Windows 11 does a lot of things differently to Windows 10, but the apparent requirement for a Microsoft account was never likely to change.
Each time you set up a new device, or install Windows 11 on a new device, you’ll be prompted to sign in or create a new account. This makes sense for most people, as you’ll need one for Microsoft 365, Office apps, OneDrive, Outlook and more.
But what if you don’t use any of these services? Getting a Microsoft account just to use Windows 11 feels unnecessary, but there is still a workaround while allows you to use a local one instead. Here are two ways to do just that – choose whichever is most appropriate for your situation.
How to set up Windows 11 without a Microsoft account
If you’ve just bought a new Windows 11 device, here’s how to get out of signing in to a Microsoft account:
Follow instructions to reach the sign in screen
Choose a region and keyboard layout like you normally would. Add a second one if you’d like (or skip), and you’ll be presented with the screen above.
Deliberately enter incorrect info, then choose a local account name
Enter a random username and click ‘Next’, followed by a random password (you won’t have to remember either) and ‘Sign in’. Repeat the latter several times, until you see a message saying ‘Oops, something went wrong’.
Click ‘Next’ again, then type a name for your local account (this will be used to identify it) and ‘Next’ once more.
Create a new password
Enter something memorable that you’ll definitely remember, then add it to a password manager to make sure you don’t lose it. Click ‘Next’ to continue.
Add responses to security questions, then choose privacy settings
Select three security questions and enter your answers to each. These will be used if you ever forget your password, so it’s important they’re accurate.
Click ‘Next’, then choose your level of privacy settings from each of the next two screens. Click ‘Next’ to progress each time, then ‘Accept’ from the final screen to complete setup.
Now, Windows 11 will be set up using a local account rather than a Microsoft one.
If you just want to try out Windows 11 using a local account, set up the device normally first. Then, head to Settings > Accounts > Other users and click ‘Add other user’, then ‘I don’t have this person’s sign-in information’. This method is officially supported by Microsoft, so no workarounds are required.
How to clean install Windows 11 without a Microsoft account
If you’re installing Windows 11 on a new device or reinstalling it, the method is slightly different. However, it’s important to note that this will delete everything on your computer. Make sure you back up anything you’ll need before proceeding.
- Head to the official Windows 11 download page and click ‘Download Now’ under ‘Create Windows 11 Installation Media’
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
- After a few seconds, the Media Creation Tool should be downloaded. Click it to open, then ‘Yes’ to confirm
- Accept the terms and conditions, then wait for the process to begin
- Once downloaded, insert a USB stick and move the file onto it
- Download Rufus – anything version 3.19 or newer will work
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
- Open the app and you should see a screen like below
- Select the USB from the ‘Device’ drop-down, then click ‘Select’ and choose the Windows 11 file
- Click ‘Start’ from the bottom of the window
- You should see four customisation options. Uncheck the box next to ‘Remove requirement for an online Microsoft account’, then click ‘OK’
- Make sure the USB stick is still plugged in, then restart your device
- Before the Windows logo appears, hold F8 to enter Safe Mode (this may vary depending on manufacturer)
- Use the arrow keys and enter to choose ‘Use a device’, then select the USB stick
- After a few seconds, select your language and region and choose ‘Next’
- Click ‘Install now’, then ‘I don’t have a product key’ from the next screen (you can always add this later if you do have one)
- Click ‘Next’, then choose the version you’d like and ‘Next’ again
- Accept the licence terms, then choose ‘Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)’
- Select ‘Drive 0’, which should be where the current installation is located, and click ‘Delete’
- Click ‘Yes’, then ‘Next’
Now, following the process as normal should mean you can set up Windows 11 using a local account. Learn more in our separate guide on how to install Windows 11 from a USB.