I seemed to be in the minority but I really didn’t have anything bad to say about Windows 8.1. It worked well on my work and personal devices for me and my family. In particular I liked the Family Safety features which allowed my four year old daughter to have her own local account with her own apps and crucially no access to my Office 365 documents, mail and applications.
She knew how to use Windows 8.1 and felt a little bit of pride when she switched accounts from Daddy and picked her own face. As she is only four she didn’t have a password as we’re focusing on learning to write but the computer is in the family room and she always sought parental permission. Despite this, the weekly activity report was invaluable for ensuring that she wasn’t spending too much time on the computer and was interesting to see which apps she used the most.
Fast forward to our Windows 10 download and installation, and I sat down with my daughter to show her the changes in the OS. She quickly grasped that she could no longer swipe in from the side, and that she has to maximise the ‘modern style’ apps. But wait, what’s this? Family Safety is turned off for local accounts. I dutifully followed the link to find out how to enable Family Safety which told me that to use the feature, the local account must be switched to a Microsoft account.
So to use the restrictions and get the activity reports I need to sign up my four year old daughter to Microsoft’s services. Of course, there are now password restrictions so my four year old child needs to remember an eight character password with at least two of upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols. I’m all for teaching children about information security but this is going to be tricky, especially as the password can’t contain her name as that will be preceding the @ symbol. The Family Safety web page does say that you can use a picture password for a child but if you are using a corporate Office 365 account then this feature will likely be disabled.
I’m also not sure that I want to sell out my child’s identity by signing up to a Microsoft account so now my choices is to either to that and type in her password for her every time or to lose the family safety features.
Has Microsoft just killed the family in Windows 10?