How to fix error with 'user account did not work' on Microsoft Remote Desktop

This was surprisingly hard to find out what was wrong, so sharing back how to fix an issue with Microsoft Remote Desktop on macOS, where I could not access the remote machine using my usual account credentials with the error user account did not work.

The client seemed at first open to be pretty solid on macOS, leading me through the setup and configuration quite painlessly. I had to enable remote desktop on the windows machine, but that was a no brainer. The speedbump however, was which credential to use, and why was the usual login not working?

The machine was configured to use windows hello to login with a pin - and neither that pin, nor any combination of network logins seemed to be working, without any feedback from the client.

Some quick searches confirmed that the microsoft account login, email and password, should work just fine via remote desktop, once that has been setup in the sign in options. However, even after setting all that up, I still could not login, with the same error "user account not working".

It turned out that this error is due to the sign in method via remote desktop not being the same as the last sign in on the physical machine - meaning that, if you logged in with windows hello or a pin, then there's no way to login via remote desktop with a microsoft account.

The way to fix this is to sign in on the physical machine with your microsoft account, and then log out. Remote desktop will then accept this username and password, straight email without any kind of network qualifier, and away you go. If you are logged in with that account on the physical machine, logging in with that same account over the network will kick you out.

Hope this helps someone.

Tags: windows

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