When is a checkbox not a checkbox?

2 minute read

Teal Deer v1 small TL;DR
Make sure you click No, sign in to this app only when you install Microsoft Teams, otherwise you'll end up with a business account able to administer your PC.

Microsoft Teams is YACA (Yet Another Chat App) in a world completely stuffed with them.

It comes bundled with Microsoft Office for businesses, and you can download your very own copy for your computer.

Login is through your work account, which is pretty standard.

Then this happens.

microsoft teams checkboxes
Looks ordinary enough...

What’s this do?

Allow my organization to manage my device creates an additional account on your computer, and links your device to your business.

All good, just untick it and you’re done!

Nope.

So what’s the problem?

The tickbox is a red herring. It doesn’t matter if it’s Checked or Unchecked (or in English, Ticked or Unticked).

The only way to stop your computer being linked to your work account, and work policies, etc is to click No, sign in to this app only.

ARGH! I didn’t know that! How do I fix this!?

For those of us who are contractors or employees working on Our Own Computers, this is a pain. Microsoft logs into MS Office and creates the aforementioned account within Windows 10.

I’ve seen one solution which is to clear out Windows Credentials in Credentials Manager. But the real fix is this:

  • Log out of Microsoft applications
  • Click your start icon > Settings
  • Click Accounts > Access Work or School
  • Click your work account and click Disconnect.

Now when you login to Teams again, make sure you click No, sign in to this app only. You only need to do it once and it’s problem solved.

Why is this a dark pattern?

It’s simple: it does something to Microsoft’s benefit. I don’t know what, but there’s bound to be something.

A checkbox works like this:

  • You tick (check for those in US) the box, and the thing happens.

  • You untick (uncheck) the box and it doesn’t.

Furthermore, the text is down the page and:

  • doesn’t look like a link,

  • is far enough from the textbox that does the actual work that it’ll be skipped or ignored by the average user.

Bottom line: Why would anyone click the text if the checkbox does the job?

So what’s the fix?

It’s very simple:

Make the checkbox do its job

There’s no need for additional text.

You Tick (check) the checkbox to have the business manage the computer.

You Untick (uncheck) it to prevent this happening.