When installing Windows 11 Home on a new PC, Microsoft’s website says you will need an internet connection and a Microsoft account to complete the setup. There will be no option for a local account. Here is how it will work.
Microsoft account required during setup
When installing Windows 11 Home for the first time, you will be asked to sign in with a Microsoft account during the initial setup process. The installation will only continue if you are connected to the Internet and link a Microsoft account to Windows 11. Presumably, you will also have the option to create a new Microsoft account in case you do not already have one.
Unlike Windows 10 Home, you won’t be able to bypass this requirement by disconnecting from the Internet before running the setup on your computer.
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Why require a Microsoft account?
Microsoft earns more money if you use a Microsoft account. This account is your passport to purchasing apps from the Microsoft store, purchasing Microsoft 365 subscriptions, subscribing to cloud services like OneDrive, and more. Additionally, Microsoft obtains valuable information by tracking your behavior on various Microsoft services.
So obviously it makes sense for Microsoft to encourage its users to use a Microsoft account. One effective way to do this is to require a Microsoft account for Windows 11 Home users and hide (or mitigate) local accounts like it was done in Windows 10.
Of course, this policy is not ideal for some people, as tracking all your activity and purchases and linking them to a single account has profound privacy implications. Fortunately, it looks like Microsoft will provide a few ways around this requirement.
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Can I bypass it?
According to Microsoft, you will be able to install the more expensive edition of Windows 11 Pro without needing a Microsoft account. As well, PC World report that even with Windows 11 Home, you will still be able to create a local user account after completing the initial setup process with a Microsoft account. Even so, it is likely that Microsoft will not focus on this option.
It’s also possible that Microsoft will change these requirements (maybe even before the full launch of Windows 11 in the fall of 2021) if people complain enough in the future. With an operating system that updates frequently and changes over time, nothing is set in stone.