Published: Mon, January 07, 2019
Tech | By Constance Martin

Latest Insider Build Expands Use of Passwordless Microsoft Accounts

Latest Insider Build Expands Use of Passwordless Microsoft Accounts

More than 3.5 years after launch, Windows 10 has finally pulled ahead of Windows 7 in terms of overall popularity.

Microsoft has released Windows 10 preview build 18309 to Insiders in the Fast ring and includes a new push toward a password-less login experience.

Cortana will only be gagged if you're installing Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise or Education - the voice assistant is still its perky, annoying self on Home installations.

Insiders who have a Microsoft account attached to a phone number can use an SMS text message code to sign in and set up their Windows 10 installation.

Microsoft has also revamped the Windows Hello PIN reset experience. Mac OS X 10.14 sits in third place with 4.73 percent, and Windows XP is fourth with 4.54 percent. Some of this may be an ongoing correction since it isn't clear why Windows 7 (32-bit) would see positive adoption figures this late in its life cycle, but the size of the gap between consumer and gamer adoption of Windows 10 shows that the two markets are on very different trajectories. Essentially, Microsoft is now asking users to sign in to Windows 10 with their registered phone.

In the meantime, it will ask you not to upgrade to the latest Windows 10 update if you have one built-in account with admin privileges as it might block all the admin functions.

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But how do you protect your account without a password?

One caveat is that users will need a Microsoft account for this to work, but it's fairly easy to create one. Although this offer officially ended on July 29th, 2016, it is still technically possible to go through the process on a Windows 7/8.1 PC.

Moral of the story: Windows 10's setup experience is inconvenient and incomplete.

As a result, you will easily be able to navigate to the most used apps without searching for it.

Preview Build 18309's other noteworthy additions revolve around security changes.

Also on the ease of access front, Microsoft has added 11 new mouse pointer sizes under Cursor and Pointers settings, to make for 15 choices in total. That's according to the December OS market share statistics from analytics firm Net Applications, which show that Windows 10 managed to grab 39.22% of the market, while Windows 7 lagged behind at 36.9%.

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