Why are all of the retail demo names male?

Raymond Chen

If you go through the sample user names used by the Windows 10 retail demo, you may have noticed that they are all male. Why is this? Shouldn’t there be more diversity?

I don’t know for sure, but I have an idea.

The retail demo account comes with more than just a user name. It also comes with sample content, so that the system on the showroom floor has something interesting to show. Applications can detect that the system is in retail demo mode and provide pregenerated sample content. And one of the things in the sysem-provided pregenerated sample content is the account picture for the retail demo user.

And that’s this happy guy.

Image of a young man in casual clothes smiling

The name of the retail demo user should therefore be consistent with that profile photo, which suggests a traditionally male name.¹

Individual locales may override the default profile picture to be something more representative for their area.

Locale Image
ar-sa: Arabic Image of a different young man sitting and smiling
id-id: Indonesian
th-th: Thai
vi-vn: Vietnamese
zh-cn: Chinese (China)
zh-hk: Chinese (Hong Kong)
zh-tw: Chinese (Taiwan)
Image of yet another young man leaning forward and smiling
ja-jp: Japanese Image of a young man in business clothes

In theory, the translator (who localizes the name) could choose a traditionally female name and the artistic designer (who chooses the localized image) could correspondingly choose a female account picture. This would require coordination, because if one side decides to switch but the other doesn’t, you get an embarrassing mismatch. Probably not worth the risk.²

Bonus chatter: On a freshly-installed system, you can find some of the sample images in the %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\RetailDemo\OfflineContent directory. This retail demo content is automatically deleted after seven days, so grab it while you can.³

¹ The default attract video has a different sample user, a woman named Daniela.

² This is particularly risk because you’re counting on the applications that provide their own pregenerated content to do so in a gender-neutral way, something that they’re unlikely to test. They’re just going to test with one language, and whatever gender that language’s retail demo user is, that’s the one they validate.

³ The theory being that if this system is going to be used as a retail demo machine, the person setting it up is almost certainly going to do so immediately. If a week goes by without retail demo mode being activated, then the system is not being used as a retail demo machine, and the retail demo content can be deleted.


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