Using Windows 8/10 Metro Apps with a Domain device - no local MS Account bound

Michael Machie
Michael Machie used Ask the Experts™
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I need to find a way to manage and allow the use of Windows 8 and Win10 metro Apps without binding a MS account to the device. These are domain machines and no personal accounts or integration is allowed at this customer. My goal is to figure this out and I have both a Win8 Surface Pro 3 and a Win10 Surface Pro 3 to play with.

With that said:

1) I saw posts on Google related to using alternate, generic credentials. I see the place to add these, Control Panel-> User Account-> Manage Credentials-> Windows Credentials-> Generic Credentials-> Add. I created one on a Win8 machine but I am still unable to load the App Store to even test this out. The tile for all Apps, including the Store App, have the fully expected 'x' in the corner, meaning I cannot launch them without having a MS Account bound as a local User. This means I also cannot launch the Store App to see if the generic credentials work.

2) I also saw mention that when you get to the Store you can select to use either one of the accounts on the device, or you can select a MS account. I was able to get to this on a Win10 machine but when i select 'use a Microsoft Account' the pop-up goes blank and hangs. i can close it without issue but it does not load the App Store.

3) Another idea was to create company-owned live.com accounts for each User and bind things that way, but this opens a slew of issues the customer does not want to get involved in. Such as the ability to file share documents via OneDrive. Sharing documents is something the customer does not allow and this alone is enough to halt the use of that option.

4) Another thought was to have a single, master live.com account that is bound to ALL of these devices, with a shared password among the Users. This email would be configured for Outlook for IT using the hotmail connector so they can monitor activity and purchases, as well as to see the contents of OneDrive etc. However, this is maint. i don't want to force upon IT when other options, if any, exist.

Does anyone have any workarounds or solutions?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
I have used Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 and used the Microsoft Store Apps (just a small few). I have never used an email or Microsoft account.

If the apps are on the machine, you can use them with a local account.

If you have to download them, you can skip the step that says "convert to a Microsoft Account" and use the option "Just this time" for the local account.

I have never purchased any Store Apps and you would need an account of some kind to do that.

Author

Commented:
Thanks john, but these machines are Domain connected - no local account access. I cannot even load the Store because of this.

Any other thoughts?
Business Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
Try making a secondary local account (member of Administrator's group). Then log out and log in non-domain and see if you can get the Apps you need.

What Apps, if I may?  I have not see any at all for business use.
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Author

Commented:
Yes, using a local account works and has always worked. I originally set up machines using a local Admin account and then join to a domain. However, I cannot have the User moving back and forth between a local and a domain account.
I'm looking for a way to avoid using any Microsoft accounts bound to the machine itself. I'm ok with using a live.com credential when purchasing or downloading.

One specific app is Lync15. I'm being told that when the users attempt to join a Skype call they need to download this App, with no other choices. I saw references online to performing edits to use the http protocol but that can only be done if you have the Lync desktop current software already installed. That workaround was to load the local Lync application instead of launching the MS App by default, but this customer does not use Lync so no locally installed programs.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Can you use Desktop Skype? I use this. And Business Skype, I think, also avoids Metro.

Author

Commented:
I'm pretty sure one of those could be used but this question was for a way to avoid this problem in general. The User was at a high level meeting and could not join the meeting. Being pre-trained on a workaround would have gotten him through the meeting. I'm sure any decent IT could have handled that stress and found a quick solution....but this isn't an IT guy. As a consultant I oftentimes think of solutions for the future while solving an immediate need, which is why I posed the question.

I appreciate your thoughts and effort.
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Based on all of your "conditions" it sounds like you probably shouldn't be considering metro apps at all.  The architecture of the store and the apps expects cloud credentials. In win8/8.1, that *is* an MS account. Any "workarounds" are not supported and can and (guaranteed *will*) break in the near future. There is no good workaround for win8. Even the generic live account opens the Onedrive door you so desperately want to keep closed.

Win10, is a little better in that is also allows you to use an Azure AD account. But that requires setting up an Azure AD tenant (free) and going through those hoops. I consider this absolutely worthwhile, but if you are dead-set on domain accounts only and no linked account credentials, that door is also closed to you. Your choice there...

As to the follow-up I read, if the only app you want is Lync, know that this is not at all required. Lync and Skype for Business have a browser-based client that works well and doesn't require a metro app at all. The "skype" app (not lync15) has been discontinued for all x86 OSes. And if they are Skype-for-Business Online subscribers or have an on-prem server, they also have access to the Skype for Business Basic client, which is a full win32 app and thus not metro.

Author

Commented:
My question was kind of vague and no method to do what I asked is possible, which I knew and everyone else confirmed, so points are awarded.

The main issue was the Microsoft Edge browser. I needed to change the default browser to Internet Explorer so that when the User clicks links to launch web applications, the prompt to install an App does not appear and business can continue as normal. With Microsoft Edge it would automatically launch the App store if there was a corresponding metro app available.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Thanks for the update and I was happy to help.

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