It takes forever to sign in to Windows with Microsoft account

Story

After I installed Windows 10 Anniversary Update, I got trouble using Visual Studio. Therefore I moved my workspace to OneDrive (which is a small set since I have already used OneDrive and GitHub for most things) and reset my Surface Pro 3. Now bad things happen again!

I have a special addict for using the correct user name. If you sign in with Microsoft account, the default user name for you is the first five characters of your primary email address. This wasn’t true in Windows 8 RTM. But somehow Microsoft decided to change the naming scheme. Anyway, a way to workaround this is to sign in locally when OOBEing, and add the Microsoft account later, and before signing in the account, rename it in lusrmgr.msc so that you have the correct name.

Everything was fine until I set fingerprint login (Windows Hello). I found it rather strange since, when I logged on my Microsoft account for the first time, I was prompted to add my Hello credential BEFORE I was prompted to add a PIN. Officially Windows Hello requires PIN to work, therefore it is rather fishy to set up Windows Hello without a PIN.

When I tried to sign in Windows with my fingerprint, Windows stuck at Welcome Screen with ‘Hello!’ (message of successful Hello sign-in) and after the screen timed out, it said ‘Your device is offline. Sign in with the last password you used on this machine.’ This is rather confusing, since I never changed my password since this install and surely my device is online. To make it worse, I even could not sign in with my password. Windows gave exactly the same response.

However, I was able to log on remotely from my phone under the same Wi-Fi. And then signing in locally (taking over the session from the phone) with password succeeded immediately.

It took a while before I finally found a cure.

Issue

Condition Set 1

  • You use Microsoft account to sign in Windows;
  • You set up both Windows Hello and PIN on your first log-on (out-of-box experience);
  • You set up Windows Hello before you set up your PIN;

Condition Set 2

  • You use Microsoft account to sign in Windows;
  • You set up both Windows Hello and PIN;
  • You set up Windows Hello before you set up PIN;

Symptoms

When one of the condition sets is met, you might find that when you sign in to Windows with Windows Hello, PIN or password, you get stuck and finally Windows says you have to use the last password used on the machine.

Workaround

IMPORTANT This workaround might not work for everyone.

To workaround the issue, you can try the following steps:

  1. In Accounts > Sign-in options, remove Windows Hello from your sign-in option;
  2. Remove PIN from your sign-in option;
  3. In Accounts > Your info, switch to a local account (Sign in with a local account instead link);
  4. Log off and on again;
  5. Return to Accounts > Your info, switch back to Microsoft account (Sign in with a Microsoft account instead link);
  6. Enter your Microsoft account credential;
  7. Enter your curent local account password (if prompted to);
  8. Set a PIN for your Microsoft account;
  9. After you’re done switching to Microsoft account, you should see Verify link, click it;
  10. Verify your identity (Authenticator, email or phone);
  11. Log off and on again;
  12. Add your Windows Hello credentials.

After these steps, you should be able to sign in to your device with Windows Hello, PIN or password without being stuck at Welcome Screen.

Solution

There is no official solution yet since the cause of the problem is still unclear.

Moral

Do not violate the dependency or you will get screwed.

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