Windows 11 will be amazing, but why is Microsoft making things difficult?

Microsoft is shutting people out, and it's not necessary

Windows 11 browsing T3.com
(Image credit: Future)

Windows 11 could be an amazing upgrade for millions of people, but the machinery of Microsoft is frankly exhausting. By now a lot of people are aware that Microsoft is making some changes and that Windows 11 might not work on some older machines and a lot of computers will need their settings tweaked in order to accept the new operating system. 

For one, there’s the requirement that computers installing it have a TPM or Trusted Platform Manager. While most people probably haven’t heard of the TPM there’s little reason to worry. Most reasonably modern PCs have them and they’ve been common for a number of years. And I don’t object to this idea, PCs that use a TPM and secure boot are more able to withstand malicious code attacks from hackers, so there are some solid reasons to use them.

Windows 11 error message

(Image credit: Future)

My concern really is that a lot of computers that are technically able to use a TPM but won’t have it turned on. My self-built PC didn’t, and while I’m not a PC expert, I certainly know my way around a BIOS, or UEFI configuration. And this is where the problem lies, for those who own machines that are technically capable, Microsoft may be shutting them out for want of a simple change in the computer’s settings. 

Perhaps worse though is the requirement for Windows 11 Home users to have a Microsoft account in order to set up their PC. This is new, and again it’s a very frustrating requirement. I asked Microsoft about this and it declined to officially comment however I  was told, on background, that people are used to having user accounts tied to the cloud and it was common with companies like Apple and Google to require it for their mobile phones. 

While that sort of true, as far as I know you can actually use both an iPhone and Android device without a user account. In Apple’s case, you’d only have the basic pre-installed apps and for Google phones you would have the same, and you could side-load apps from alternate stores manually. 

But that really dodges the point. This isn’t for phones, it’s for PCs, and some people just aren’t interested in setting up yet another user account. Honestly, I’m at my wits end thanks to literally everything needing an account now. I can’t so much as buy a doorbell now without needing an account somewhere in the ether. 

I know why Microsoft’s pushing for user accounts too, it’s clearly desperate to stop the rot in its ailing app store. I would imagine it’s seen Apple and Google’s vibrant app libraries and the potential revenue stream from them, and has decided that it needs to do something about its own app store. And I agree, Windows Store is, without doubt, one of the worst things Microsoft has ever attempted, and I have absolutely not forgotten about Clippy. But trying to force people to use it will be an unproductive waste of time and money. 

And, what’s more, it turns out that almost all of these restrictions can be ignored if you have a bit of technical knowledge. I’ve just watched a great Linus Tech Tips video on exactly that, and I’d urge you to check it out if only to understand that Microsoft’s decision to push these changes feels like a punishment for normal people, while the more technically literate will simply unplug their Ethernet cable during installation to get around the user account problem (I’m deadly serious, apparently that works). 

Come on Microsoft, it’s all looking so good right now. Windows is better than ever and about to become a powerhouse - don’t ruin it with ludicrous restrictions. 

Ian Morris

Ian has been involved in technology journalism since 2007, originally writing about AV hardware back when LCDs and plasma TVs were just gaining popularity. Nearly 15 years on, he remains as excited about how tech can make your life better. Ian is the editor of T3.com.