge on the user's account profile image if a local account is being used.

First discovered by Albacore, it appeared in Developer build 23419, which Microsoft released in late March 2022. Microsoft did not reveal that change in the changelog on the official website.

The screenshot shows an error badge on the profile icon in the Start Menu. A click on the icon displays the following message, or order: "Sign in to your Microsoft account. You'll be able to back up your device and keep it more secure".

Microsoft has been testing promotional messages in the very same spot. All previous promotions, some would call them advertisements, were displayed to users signed in with a Microsoft account on the device.

windows 11 local account error badge

Windows 11 users have two options to sign-in to the device: use a Microsoft account or a local account. Microsoft has been pushing hard to get customers to use Microsoft Accounts and not local accounts. It started to hide the local option for many users during initial setup, but there are workarounds to create local accounts during Windows 11 setup.

The profile icon, displayed when the Start Menu opens, lists options to switch to another account, sign-out of the current account, lock the screen, or open the account settings.

Previous Start Menu promotions, those that targeted Microsoft Account users, displayed an exclamation mark badge on the profile icon. All advertised Microsoft's OneDrive service. OneDrive is free to use, but Microsoft is earning money through commercial plans that increase storage and add other tools and features for subscribers.

The local account badge makes it appear as if there is a major issue with the account or the operating system. Users who click on the profile icon to find out more about that issue, get an advertisement for Microsoft accounts and also OneDrive, which is probably not what they expect.

To Microsoft's credit, it is testing these changes in developer builds of the operating system. Whether these will make it into stable builds is up for debate. Microsoft is apparently working on a setting to block these new promotions from being displayed.

Instead of using an already existing setting, Microsoft appears to have cooked up a new preference, but it is not yet integrated into the Developer builds of Windows 11.

Closing Words

The new profile icon badges for local and Microsoft account users advertise OneDrive. Microsoft has not revealed its intention, but getting more users to use a Microsoft account and OneDrive, for backups, may certainly get more customers to pay for extra storage.

Deceptive promotions like these should not find their way into an operating system, but only time will tell if this one will find its way into stable builds of Windows 11.

Microsoft testing error badge in Windows 10 to promote Microsoft accounts
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Microsoft testing error badge in Windows 10 to promote Microsoft accounts
Microsoft is testing a change in one of the latest Windows 11 Developer builds; it is displaying an error badge on the user's account profile image if a local account is being used.
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  1. PencilTrick said on April 6, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    What Microsoft has done to Windows is dreadful. Now there is nagware, spyware, and crapware mixed together. Someone has to be fired who came up with these ideas.

  2. TelV said on April 6, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    I’ve never used a Microsoft account and I don’t intend to start now.

    Windows 8.1 was the last user-friendly OS and since then Microsoft has become a pariah in the OS market especially with it’s latest itineration which is a pain in the posterior to use. But to push users to sign in with a M$ account now while there are no benefits to using it is one more example of how Microsoft is only interested in it’s own wellbeing and not that of its users.

  3. John G. said on April 6, 2023 at 7:17 am

    W11 (aka W10.5) is the worst OS ever.

  4. yanta said on April 6, 2023 at 3:19 am

    That’s low even for Microsoft.
    Using a local account is not an error. It’s a rebellion against Micorosft’s nefarious ways.
    This company finds new ways to be more anti-user every day.

  5. Gerold Manders said on April 5, 2023 at 7:44 pm

    The network connection tray icon shows there is no internet access if certain Microsoft servers can be reached (in the allotted time). No matter if your settings are correct and you can visit sites on the internet, that icon still shows that you have no internet access.

    I mention this as the first attempt of tricking people into thinking there is a problem where there is none. As a “bonus”, it made that feature from the O.S. far less relevant than it was when it was created. For a more technical person, this is not a issue, but I have encountered so many others who are afraid something is wrong with their system and insist on a solution.

    Now a local account is being tagged as an error. As a technical user myself I am capable of what features of the operating system I want to use or not. To me, a Microsoft account has very few benefits, if any. So being tagged as an error is not too respectful towards customers, who want a local account. Heck, even the warning tag on a avatar of a local account is disrespectful.

    For proponents of Microsoft accounts, this may be akin to a storm in a glass of water. For the rest of us, it is an indicator that Microsoft is testing the waters to see if their old ways and tricks can be applied again. No matter how positive your impression of current day Microsoft may be, realize that they are not your friend. At all. You are a pouch of perpetual money that they want, no need to empty into their coffer. As fast as possible.

    “Old” Microsoft didn’t care if you were happy during the emptying. “Modern” Microsoft tricks you into being happy during the emptying. And with crap like this, they start to undo that veil of happiness.

  6. Mike said on April 5, 2023 at 7:24 pm

    There really is no possible bigger turn-off than when people don’t take “no” for an answer. Especially when we have all of these big companies *completely* figured out and we know exactly what they are gonna do with all our data.

  7. Robert said on April 5, 2023 at 7:21 pm

    It seems like that could be easily prevented by “StartAllBack” for cosmetic purposes if they were to implement that option in a future update.

    The Windows Antivirus has lately attacked W10Privacy and started quarantining it because it was reported to be a Trojan of some sort. So I had to exclude it from the scans so that it would not get quarantined. However, just like Microsoft’s error being displayed about no user account, I have to live with a message after every virus scan telling me that Win10Privacy has been excluded during scans.

    The way I see things is that Bill Gate’s generation of employees respected the customers of Microsoft. Today’s generation of Microsoft employees don’t. All they see is profit and could care less what people who use Windows want.

  8. ECJ said on April 5, 2023 at 6:18 pm

    It’s about time Microsoft were slapped for deceptive and anti-consumer practices.

    In 2015 I was all in on Microsoft, now I want nothing to do with them.

  9. Anonymous said on April 5, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    Doesn’t look like Windows 10, what gives, Martin?

  10. Barbados Flamingo said on April 5, 2023 at 4:57 pm

    “Sign in to your Microsoft account. You’ll be able to back up your device and keep it more secure”.

    “Deceptive promotions like these should not find their way into an operating system, but only time will tell if this one will find its way into stable builds of Windows 11.”

    Don’t find any deception since there are some benefits to having a MS Account. I would find it terrifyingly annoying and would probably do something super simple, like change Start Menus. I’m somewhat sure that would eliminate the problem.

    I use Start11 by Stardock and all previous iterations on different computers. Some use StartIsBack; some use OpenShell. Many others like ViStart.

    No problems here. No complaints. No deception. No issues.

    I’m sure there’s a way to change the registry.

    1. basingstoke said on April 6, 2023 at 10:18 am

      “benefits” my ass, dude. This is such cope – if your OS needs heavy handed interventions from 3rd parties to even be useable, that speaks volumes.

      Mac doesn’t suffer from this, Windows 7 doesn’t suffer from this – modern Windows is really falling down.

  11. Jim said on April 5, 2023 at 4:38 pm

    It’s all about trust. I manually install security updates every quarter (downloaded from a target VM) and all M$ is blocked at my customer sites. There’s no benefit allowing their insidious account and backdoor (W11 and now WX22H2 (circumvents firewall despite IPv6 disabled)) access. Security? Pshah! That Azure fiasco last week took down a few customers (thankfully not mine), what will it be this week? Stateful images and diligent backups are the only way to go.

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