[German]Avoid using Microsoft accounts, if you are in need of your data – that is the message of this article. We have some cases, where Microsoft is arbitrary blocking Microsoft Accounts – the associated digital content and services have disappeared. And there seems no way, to gain back your Microsoft Account. Time to uncover an absolute scandal once again.
Microsoft has been trying for ages to force customers to Microsoft Accounts. They are offering more and more all kinds of subscriptions that require a Microsoft account to be used/accessed. This ranges from Office 365 subscriptions to Skype to teams to Xbox or Windows 8.1/10.
With Windows 10, it is still possible to set up a local user account. But I had already reported in February 2020 (see article Windows 10: Forced Microsoft Account also in Germany) that Microsoft is forcing users more and more to use a Microsoft account during Windows setup. The marketing of Microsoft wants to force people (especially consumers) to create a Microsoft account and book a subscription (Office 365, Microsoft 365 etc.).
Some German IT magazines reported recently, that users are forced to install Windows 10 Version 2004 with a Microsoft Account.
Microsoft account disabled – you are digitally dead!
If a user loses access to his Microsoft account, he has simply died digitally. All services connected to the account can no longer be used. Subscriptions and data are also no longer accessible. I had already reported such cases in my German blog post Microsoft-Konten gesperrt, und nun?. At this point, my MVP colleague Hans Brender an me found a way, how to contact Microsoft to gain back access to a Microsoft Account. But things has changed dramatically.
New cases in January 2020
In January 2020 there was a German blog post Neues-altes Problem: Gesperrte Microsoft-Konten. There had been new cases where users on Windows 10 were suddenly confronted with the fact that their Microsoft account was locked. The affected user is then digitally wiped out and can't do anything – Microsoft support lets people starve alone. The following screenshot shows the message that the user then receives
I myself have received a similar message for one of my wife's Outlook accounts. However, there was the information that the blocked account was only related to OneDrive, as it had not been used for 2 years. I heard something similar by mail from blog readers. But it is not as bad as the case where the whole Microsoft account is deactivated.
New cases in May 2020: Microsoft account blocked, won't come back
Since the April/May 2020 several incidents, where Microsoft accounts are blocked, has occurred. I have been behind the scenes in contact with Martin Geuß from German site Dr. Windows. Because at the end of May 2020 there was this German post in the Dr. Windows forum by a person affected whose Microsoft account was suddenly simply blocked by Microsoft. This happens arbitrarily and without justification – there is no way to object and the support does not unblock the account.
Another case is discussed here in the German Dr. Windows forum. Meanwhile a German user with similar experiences has contacted me (in the comments before there are similar ones), Martin Geuß has 5 more user cases. Martin Geuß has just published the German article Wird die Nutzung eines Microsoft-Kontos zum unkalkulierbaren Risiko? The article reports, that people were facing suddenly blocked the Microsoft accounts without any reason. The didn't received an explanation, why the account was blocked and they lost access to services in the range of 2000 Euro.
Martin Geuß was in some cases able to convince Microsoft's support, to reactivate some blocked accounts – but not in all cases. But there is no defined process to escalate a case with a blocked Microsoft account. It's simply a black box, if you are blocked, you are digitally dead.
Skype account blocked without a phone number
I have received several messages from people who used Skype but did not enter a phone number for verification. After a few hours the Skype access and the user account was blocked. Here is a German comment from April 2020, where the account in question was blocked.
It's just broken
The current Microsoft Account construct and the support process to regain access to a blocked account can only be described as broken. If the account is gone, then good night. In his article Martin has put it in a nutshell what threatens users of Microsoft accounts:
- The Microsoft account can be arbitrarily suspended (with reference to the service contract) by Microsoft at any time and without justification.
- The users isn't told the reason for the account suspension – there is no legally verifiable possibility of objection.
- Anyone who has bought apps or services such as OneDrive etc. and connected them to the account loses access – the data is then simply gone.
- If there is a subscription (Office 365, Games Pass etc.), this subscription continues to run, so the blocked user seems to pay still.
Hoping for English or German language support is a vain hope. Martin has taken care of the cases in his hands and passed them on to his contacts – without success. Martin's conclusion:
I am aware that these are strong accusations. However, because of the numerous cases I have been confronted with, I think it is necessary to formulate them in this clear manner. Microsoft support for private customers is still described very diplomatically as "amateurish".
If you depend on data, avoid a Microsoft Account and use a local Windows account instead. Try also to use alternative vendors, if you depend on online services, requiring an online account.
Ok, we have now publicity – I'm just waiting for an official feedback from Microsoft – after we couldn't get a solution for affected German users asking employees from Microsoft Germany.
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