back to article Microsoft makes account switching easier in its web and desktop apps

Microsoft has taken some tentative steps to make account switching easier in its 365 apps with the addition of a list of signed-in users. Switching accounts in Microsoft's product has long been a pain for users, requiring them to sign out and sign back in to (for example) change between their personal and work accounts. While …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Pros & cons?

    "Switching accounts in Microsoft's product has long been a pain for users, requiring them to sign out and sign back in to (for example) change between their personal and work accounts"

    Less convenient maybe, but from a security perspective a jolly good idea as it allows working memory to be purged to protect accounts from each other. Relying on memory segregation between concurrent account spaces is inherently more hazardous.

    Ultimately, the balance between convenience and security must be biased to some extent in favour of security. Otherwise we're right back with Win95.

  2. mmccul

    Browser profiles?

    Instead of using a guest profile, why don't more people use persistent browser profiles? Especially on my work computer, I use multiple profiles so that it feels like just a separate window of the browser logged into different accounts. Side benefit is I get different sets of cookies that are persistent, so other vendor websites or services can be bound to the correct account automatically.

  3. JimmyPage

    Bout time

    When I worked in the education sector, it wasn't unusual for some staff to have 3 or 4 separate O365 accounts with 3 separate establishments. Plus ours. Plus their personal one.

    Nightmare.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox multi-account containers solves this problem perfectly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But then lands you with the problem of using Firefox. Not everyone's cup of tea.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Firefox. Not everyone's cup of tea.

        Seems a pretty succinct statement of fact. Didn't realise there were "bad" facts. Clearly low quality thinking is as extant in tech as the general population. Shame, really.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But what about the apps?

    Switching in the browser is all very well but who actually works with O365 in the browser? With the notable exception of Outlook the 365 apps like SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams are notoriously unable to work reliably when logged into multiple 365 accounts if they can do it at all, that is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But what about the apps?

      Teams is unreliable just handling one account...

      Yes, it's a pain having to launch umpteen separate programs to do stuff... but that jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none POS saps the life energy out of the machine and I STILL have to launch other programs (Outlook, Word, Excel) to do my work

      And why does it not remember the 'last used' state, opening full screen each time... although it now seems to default to the last chat rather than a random chat from a couple of years ago

    2. gv

      Re: But what about the apps?

      Forced to use the browser for my current project as the customer has restricted my account but insists on using the MS O365 ecosystem.

    3. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: But what about the apps?

      who actually works with O365 in the browser?

      There's also the problem of the online versions of the apps being less "fully featured" than the local versions. One child had to produce a big report for school in Word with some very specific layout guidelines, including the use of text boxes. Online app can't do text boxes, which was a right royal pain in the backside during lockdown when it was impossible to go in to school and use the "real" apps on the school computers - we have no copy of Office at home and while he was very pleased that school provided him with a Chromebook, it, too, can only access the online apps.

      He says there's a problem with Excel too, some restrictions on size of sheets and something that meant the graphs he made in the desktop version wouldn't show in the online version, and vice versa. In fact at one point a Word document became corrupted and un-editable, possibly also something to do with embedded Excel graphs and swapping between desktop and online apps. That was partly solved by saving it locally and loading and re-saving from LibreOffice. While this didn't fix everything in the online app, it at least became editable again, and when he was next in school, loading into the desktop version everything magically re-appeared.

      Easy swapping of accounts in Teams would solve an awful lot of problems, but not the ones where you actually need to be online to two (or more!) accounts at the same time, which is something my wife has to do occasionally. Her solution is to use a laptop for one and an iPad for the other, but it's not ideal. Private browser windows might work, but trying to explain it to her...

      M.

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