By requiring the creation of an account to use Windows 11, Microsoft seeks in particular to prevent users from losing their data. But some see it more as a ball and chain.
Like you, I hate creating an account just to use every Microsoft product. I feel like this is a desperate attempt to spam my email box with marketing offers. It’s equally hard to read that many Windows PCs won’t be able to benefit from Windows 11, although we now understand better why Microsoft requires a TPM module for its latest operating system. But if you consider all of these big changes as signs of where Windows 11 is headed, the requirement for an account starts to make more sense. It’s clear that Microsoft wants to strengthen the basic security of every Windows 11 PC far beyond what has been required so far.
One of the functions for which the managed service account (MSA) will be important is BitLocker, which encrypts the contents of the hard drive. BitLocker has been available since Windows 8. In Windows 10, it’s enabled by default on newer machines that support a feature called Modern Standby (which is to make PCs wake up as fast as a phone). ). If you haven’t noticed BitLocker on your computer, it might be because you didn’t create a Microsoft account and used a local account. In this case, BitLocker is not enabled.
A response to lost data named BitLocker
BitLocker will be enabled by default on all Windows 11 PCs. After the drive is encrypted with BitLocker, Windows asks you where you want to save the encryption key. This key reduces the risk of data corruption if your laptop is stolen or lost. It is stored in the TPM firmware of the CPU or in a TPM 2.0 module where it will be called upon to “unseal” the disk during the connection process. If the PC’s motherboard suffers a catastrophic failure and you’re forced to take the drive out of the laptop to access it elsewhere, you won’t be able to unlock it without the BitLocker encryption key. You tell yourself that it’s not a problem, “I will find this USB key or this piece of paper where I wrote it down three years ago, because I chose not to store it in my Microsoft account” .
However, this will no longer be possible with what Microsoft offers: put a shield around each latest consumer PC, to eradicate the bad habits of noting these keys on a piece of paper that you misplace. It can happen to anyone, but Microsoft doesn’t want you to lose access to your drive just because you’re disorganized or unlucky. Note, however, that only Windows 11 Home requires login, while Windows 11 Pro will not. A Windows 10 Pro user is probably more advanced and able to manage the key on their own – or accept help from Microsoft and store the key in their Microsoft account.
At your peril
If you think your PC will never escape your control, think again. I recently found an abandoned gaming PC that someone threw on the road. Along with taking the graphics card out of the box, I also saved the 128GB SSD and 1TB hard drive. And without BitLocker, it was easy to access the resumes, personal files, game saves, and work documents I the person had left there… If this person had enabled BitLocker by default, the data would have been out of my reach.
Do I know for sure if it is possible to save consumers from themselves by requiring a Microsoft account for Windows 11 Home? No. However, the reasoning goes back to Microsoft’s decision to lock down the security of all Windows 11 users for their own good. I don’t know if it will make it that far, but at least this decision makes more sense than what we’ve been told so far.