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How to Install Windows 11 Without a Microsoft Account

Don't Add Microsoft Account
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

By default, you must have (or create) a Microsoft account in order to install Windows 11 Home  (and versions of Pro that are build 22H2 and up). Though Microsoft accounts are free, there are many reasons why you would want to install Windows 11 without one. 

Maybe you want to use a local account because you are installing Windows 11 on a child's PC or on a PC that you plan to sell, give to a friend or donate to a charity. Obviously, you don't want someone else having a computer with your account on it. Or perhaps you just like your privacy and don't want to create an account with Microsoft in the first place.

Whatever your reason for doing so, there's an easy way to install Windows 11 without using a Microsoft account. 

How to Install Windows 11 Without a Microsoft Account

There's a simple trick for using a local account that works on current builds of Windows and involves cutting off Internet at just the right time in the setup process. However, the upcoming (and currently in preview) build 22H2 is wise to this trick and blocks it, demanding that you reconnect to the Internet before continuing.  If you have Windows 11 22H2, you'll need to prepare your install disk using Rufus, a process we document further down this page. 

If you've already downloaded and created a Windows 11 boot disk with Rufus or otherwise, follow these steps to set up without a Microsoft account.

1. Follow the Windows 11 install process until you get to the login screen where you are prompted to sign in or create a Microsoft account.

Windows 11 Setup Add Account Screen

(Image credit: Future)

Now's the time to cut off the Internet. If you have a physical connection  you can always pull the plug, but it's easier to just use a command to turn off your PC's Internet until the next time it reboots, which it will as part of the setup process anyway. 

2. Hit Shift + F10. A command prompt appears. 

Launch command prompt

(Image credit: Future)

3. Type ipconfig /release and hit Enter to disable Internet.

ipconfig release

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

4. Close the command prompt.

5. Click the back arrow in the upper left corner of the screen.

click the back arrow

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

A new login screen appears asking "Who's going to use this device?"

6. Enter a username you want to use for your local account and click Next.

Enter your name and click Next

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

7. Enter a password you would like to use and click Next. You can also leave this field blank and have no password, but that's not recommended.

Enter password

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

8. Complete the rest of the install process as you normally would.

Using the "No Thank You" Method to Install Windows 11 with a Local Account

Another method, which works even with Windows 22H2, involves confusing Windows by entering an email address that, apparently, has been used too many times. This worked for us, but Microsoft could get wise to it. 

1. Enter no@thankyou.com as the email address and click Next when Windows 11 setup prompts you to log into your Microsoft account. 

Enter the no thankyou email address

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

2. Enter any text you want in the password field and click Sign in.

enter password and click sign in

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

If this method words, you'll get a message saying "Oops, something went wrong."

3. Click Next.

click Next

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

A screen appears saying "Who's going to use this device?" This is the local account creation screen.

4. Enter the username you want to use.

Enter a name and click Next

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

5. Enter a password and click Next. You can leave the field blank but it's not recommended.

Enter a password

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

How to Create a Windows 11 Install Disk that Allows Bypassing Microsoft Accounts 

If you're installing Windows 11 22H2 or newer, you need to use Rufus (or some other method) to create the install disk so that turning off Internet during the setup process allows you to proceed with a local account. Otherwise, when you follow the steps above,  you'll get a message saying "Oops, you've lost your internet connection" and demanding you get back online to continue the install. 

Oops you've lost your internet connection

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Here's how to make a Windows 11 install disk that will let you disconnect from the Internet during setup so you can create a local account instead of using a Microsoft one.

1. Download the Windows 11 ISO file for Windows 11 22H2 (build 22621.169 or higher). As of this writing, you can only get the ISO for that build directly by using UUP Dump (opens in new tab). We explain how to perform this process in our how to down a Windows 11 ISO file article.

2. Insert a USB Flash drive you want to use as an install disk if one is not already inserted. Note that this drive will be completely erased during the process and it must be at least 8GB. If you are just installing Windows in a virtual machine, you can create an ISO file instead of writing directly to a Flash drive, but we'll assume you're not doing that here.

3. Download and launch Rufus version 3.19 or higher. There is no installation process, but you may be asked to confirm permissions by Windows User Account control.

4. Select the USB drive from the menu in Rufus if it's not already selected.

Click Select

(Image credit: Future)

5. Click Select and choose the ISO file.

Click Select

(Image credit: Future)

6. Click Start at the bottom of the Rufus window. 

click Start

(Image credit: Future)

A dialog box appears with a few options for bypassing Windows 11 install requirements.

7. Toggle "Remove requirement for an online Microsoft account" to on  and click OK. You may also want to toggle on the other options, which include Removing the Secure Boot / TPM 2.0, RAM and Storage requirements. But if your computer meets those requirements, it doesn't pay to do that. 

Remove requirement for Microsoft account

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

8. Click OK if warned that Rufus will destroy all data on the USB Flash drive. It is expected to overwrite all contents of the drive.  

Click OK

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Rufus will take a few minutes to copy files to the USB Flash drive. When it's done, you will have a bootable Flash drive.

Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.
  • maestro0428
    I was able to get around the MS account by installing win 10 pro first with a local account , then updating to 11 pro. BUT, I pulled to sticks of ram out for testing and boom, local account gone. Either I buy another key, or sign in to MS account and say "I changed hardware." BS for sure.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    maestro0428 said:
    I was able to get around the MS account by installing win 10 pro first with a local account , then updating to 11 pro. BUT, I pulled to sticks of ram out for testing and boom, local account gone. Either I buy another key, or sign in to MS account and say "I changed hardware." BS for sure.
    Changing RAM sticks should have NO issue with accounts and activation.
    Reply
  • maestro0428
    I know right?! But as soon as those sticks came out, no other change was made and when I booted, it said activate windows again, but with a MS account. Its fixed now, still on local account, but I don't want to have to do all this to keep it activated as much as I change hardware. Thankfully, my lab (tinker) machine is still on 10 pro. No issues with hardware changes there and it is on a local account as well.
    Reply
  • Colif
    You should contact Microsoft, ram shouldn't cause that to happen.
    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/reactivating-microsoft-win-10-licence-after-memory/06b38149-d01c-4ec7-ad89-5ed36e677ebe
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Maybe you want to use a local account because you are installing Windows 11 on a child's PC

    This would be a reason TO use a Microsoft account, because parental controls and the ability to access it as an administrator while your child is a regular user.

    or on a PC that you plan to sell, give to a friend or donate to a charity.

    That's what Reset My PC is for.

    While there are legitimate reasons for wanting to use a local account since Microsoft requires it for installation, such as if you're a small business repair shop or family tech repair guy, or if you're creating a second account for troubleshooting or wanting an administrator account to be local and your own account to have fewer privileges for security, or because you're on a computer with limited internet access (such as data and/or speed limits), those reasons stated in the article...aren't.
    Reply
  • BillyBuerger
    I ran into this recently trying to rebuild a laptop for my brother. Perfect example of when you don't want to use your own account to setup someone else's laptop. Freakin' Microsoft. Anyways, when I first rebuilt it with a new drive to test it, I got the account setup. Found online where they mention hitting Shift+F10 but then enter "oobe\bypassnro" at the command prompt. It reboots but then lets you skip connecting to a network and then using a local account. The second time with the actual new drive, I think I entered the password for my wifi wrong once or twice and all of the sudden it gave me the local login option. Not exactly sure what I did there but that that was even easier whatever it was.
    Reply
  • coromonadalix
    M$oft will surely do something about this loll they love to nag us ....

    The shift f10 trick worked fine, and now with the iso's i download i use rufus for lower than i5 7500 cpu's and up too ...
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    All this freakout about an MS account makes me laugh.

    Ya know, it does NOT have to be JoeBlow@microsoft.com.

    My "MS account" is a rarely used gmail address. Yes, really.
    Only used for license issues, or in the incredibly rare instances I need something from the MS Store.

    Daily use on the PCs is via a local Standard user or local Admin user.
    Reply
  • RodroX
    So for a clean, new installation, Im guessing the unplug the ethernet cable or turn it Off the WiFi before starting Windows 11 install it does not work?

    Like it works without issues on Windows 10 ?
    Reply
  • BillyBuerger
    RodroX said:
    So for a clean, new installation, Im guessing the unplug the ethernet cable or turn it Off the WiFi before starting Windows 11 install it does not work?

    Like it works without issues on Windows 10 ?

    Yup, it will sit there and wait for you to connect to the internet before continuing without using one of the work arounds.
    Reply