Microsoft removes family safety for local accounts in Windows 10 forcing children to have online Microsoft accounts

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.

Using the computer

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.

Set up family features

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?

5 Replies to “Microsoft removes family safety for local accounts in Windows 10 forcing children to have online Microsoft accounts”

  1. Yes, I am having the same problem here, although it is not on a shared system. My 10 year old son’s notebook was running 8.1, with a local account setup as a Child Family Safety account (which I administered from my own local admin account on it). After upgrading his system to Win10 a few days ago, I was not happy to see that his account had silently been converted to Standard User and the Family Safety restrictions were no longer in place. After much time wasted trying to research and resolve this, I am even more unhappy to reach the conclusion that there are two choices: revert to Win 8.1, or be forced to setup a Microsoft account for my son.

  2. In the end I created the Microsoft account but I have the password for online usage and we setup PIN access for my daughter to use on the computer only as an alternative for her to the complex password.

  3. I personally feel they have gone to far. I setup computers for people and families. I have a friend with an autistic daughter and they want the windows 10 upgraded machine to be set up like they were in Windows 7. Web all secured and locked down…… They already have email accounts and they are not hotmail or other Microsoft accounts… So good luck setting it up they way it always has been for some people. Gone too far? Yes in my opinion. This is why people are changing what they use! A person should be able to use whatever email provider they wish…

  4. I agree this needs to be fixed. First of all, we have six kids and Microsoft only allows 5 to be added. Now they took away the possibility of protecting the 6th child with a local account. Terrible! Also, we homeschool, and I have one computer hooked up to a printer and the kids just print to cloudprint. My “printer” account was local, with access ONLY to google and gmail to enable the print, but all other websites, apps and programs were banned. Now they took that away.

    I agree Microsoft needs to fix Family Safety, and fast!
    ( When I went to add my opinion to the link you gave, I’m getting access denied, I don’t know why.)

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