Changing Microsoft Account alias is painful

Access deined for my new alias

A short update: The recent MSDN subscription migration kills my migrated account alias too. After contacting Microsoft support, I removed legacy alias from my account, create a new Microsoft Account using my legacy alias and restored my access to the new Visual Studio Subscription portal. In the same way, I removed legacy Microsoft Account in my Azure AD, linked two separated Microsoft Accounts(legacy and new alias) and resolved my issue accessing Visual Studio Team Services.

Such inconsistency always happens, and usually remove & add will be the universal solution in most cases.

After using legacy alias for almost 7 years, I decided to replace my Microsoft Account alias with a new email address due to increasing security concern of Netease Mail (my previous email service provider). Though I changed alternative recovery email to my domain email after several major security incidents, it looks weird to have an email alias linked to my Microsoft account.

Okay, I changed my alias the day before yesterday. It works. I didn’t delete the old one because I want to maintain some sort of backward compatibility. It works across my personal devices without any pain.

Annoying things came afterward days later.

Let’s talk about SSO/Federated Logon

Before talking about terrible things after switching to the new alias, let’s talk about Federated Logon. Technically speaking, Federated login is an authentication workflow based on trust relationships. Suppose Identity Provider A and Application B have successfully established two-way trust relationship by service provision. When a new user login attempt occurs, B redirects authentication challenges to Identity Provider A, with necessary metadata, like secure token ID, timestamp, nonce and finally something that validates the request, for example, digital signature, even token encryption. Since Application B has its own approach to understand Identity Provider A’s payload(so does B), the communication will be secured.

When Identity Provider A completes user authentication challenges(password, client certificate, fingerprint, etc.), it signs (encrypts maybe) authenticated user claims (user ID, user name and something else) and posts to B. The workflow image of WS-Federation below represents such workflow. OAuth and OpenID Connect have similar workflow with slight differences(multiple modes to retrieve user claims).

WS-Fed workflow from
WS-Fed workflow from

Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio Team Services and most Microsoft services use OpenID Connect. Believe it or not, you use Federated Logon and SSO every day.

Microsoft Account and Azure AD Account

They are two separated systems though they have something in common. Each Microsoft Account has a CID, a unique identifier in Microsoft Account system. All Microsoft Consumer services use CID to recognize your identity. For example, your email account is identified using your CID.

Azure AD Account handles it differently. Each Azure Active Directory have a tenant ID to identify AAD in AAD system. Each AAD contains objects: users, groups, computers, trust relationships….and more. Each AAD user has a unique alias in a specific AAD tenant. So the coexistence of 2ea6c0b4-cc49-42b8-9f1b-3f4aa653c719\imbushuo and b5093785-af31-4819-bf75-728d4474769c\imbushuo is possible.

Microsoft Accounts can be linked into Azure AD too: during the linking procedure, a new external user from Microsoft Account will be created in an AAD tenant, so you may have 2ea6c0b4-cc49-42b8-9f1b-3f4aa653c719\ When Bill wants to access resources in his tenant’s AAD, he will type in AAD Federation Service(Work and school account), a single sign on portal for Azure AD. Later, AAD FS will redirects the authentication challenges to Microsoft Account login portal. If Bill is authenticated in Microsoft Account login portal, he will be redirected back to AAD FS, with claims provided by Microsoft Account. Finally, AAD FS will tell the application that the user is Bill.

My blog uses such login mechanism too. See my management portal to get some idea about this if you don’t understand.

But…there’s no CID in Azure AD

But there’s something just works like CID: user alias. Another mapping! Microsoft Account will be mapped to Azure AD account, then the application will use the Azure AD account identity. After changing my alias in Microsoft Account, my Azure AD user alias remains the same. So I can login into my blog management portal with the same identity:

Logged in with the same ID
Logged in with the same ID

Do you remember that federation logon can carry multiple attributes at one time? So here’s the problem. My team’s source control service, Visual Studio Team Services, seems to use email address (which changes after rotating my primary Microsoft Account alias) to identity user. After logging in with my organization account, I found that my email address didn’t change after the rotation. To make the whole thing worse, I am the account creator, hence I cannot remove my Microsoft Account in VSTS to address the issue.

In short, the primary alias rotation didn’t change my user alias in Azure AD, but applications’ behavior vary based on how they deal with user claims.


Seems that I have to change my alias back. Yuck.

Using WASAPI Exclusive mode in Universal Windows Apps (Desktop)

Windows Audio Session API (WASAPI) was first introduced in Windows Vista. It offers advanced audio control and playback features for Windows Apps. Since it mitigates SRC issue in some aspects, WASAPI Exclusive Mode gains its popularity among music lovers. Windows Runtime supports a small subset of WASAPI APIs, including WASAPI Exclusive mode (in Windows 10).

However, here is one thing you should know: Windows 10 Mobile doesn’t support WASAPI Exclusive mode (by design).  As far as I know, only desktop platform is supported yet. Luckily, modern Windows Phone devices can choose the best format for shared mode using input wave’s format, so you don’t have to worry that (at least on Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL).

Audio Format

There’s no IMMDevice available in Windows Runtime. Try to create it via CLSID & IID will throw HRESULT Class Not Registered. It will cause some trouble getting all natively supported formats for Exclusive mode. A possible solution is using Properties property in DeviceInformation class in Windows Runtime instead of IMMDevice class & OpenPropertyStore method. Then, query the format using IsFormatSupported in IAudioClient2. Remember that in Exclusive Mode, system won’t return the best-fit wave format in this method, so you have to try all formats and select the best wave format by yourself. In my sample, I specified 44.1kHz / 16Bit / WaveFormat = 0x1, which is supported by my Surface Pro’s audio subsystem.

Initialize Audio Client

Then you can initialize IAudioClient2 in exclusive mode. Simply pass AUDCLNT_SHAREMODE_EXCLUSIVE in, specify Buffer Length and Wave Format. You may get some HRESULTs like AUDCLNT_E_BUFFER_SIZE_NOT_ALIGNED or AUDCLNT_E_BUFFER_SIZE_ERROR. Just check out this page and find solutions.

Perform Playback

Like HW-Offload mode, you don’t have to calculate available frames by yourself In event-based playback mode. The value for padding frames is exactly the same as available frames. Then return audio samples as what you do in shared mode.


It should supports Windows 8.1 desktop, but I haven’t test it on Windows 8.1 since I don’t have a Windows 8.1 desktop device.

I often noticed weird noise during playback when the system average load is high. I believe the root cause is process priority.

Windows 10 removed Background Audio category in WASAPI headers. In order to implement background playback, a customized out-of-process COM server or Media Foundation extension is required.

I don’t offer a demo program here, because it’s pretty easy to adapt the official sample to WASAPI Exclusive mode. 🙂

Direct2D based blur effect in Windows Runtime Apps

Effects such as DropShadowEffect, BlurEffect were removed from Windows Runtime XAML. In order to achieve some goals, I need to write something like these.

Luckily Direct2D provides many useful effects for us, including Gaussian Blur, which is the effect I want.

At first I tried SharpDX, it worked well on Intel platform devices, but not ARM-based devices. To make matters worse, SharpDX‘s performance was not so good as I thought. So I had to write a C++/CX Windows Runtime Component and use it in my own Windows Runtime XAML project.
Here’s the result.

Windows Runtime XAML Render to bitmap sample with blur effect
Windows Runtime XAML render to bitmap sample with blur effect

To use Direct2D, I need to create device resources first. Create the Direct3D 11 API device object, and then get the Direct2D device object.

Note: To convert stream, see here:

Then receive the bitmap and create WIC object. Finally get things ready and draw, and generate output file.

Note: Set D2D1_GAUSSIANBLUR_PROP_BORDER_MODE to D2D1_BORDER_MODE_HARD, you will get the iOS 7-like blur style.

Here’s the main source code:


#include "pch.h"
#include "D2DBlurEffect.h"

using namespace Light::UI::Effects::Direct2D::BlurEffect;
using namespace Platform;
using namespace concurrency;

using namespace Microsoft::WRL;
using namespace Windows::ApplicationModel;
using namespace Windows::System;
using namespace Windows::Foundation;
using namespace Windows::Graphics::Display;
using namespace Windows::Storage;
using namespace Windows::UI::Core;

// Initialize hardware-dependent resources.
void BlurEffectImageProcessor::CreateDeviceResources()
// This flag adds support for surfaces with a different color channel ordering
// than the API default. It is required for compatibility with Direct2D.

#if defined(_DEBUG)
// If the project is in a debug build, enable debugging via SDK Layers.
creationFlags |= D3D11_CREATE_DEVICE_DEBUG;

// This array defines the set of DirectX hardware feature levels this app will support.
// Note the ordering should be preserved.
// Don't forget to declare your application's minimum required feature level in its
// description. All applications are assumed to support 9.1 unless otherwise stated.
const D3D_FEATURE_LEVEL featureLevels[] =

// Create the Direct3D 11 API device object.
nullptr, // Specify nullptr to use the default adapter.
creationFlags, // Set debug and Direct2D compatibility flags.
featureLevels, // List of feature levels this app can support.
D3D11_SDK_VERSION, // Always set this to D3D11_SDK_VERSION for Windows Store apps.
&m_d3dDevice, // Returns the Direct3D device created.

// Get the Direct3D 11.1 API device.
ComPtr dxgiDevice;

// Create the Direct2D device object and a corresponding context.


/// Internal method referred from Bing.
/// Convert IBuffer to IStream.

///The buffer to convert. IStream* createIStreamFromIBuffer(Streams::IBuffer ^buffer) {
// convert the IBuffer into an IStream to be used with WIC
IStream *fileContentsStream;
HRESULT res = CreateStreamOnHGlobal(NULL, TRUE, &fileContentsStream);
if (FAILED(res) || !fileContentsStream) {
throw ref new FailureException();
Streams::DataReader^ dataReader = Streams::DataReader::FromBuffer(buffer);
// read the data into the stream in chunks of 1MB to preserve memory
while (dataReader->UnconsumedBufferLength > 0) {
UINT chunkSize = min(1024 * 1024, dataReader->UnconsumedBufferLength);
auto data = ref new Platform::Array(chunkSize);
ULONG written;
res = fileContentsStream->Write(data->Data, chunkSize, &written);
if (FAILED(res) || written != chunkSize) {
throw ref new FailureException();
return fileContentsStream;

IsInitialized = false;

/// Render image but not get the final image.
/// REMEMBER call DataInitialize method first.

///Indicates the the blur amount. ///Indicates the current display's DPI. IAsyncAction^ BlurEffectImageProcessor::RenderImage(float gaussianBlurStDev, float DPI){
return create_async([this, gaussianBlurStDev,DPI]{
if (!IsInitialized){
throw ref new Platform::Exception(1, "The class has not initialized.");

// Render it
UINT imageWidth;
UINT imageHeight;
m_wicFormatConverter->GetSize(&imageWidth, &imageHeight);

// Create a Bitmap Source Effect.
DX::ThrowIfFailed(m_d2dContext->CreateEffect(CLSID_D2D1BitmapSource, &m_bitmapSourceEffect));

// Set the BitmapSource Property to the BitmapSource generated earlier.
m_bitmapSourceEffect->SetValue(D2D1_BITMAPSOURCE_PROP_WIC_BITMAP_SOURCE, m_wicFormatConverter.Get())

// Create the Gaussian Blur Effect.
DX::ThrowIfFailed(m_d2dContext->CreateEffect(CLSID_D2D1GaussianBlur, &m_gaussianBlurEffect));

// Set the input to recieve the bitmap from the BitmapSourceEffect.
m_gaussianBlurEffect->SetInputEffect(0, m_bitmapSourceEffect.Get());

// Set the blur amount.
DX::ThrowIfFailed(m_gaussianBlurEffect->SetValue(D2D1_GAUSSIANBLUR_PROP_STANDARD_DEVIATION, gaussianBlurStDev));
DX::ThrowIfFailed(m_gaussianBlurEffect->SetValue(D2D1_GAUSSIANBLUR_PROP_BORDER_MODE, D2D1_BORDER_MODE_HARD));

// Begin drawing.


// Draw the scaled and blurred image.

// We ignore D2DERR_RECREATE_TARGET here. This error indicates that the device
// is lost. It will be handled during the next call to Present.
HRESULT hr = m_d2dContext->EndDraw();


/// Initializes all device resources and the image.
/// You need to call this method before doing other things.

IAsyncAction^ BlurEffectImageProcessor::DataInitialize(IRandomAccessStream^ ImageDataStream,float DPI){
// DirectXBase::Initialize(Window, DPI);
return create_async([this,ImageDataStream, DPI]{
// Initialize Devices



// Now we have the image source and we can decode it.
ImageBuffer = ref new Buffer(ImageDataStream->Size);
auto op = create_task(ImageDataStream->ReadAsync(ImageBuffer, ImageDataStream->Size, InputStreamOptions::None)).then([this,DPI](IBuffer^ ImageBufferData){
m_wicImagingFactory2->CreateDecoderFromStream(createIStreamFromIBuffer(ImageBufferData), nullptr, WICDecodeMetadataCacheOnDemand,

// Get data ready
m_wicDecoder->GetFrame(0, &m_wicFrameDecode)


// Create output bitmap & get it ready
UINT Width;
UINT Height;
m_wicFrameDecode->GetSize(&Width, &Height);
m_wicImagingFactory2->CreateBitmap(Width, Height, GUID_WICPixelFormat32bppBGRA, WICBitmapCreateCacheOption::WICBitmapCacheOnDemand, &m_wicBitmap);
D2D1_SIZE_U bitmapSize = D2D1::SizeU(Width, Height);
D2D1_BITMAP_PROPERTIES1 bitmapProp1 = D2D1::BitmapProperties1(D2D1_BITMAP_OPTIONS_TARGET,bitmapPixelFormat, DPI, DPI);
D2D1::SizeU(Width, Height),
Width * 4, // 4 bytes for B8G8R8A8


IsInitialized = true;



/// Get the final image.
/// REMEMBER call DataInitialize method first.
/// You can call this method before calling RenderImage, but you will get the original image.

///Indicates the current display's DPI. IAsyncOperation<IRandomAccessStream^>^ BlurEffectImageProcessor::GetImageAsBitmap(float DPI){
return create_async([this,DPI]{
if (!IsInitialized){
throw ref new Platform::Exception(1, "The class has not initialized.");
// Render the bitmap use WIC.
ComPtr m_iwicBitmap;
ComPtr m_iwicStream;
ComPtr m_iwicBitmapEncoder;
ComPtr m_iwicBitmapFrameEncode;
ComPtr m_iwicImageEncoder;
WICImageParameters* m_imageparm = new WICImageParameters();
D2D1_PIXEL_FORMAT m_pixel_format = D2D1_PIXEL_FORMAT();
ComPtr m_iStream;
ID2D1Image* m_id2d1image;
UINT height;
UINT width;

// Since we can't create IStream directly in Windows Runtime, we need creating InMemoryRandomAccessStream and convert it
IRandomAccessStream^ data = ref new InMemoryRandomAccessStream();

CreateStreamOverRandomAccessStream(data, IID_PPV_ARGS(&m_iStream))

// Get size, we need it later
m_wicFrameDecode->GetSize(&width, &height)

// Create bitmap
m_wicImagingFactory2->CreateBitmap(width, height, GUID_WICPixelFormat32bppBGRA, WICBitmapCreateCacheOption::WICBitmapCacheOnDemand, &m_iwicBitmap)

// Create WIC Stream

// Initialize WIC Stream from IStream that we converted

// Create encoder
m_wicImagingFactory2->CreateEncoder(GUID_ContainerFormatPng, nullptr, &m_iwicBitmapEncoder)

// Create image encoder
m_wicImagingFactory2->CreateImageEncoder(m_d2dDevice.Get(), &m_iwicImageEncoder)

// Initialize
m_iwicBitmapEncoder->Initialize(m_iwicStream.Get(), WICBitmapEncoderCacheOption::WICBitmapEncoderNoCache)

// Create new frame for the bitmap

// Set properties
m_iwicBitmapFrameEncode->SetSize(width, height);
WICPixelFormatGUID format = GUID_WICPixelFormat32bppBGRA;
m_imageparm->DpiX = DPI;
m_imageparm->DpiY = DPI;
m_pixel_format.alphaMode = D2D1_ALPHA_MODE_IGNORE;
m_pixel_format.format = DXGI_FORMAT_B8G8R8A8_UNORM;
m_imageparm->PixelFormat = m_pixel_format;
m_imageparm->PixelHeight = height;
m_imageparm->PixelWidth = width;

// Write frmae
m_iwicImageEncoder->WriteFrame(m_id2d1image, m_iwicBitmapFrameEncode.Get(), m_imageparm)

// Commit


// Now we successfully got the image
// Convert it to stream.
// Reference: MSDN
Windows::Storage::Streams::IRandomAccessStream^ comRAS;
IUnknown* p11 = reinterpret_cast(comRAS);

static const GUID guidIRandomAccessStream =
{ 0x905a0fe1, 0xbc53, 0x11df, { 0x8c, 0x49, 0x00, 0x1e, 0x4f, 0xc6, 0x86, 0xda } };

CreateRandomAccessStreamOverStream(m_iwicStream.Get(), BSOS_DEFAULT, guidIRandomAccessStream, (void**)&p11)

// Return result
return reinterpret_cast<IRandomAccessStream^>(p11);


#pragma once

#include "DirectXBase.h"

using namespace Windows::Storage::Streams;
using namespace Windows::Foundation;
using namespace Windows::UI::Core;

namespace Light{
namespace UI{
namespace Effects{
namespace Direct2D{
namespace BlurEffect{
public ref class BlurEffectImageProcessor sealed
IAsyncAction^ DataInitialize(IRandomAccessStream^ ImageDataStream,float DPI);
IAsyncAction^ RenderImage(float gaussianBlurStDev, float DPI);
IAsyncOperation<IRandomAccessStream^>^ GetImageAsBitmap(float DPI);
void CreateDeviceResources();
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_bitmapSourceEffect;
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_gaussianBlurEffect;

Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_wicDecoder;
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_wicFrameDecode;
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_wicFormatConverter;
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_wicImagingFactory2;
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_wicImagingFactory;
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_d2ddevice1;
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_d2ddevice;
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_d3d11device;

// Direct3D device
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_d3dDevice;

// Direct2D objects
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_d2dDevice;
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_d2dContext;
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_d2dBitmap1;
Microsoft::WRL::ComPtr m_wicBitmap;

int m_width;
int m_height;
IBuffer^ ImageBuffer;
bool IsInitialized;

And don’t forget these input file: dxgi, dwrite, d2d1, d3d11, windowscodec, etc.