How to use Windows 11 without a Microsoft account

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Marie-Ange Demory

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While Microsoft is aggressively pushing online accounts to Windows users for the first time, there are workarounds that allow you to use a local account as your primary account. From installing to updating your Windows device, a local account can help you accomplish pretty much everything an online account does. Follow the guide below to use Windows 11 (or Windows 10) without a Microsoft account.

What is a local Windows 11/10 account?

When you first install Windows 11/10, you are prompted to create a Microsoft Administrator account for the root user. It has the highest privileges of all other accounts on your device and syncs directly with Microsoft servers as soon as you connect to the internet.

A local account is very different in that it is offline and disconnected from Microsoft servers. As the name suggests, a local user account is specific to the PC it is created on. You can always set up a Microsoft account within a local account username.

Advantages of a local account

  • More privacy : the local account is entrusted to your PC and is not easily identifiable by external servers. This gives you more privacy and control.
  • It does not consume additional resources : With fewer apps and no worries about Microsoft syncing, a local account is convenient and convenient to use. A Windows kiosk mode is a great example of a local account in use.
  • Easy to change : all you need is a combination of keys  Win + L to switch between administrator and local access.
  • Device updates available : I'm available the same benefits as updating the device of a Microsoft account-enabled PC.

Disadvantages of a local account

  • Unable to sync devices : You can no longer sync your Windows device with other PCs.
  • Microsoft Store is off-limits : A local account is not compatible with the Microsoft Store, as a Microsoft account is required to download apps. But even with a local login, you can install anything on your PC from the internet.
  • You will need a Microsoft account at some point This goes without saying, but if you're a heavy user of a local account, you'll need a Microsoft account at some point to use features and updates that show dependency.

Although by default a local account is secondary to an online Microsoft account, with some changes you can replace it as the primary administrator account. Our steps below only have screenshots of Windows 11, but all instructions are compatible with Windows 10.

How to enable a local account during Windows installation

If you are connected to the internet, Microsoft discourages you from setting up a local account as a root user. That's why one of the workarounds is to disconnect the internet before installation.

To install the default local account, you will need a USB drive to follow the installation steps for a media creation tool.

  • Download the Windows 11 installation media. If you want to install Windows 10,.
  • Click on the downloaded file to start a configuration. Insert a USB flash drive of at least 16GB into your PC. Burn the downloaded installation media to this USB.
  • Turn off your internet connection. If you're using a laptop, turn off the Wi-Fi button so Microsoft's servers won't detect it.
  • Reboot with the USB drive inserted into your PC and press the start key, which, depending on the manufacturer, can vary: F2, F12, Esc, etc. You have to do this very quickly to be brought to the installation “Windows Out of Box Experience” screen, aka OOBE.
  • The Windows 10 setup wizard usually prompts you to enter your language, time and currency format, and input / keyboard method all at once.

The Windows 11 Setup Wizard has a design change that requires you to first select your country or region, then your keyboard layout, and if you want to add a secondary keyboard.

  • Follow the onscreen instructions until you reach the screen asking you to name your PC.
  • You may also be asked if you would like to set up the device for personal use or for work / school use. (Some users may see this option towards the end.)
  • Follow the instructions until you reach the login page below.
  • To login, select "Login Options".
  • Select the "Account offline" option. If it is disabled on your system, simply press the "back arrow" button to be taken to an offline local username field.
  • You may see a different version of offline account access during setup. In this case, the offline menu is highlighted below the username field. Click "Account Offline" instead of "Next".
  • You may see a screen showing that you will get a limited user experience on the device. Click on "Limited Experience".
  • In one of the last steps, you will be asked to enter the username for the PC. Insert your name.
  • Choose the privacy settings for the device, then sit back and wait for the Windows 11 installation to complete (for the local account).

What can you do if you are already connected to the internet?

In case you were connected to the internet during the installation of Windows 11, check if the “account offline” option was provided. If available, continue with the installation as is.

If not, stop the installation midway with a cold restart using the power buttons. After that, go back to your internet source and disable it. This will show the local account option.

How to enable a local account after Windows installation

You can also enable a local account after installing Windows 11/10.

  • Select the Run With command menu Win + R and enter "netplwiz".
  • Once you open the netplwiz dashboard, you will see your Microsoft primary administrator account as the default username.
  • To add a new username (local or online), click "Add".
  • There are a couple of options that will allow you to log in. You can, of course, use an email address for the online account which is set as the default. But you can also ignore it to “sign in without a Microsoft account”, although it's not recommended.
  • Select "Local Account" instead of "Microsoft Account" for further registration.
  • You will be asked to add a user. This involves a new username, password, and password hint. Confirm them all to proceed with creating a new local account.
  • The new local account will be visible in the user account list along with the administrator account. You can switch to it with a simple Win + L key combination.
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