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November 01, 2012

I was so close to like Windows 8... so close!

Everything was great (kind of)! Build conference started lame - with a T-shirt and a shopping tote but SteveB fixed the things in the next hour by giving every one of us a Surface, Lumia 920 and 100GB Skydrive. In the last two days Microsoft made pretty good job to excite me about Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, and after listening to Josh (Twist)'s talk about Azure Mobile Services today I decided to give it a try. Yes, I decided to develop my first application for Windows 8 (and maybe Windows Phone 8).

I went to the Microsoft Company Store to buy a copy of Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 with the vaucher that every Build 2012 attendee was given. Windows 8 was on the shelves but there was no sign of Visual Studio 2012 - not in the physical nor in the e-store. Nevertheless, using my MSDN account I spent 1/2 h downloading and another hour installing and I was able to get Windows 8 and VS2012 running in Parallels on my Mac. Impressive! Windows 8 was running much faster than Windows 7 and was not killing my machine. So far so good!

The first thing I did was to go to Windows Store Apps Dev Center and to sign-up for developer account (forgot to mention that SteveB also lowered the sign-up fee from $99 to $8 for the 8 days following the Build start). And here is when my enthusiasm vanished in just a minute.

Clicking on Get your developer account now send me to the following screen:

Error "We don't recognize the computer you're using"

First, I had no idea what content I am supposed to see but at least it was clear that I should do this from a machine that has the name LAJOLLA. I used to have a Windows machine that was called with that name but now my Mac is called LAJOLLA so I decided to give it a try. Hehe, silly! I must be kidding! Of course it didn't work! My assumption was that the machine must be a Windows one.

OK, no problem! I can easily rename the newly installed Windows 8 VM to LAJOLLA and give it a try. Well... Not really! Although I renamed the machine to LAJOLLA when I login to the page above I still see the same error. Must be something else!

My only option is to choose "Not using this computer anymore! Update your info." So I clicked on that and was asked whether I want to delete LAJOLLA. Hell, yeah! I want to create my Developer Account as fast as possible! But... SURPRISE! The info will be deleted in 30 days. For security reasons! Ugh, why? I am not sure I understood but whatever, I can go and add my brand new Surface and my newly installed Win8 VM as trusted PCs and I should be set to go. Nope! Those will be added ... guess when... in 30 days.

OK, let's go back and undelete the LAJOLLA PC and see what can we do to get my developer account set up. Because I WANT MY WINDOWS 8 DEVELOPER ACCOUNT to develop my first Windows 8 application. 

Although I did the deletion from the same browser session when I clicked on Cancel the deletion I got the following:

Now I am hosed with no trusted PC and no way to create Windows 8 Developer account for (at least) the next 30 days.

It is not about the $91 that I will save. It is about the 1h frustration and anger against the PM who invented this feature. I am wondering - what is the point of the 30 days wait time? Can't you just send me an email, or SMS on the phone, or ask me the security question? What will happen in 30 days more than in a day? Except that you may lose one more customer. 

Update: I just chatted with one of the Windows 8 people present at the Build conference. The suggestion I got was to create new Microsoft Account (or LiveID or Passport or whatever the name of it is) that I can use as my development account. He mentioned that they had similar issues because the MS Account team does not allow more than 5 machines connected to it (yes, ONLY FIVE!) and they use this internally to overcome the limitation.

Update #2: One thing that I forgot to mention is that although I renamed my newly installed Win8 to LAJOLLA when I access the Windows Account UI I still see the old name of the machine. Hence I thought that if I create new Windows 8 VM and name it LAJOLLA it may work (yeah, I really thought that this feature is not only lame but also badly implemented). However, after doing the above I ended up with the following:

Screen Shot 2012-11-01 at 9.02.25 PM

Well, this proves that it won't be easy to cheat the feature but as a user... I really don't get it! I am acessing the site from a machine with name LAJOLLA - why can't I change the security info? And what the heck does it mean that LAJOLLA will be deleted on 11/30/12 and added on 11/30/12?

Update #3: Here is also transcript of the chat I had with the Windows Store app development support representative:

Please wait for an agent to respond. You are currently '1' in the queue.

Privacy Statement

You are now chatting with 'Steven'.

Toddy: hi

Steven: Hello Toddy, my name is Steven. How can I help you?

Toddy: I am unable to create Windows 8 Developer Account

Toddy: there are some issues with my Windows Account I don't have anymore access to my trusted PC and I am unable to add any other PC as trusted for the next 30 days

Steven: Have you already completed the developer registration or is this preventing you from being able to actually complete the registration?

Toddy: This is preventing me from completing the registration

Toddy: It comes out immediately when I click the registration link

Steven: Unfortunately the 30 day waiting period cannot be bypassed. You may want to create a different Microsoft account and go through the registration with the new account. Unfortunately you won't be able to link your Windows Phone developer registration because the publisher name will be locked to your Microsoft account that is already registered as a Windows Phone developer account.

Toddy: Why is this waiting period required?

Steven: This is to protect the owner of the account if the account access has been compromised. The 30 day period is the time provided for the user to realize that they no longer has access to the account and to report the problem.

Steven: In a case where the account has not been compromised, the user must wait the 30 days, as this process cannot be bypassed or expedited.

Toddy: Can't this be done via email confirmation or phone SMS or something more advanced than 1 month waiting period? I do own the account and I can change everything like password etc.

Steven: You must already have a different method that has already been confirmed on the website below:

Steven: https://account.live.com/Proofs/Manage

Steven: If you do have a method listed there that had previously been approved, you can use that method to confirm your account.

Toddy: All other methods will be added also in a month

Steven: Unfortunately if the methods hadn't previously been added, you won't be able to verify your account through this authentication process until after the 30 day reset period.

Toddy: So! What you are saying is that there is no way for me to become Windows 8 Developer today correct?

Steven: Unless you were to use a different Microsoft account to go through the registration. This will require you to use a different publisher name than your Windows Phone developer account. If you have a business account, the publisher name must match your business name, so you would need to wait for the 30 day reset period to expire.

Toddy: Well, what can I say not very welcoming for new Windows 8 developers.

Toddy: Thank you for your time

Steven: You're welcome, sorry I could not do more to get you into the registration today.

Steven: Have a nice day.

Chat session has been terminated by the agent.



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Exact same issues although I am simply trying to access the Games for Windows Live store. Due to a reinstall, it no longer recognises this as a trusted PC and the only solutions Microsoft give me are "Make a new account for the time being" or "wait until the 30 days are up". Better answer: I just simply won't use your products anymore!


Ben, unfortunately this is the sad part - Windows team continues to not care about the customer and things that people will use it because it is Windows. They seems to be stuck in the 90s :) Good that there are smarter teams in Microsoft that will keep the company going forward.

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