Windows 11 is a great version of Microsoft’s operating system, having brought along many changes that make Windows more visually appealing and welcoming to new users. However, it’s not all to everyone’s taste, and one thing you might not like is that Microsoft wants you to use Windows 11 with your Microsoft account, which hooks into other Microsoft services. In Windows 11 Home, a Microsoft account is required, and with Windows 11 version 22H2, Windows 11 Pro also requires an internet connection and Microsoft account if you want to set it up for personal use.
Of course, that’s the official stance from Microsoft, but thankfully, there are some workarounds you can use to bypass the need for a Microsoft account, and that’s what we’re here to help you with. Alternatively, if you’ve already set up your Windows 11 PC, you can remove your Microsoft account from it – it’s only required during the setup process.
Should you use Windows 11 without a Microsoft account?
What you need to know about Microsoft accounts is that they do enhance the experience on Windows 11. If you sign into Windows 11 with your Microsoft account, that account is also added to system apps like the Microsoft Store, Mail, Xbox, and so on. It also lets you sync your settings across devices. This allows you to buy apps and movies from the Microsoft Store, for example. Without a Microsoft account, you also can’t download free apps from the Store if they have an age rating that requires verification. That includes apps like Netflix and Spotify, due to the wide range of content available there.
However, you can add your Microsoft account to these apps individually, so you don’t necessarily have to sign into Windows 11 itself. Or maybe you don’t care about these features enabled by a Microsoft account, so it’s a good thing you’re able to set up your computer without it. Here’s what you can do if you don’t want to use one.
Setting up Windows 11 without a Microsoft account
When you go through the first-time setup process, you have to create your first account, connect to Wi-Fi, and so on. At one point, if you have Windows 11 Home, you’ll have to connect to the internet, and then you’ll be asked to login with your Microsoft account. On Windows 11 Pro, if your computer has Windows 11 version 22H2, you’ll be asked if you plan to use the computer for personal or work use, and if you choose personal use, you’ll also need to sign in with a Microsoft account.
In Windows 10, Microsoft already started requiring a Microsoft account for the Home edition, but you could work around it by not connecting to the internet. Here, it’s a similar situation, and you can trick Windows 11 into letting you use a local account, though it is a bit trickier this time.
When setting up your PC for the first time, you’ll have to connect to the internet, which then allows you to sign with your Microsoft account. If you don’t have an internet connection, you won’t be able to progress.
However, you can trick Windows 11 in a couple of ways.
Method 1: Disconnecting from the internet
During the setup process, after connecting to the internet, your computer will check for updates, and then you’ll see a license agreement. At this point, you can disconnect from the internet in a couple of ways. If you’re using a laptop connected via Wi-Fi, look for a button that disables Wi-Fi altogether, or one that enables airplane mode (thus disabling Wi-Fi). Alternatively, if you connected via Ethernet, simply disconnect the Ethernet cable from your computer.
Once you do that, you’ll be able to create a local account instead and proceed with the process.
If you don’t see a license agreement and you’re going straight to the sign-in page, you can still follow these steps and then click the back button in the top left to use a local account.
Method 2: Using Command Prompt
If your computer doesn’t have an easy way to disconnect from the internet, the alternative is to use Command Prompt, which can be summoned during the setup process. When you get to the license agreement page mentioned above, press Shift + F10 to open Command Prompt.
Here, enter the following text, and then press Enter:
This will disconnect you from the internet, and you can follow the same steps above to finish setting up your PC.
If you have another edition of Windows, or if you’re setting up Windows 11 Pro for work or school use, you won’t need to do any of this. Connecting to the internet is optional, and even if you do connect to the internet, you can choose not to use a Microsoft account anyway, even though Microsoft will try to push you to do it.
Switching to a local account
Even if you set up your computer with a Microsoft account initially, you can still switch to a local account whenever you want. You’re not actually forced to use your Microsoft account for as long as you have your PC. To do this, open the Settings app, then go to the Accounts section. Click Your info, then choose Sign in with a local account instead.
Confirm that you want to sign out of your Microsoft account, and verify your identity. Then you’ll need to set up your local account. A password is optional, but naturally, we’d recommend using one.
After that, click Sign out and finish, and you’ll be logged out of your current account. Then you can sign into your local account from the lock screen. Keep in mind your Microsoft account may still be used in some apps, including the Microsoft Store. You can sign out of these individually, too.
If you want to add your account back, you can always go into the account settings mentioned above and sign in again.
Want to learn more about Windows 11? Check out our deep dives into some of the new and updated apps included with the new OS below: