Last year I imported my side-project blog where I chronicled my adventures with unsubscribing from email. I take umbridge, good sir, with services that require us to confirm preferences, untick a ton of checkboxes, write out my email, log into a portal, and/or claim it’ll take three years to remove us. A few services just unsubscribe you with one click. Most don’t.

Windows Insider takes the cake for the most convoluted, inexcusable junk mail unsubscription process I’ve had the displeasure of stepping in. We’ll start with the footer of their most recent message:

This email is part of your Windows Insider Programme membership. See our online Privacy Statement. If you wish to stop receiving Windows Insider Programme emails, you will need to leave the programme. Find out how to leave the programme.

This has two problems. They don’t mention unsubscribe anywhere, so my newsletter email filter couldn’t catch it. But far worse, they claim you can’t merely unsubscribe, you have to deactive your account entirely. Can you imagine any other online service doing that?

I clicked (#1) how to leave the programme, and got this user guide page. This is the first junk mail that’s required reading a user guide to understand how to unsubscribe.

Leave the program

Stop receiving email

If you would like to stop receiving emails from the Windows Insider Program, you will need to unregister your Windows Insider Program account. To unregister your account:

• On the Windows Insider Program website, sign in with your Microsoft Account (MSA) or your Azure Active Directory (AAD) account associated with the Windows Insider Program.

• Go to the leave the program page (visible in the footer of the site after signing in) and click on the link, “Leave the Program”. You will then see a confirmation page.

Why is now Program, not Programme?

They don’t link to the Windows Insider Program website, but as you can see they do link to the leave the program page. Which, if you’re not logged in, redirects to a generic landing page. Why have that link there in the first place then?

I go to the Windows Insider page and click (#2) a user icon in the top corner, then click (#3) Sign in with a different account, because I’m logged in with my corporate SPLA profile. I get this:

Register

Completing your registration is as easy as 1, 2, 3: read, accept and submit.

I’m trying to unregister, not register. I click (#4) the user profile icon in the top corner, and I see its trying to register me for Windows Insider on my corporate account. So I click (#5) Sign in with a different account again.

This time I get a login screen. And of course, it has no record by now of the email address I’m trying to unsubscribe from. I type my username and click (#6) Next, because it has one of those user-hostile login forms that split the username and password fields. Then type my password and click (#7) Sign in. Then click (#8) Looks good!” on a Is your security info still accurate? screen.

Okay, back to that user guide page so I can click (#9) leave the program page. We might be getting somewhere.

Leave the Windows Insider Programme

Your participation is very important to us. However, if you decide to leave the programme, please complete the following steps:

• Unregister from the programme by clicking on the link below.

LEAVE THE PROGRAM

• If you have already installed a build, follow the instructions on how to recover your device to a supported public version of Windows 10.

Hey look, it’s programme again instead of program! I clicked (#10) the shouty LEAVE THE PROGRAM link.

You are no longer registered

Your participation is important to us. If you decide to re-join the Windows Insider Programme, follow the instructions on the Getting Started page.

If you have already installed a build, follow the instructions on how to recover your device to a supported public version of Windows 10.

My participation is important to you? But on the previous screen, the one I literally only just clicked through on, said my participation was very important.

The one saving grace of this whole needlessly-convoluted mess: they didn’t send a confirmation email.