Windows 11 Logo with Wallpaper

When installing Windows 11 Home on a new PC, Microsoft’s website states you’ll need to have an internet connection and a Microsoft account to complete the setup. There won’t be an option for a local account. Here’s how it will work.

A Required Microsoft Account at Setup

When you first install Windows 11 Home, you’ll be asked to sign in with a Microsoft account during the initial setup process. The installation won’t proceed unless you’re connected to the internet and you link a Microsoft account with Windows 11. Presumably, you’ll also have the option to create a new Microsoft account in case you don’t already have one.

Unlike with Windows 10 Home, you won’t be able to get around this requirement by disconnecting from the Internet before running the setup on your computer.

RELATED: All the Features That Require a Microsoft Account in Windows 10

Why Require a Microsoft Account?

Microsoft makes more money if you use a Microsoft account. That account is your passport to buying apps in the Microsoft store, purchasing Microsoft 365 subscriptions, subscribing to cloud services such as OneDrive, and much more. Also, Microsoft gains valuable information by tracking your behavior across various Microsoft services.

So, obviously, it makes business sense for Microsoft to funnel its users into using a Microsoft Account. An effective way to do that is by requiring a Microsoft account for Windows 11 Home users and hiding (or de-emphasizing) local accounts much like it has done in Windows 10.

Of course, this policy isn’t ideal for some people because having your every activity and purchase tracked and linked to a single account has deep privacy implications. Thankfully, it looks like Microsoft will be providing a few ways to get around this requirement.

RELATED: 30 Ways Your Windows 10 Computer Phones Home to Microsoft

Can I Get Around It?

According to Microsoft, you’ll be able to install the more expensive Windows 11 Pro edition without needing a Microsoft account. Also, PCWorld is reporting that even with Windows 11 Home, you’ll still be able to create a local user account after getting through the initial install process with a Microsoft account. Even so, it’s likely Microsoft will de-emphasize that option.

It’s also possible that Microsoft might change these requirements (possibly even before the full Windows 11 launch in fall 2021) if people complain enough about it in the future. With an operating system that frequently updates and changes over time, nothing is set in stone.

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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