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Sidestep Windows 11's Microsoft Account Requirement With Rufus Beta

Windows 11
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 11 22H2 is the first feature update to the OS and is due to be released this fall. Some will be looking forward to the added finesse coming to the Task Manager, File Explorer, Start Menu, Task Bar and other key aspects of using Windows 11. However, the Insider versions indicate that a Microsoft Account (MSA) will be mandatory, except for some business/education users. But the latest beta edition of the bootable OS media tool Rufus can fix the mandatory MSA push, as well as a host of other things.

Rufus 3.19 beta was shared by the development team on GitHub this past weekend. A popular open-source tool for admins and tweakers, Rufus is self-described as "a utility that helps format and create bootable USB flash drives, such as USB keys/pendrives, memory sticks, etc." It does its stuff for both Windows and Linux users.

In the release notes for Rufus 3.19 beta you can see that it allows a user to "bypass the mandatory requirement for a Microsoft account with Windows 11 22H2." You must select an appropriate disc image in the Rufus UI to get access to the Windows 11 install options listed above and below.

Note that if you go ahead with Rufus's MSA patching, you must disconnect from the internet to be given the option to create a local account when you use the modified disc image to install Windows 11 22H2.

Other niceties of Rufus that are handy if you are considering building a custom Win 11 boot image are options to:

  • Implement a Secure Boot and TPM bypass
  • Ignore minimum RAM and storage requirements
  • Check an option to skip all collection questions (Sets all answers to "Don't allow"/"Refuse")
  • And add an option for setting internal drives offline with Windows To Go

It seems like for those looking to streamline Windows 11 installs while subverting many of its setup annoyances, the tool strives to live up to its most excellent namesake. Rufus 3.19 beta has several other changes and improvements implemented since the last release in March. You can check the readme files and even the source code at GitHub, and read more about the app via its homepage, both linked above. 

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • peachpuff
    Check an option to skip all collection questions (Sets all answers to "Don't allow"/"Refuse")

    🥳
    Reply
  • Giroro
    It continues to amaze me that Microsoft's solution to declining market share is to make their full OS worse, borderline unusable, in every conceivable way.

    When in reality, their problem is schools being flooded with $99 chromebooks which cost significantly less than Microsoft's data tracking ad-service OS (a retail copy of Win 11 Home is $140)
    Sure chromebooks also only exist to mine your data and sell you ads, but there's a reason more kids own a Chomebook than ever owned a Nintendo DS - it's because its cheaper for an elementary school to buy every kid a nearly-functional google browser than to build out a windows based computer lab.

    But if both Windows and Chrome OS are ugly, locked-down, invasive, ad tracking spyware designed to corner you into their infinitely-priced subscription ecosystems... then what exactly is the selling point for the far more expensive option?
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Giroro said:
    When in reality, their problem is schools being flooded with $99 chromebooks which cost significantly less than Microsoft's data tracking ad-service OS (a retail copy of Win 11 Home is $140)
    The vast majority of people DO NOT purchase a standalone Windows OS.
    It comes preinstalled on whatever system they buy.

    Beyond that, the current majority of users looking for Win 11 are updating their Win 10 system to WIn 11. $0.
    But most people are just not bothering with Win 11, because it provides no real change from 10.

    I have both here in the house, and there is no magical reason to forcefit Win 11 on the unsupported systems.

    Anyone who is buying a standalone Win 11 license is doing so on hardware that is already supported.

    And the thrust of this article and the Rufus workaround for a MS account?
    Having " a Microsoft account" is no real hassle. It is simply an email address and a password.
    My MS account is a gmail address...lol
    My daily driver accounts are both local. One Standard user and one Admin user.
    The "MS account" is used rarely.
    "OMG!!! Microsoft knows my google email address! Whatever shall I do???!!"
    Reply
  • punkncat
    Giroro said:
    It continues to amaze me that Microsoft's solution to declining market share is to make their full OS worse, borderline unusable, in every conceivable way.

    I find it rather entertaining that you would say such. Ever used an Apple device? How far did you get in setup without an account? How about setting up an Android phone without a "Google" (etc.) account? How did that work out for you?

    MS was LATE to that party, if anything.

    Personally don't think that W11 is groundbreakingly different. I have found a few things that since working with it actually prefer. For instance, I LOVE having the file commands in the banner or "rt click menu". It is so much the same in most ways as to almost be a wash. Even the latest updates for W10 have made it look a whole lot like W11. I know it's a personal preference, but it's not the Devil it's been made out to be. Much of the irritating registration issues can be avoided simply by loading the Pro version as well.
    Reply
  • drtweak
    USAFRet said:
    The vast majority of people DO NOT purchase a standalone Windows OS.
    It comes preinstalled on whatever system they buy.

    Beyond that, the current majority of users looking for Win 11 are updating their Win 10 system to WIn 11. $0.
    But most people are just not bothering with Win 11, because it provides no real change from 10.

    I have both here in the house, and there is no magical reason to forcefit Win 11 on the unsupported systems.

    Anyone who is buying a standalone Win 11 license is doing so on hardware that is already supported.

    And the thrust of this article and the Rufus workaround for a MS account?
    Having " a Microsoft account" is no real hassle. It is simply an email address and a password.
    My MS account is a gmail address...lol
    My daily driver accounts are both local. One Standard user and one Admin user.
    The "MS account" is used rarely.
    "OMG!!! Microsoft knows my google email address! Whatever shall I do???!!"


    As i agree with 95% of it, the fast that I have "Older" PC users and they sometimes forget their password and then the only way to password reset is through MS which then half the time they only check on their PC and don't remember what their password is and it becomes a hassle vs. Boot to some Win PE enviroment, rename utilman, copy cmd and name as utilman, boot up, get to CMD, erase password. We in. Then undo what you did.

    The other reason is on windows 11 i heard they are forcing even Pro version to user an MSA even when joining a domain!

    And the forcing it on old hardware. Why upgrade from a 6/7th gen when they work just fine?
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    drtweak said:
    As i agree with 95% of it, the fast that I have "Older" PC users and they sometimes forget their password and then the only way to password reset is through MS which then half the time they only check on their PC and don't remember what their password is and it becomes a hassle vs. Boot to some Win PE enviroment, rename utilman, copy cmd and name as utilman, boot up, get to CMD, erase password. We in. Then undo what you did.

    The other reason is on windows 11 i heard they are forcing even Pro version to user an MSA even when joining a domain!

    And the forcing it on old hardware. Why upgrade from a 6/7th gen when they work just fine?
    Forgetting a password?
    Well, thats all on you.

    Joining a domain and it fails? Talk to your IT staff.

    Older hardware? We have MANY users here who advocate that.
    Just jump through these 18 hoops, install Win 11. Piece of cake!
    (Of course, there is no real benefit of 11 vs 10, but....)
    Reply
  • BTM18
    punkncat said:
    I find it rather entertaining that you would say such. Ever used an Apple device? How far did you get in setup without an account? How about setting up an Android phone without a "Google" (etc.) account? How did that work out for you?

    MS was LATE to that party, if anything.

    Personally don't think that W11 is groundbreakingly different. I have found a few things that since working with it actually prefer. For instance, I LOVE having the file commands in the banner or "rt click menu". It is so much the same in most ways as to almost be a wash. Even the latest updates for W10 have made it look a whole lot like W11. I know it's a personal preference, but it's not the Devil it's been made out to be. Much of the irritating registration issues can be avoided simply by loading the Pro version as well.
    Spot on. The whining from anti 11 idiots is absurd. Most of those idiots have never even used it. Its real obvious.
    Reply
  • waltc3
    Sure, why not disable all of the Win11's newest security features? Who needs security, right? I've got every one of those features running, and I have had 0 (zero) problems with them. I've been running fTPM for at least 2.5 years, first on Win10, and now on Win11. No problems, no stutter, everything runs like a top. Been on Win11 a solid year next month--no problems. Microsoft's account is nothing at all, as you can install ~10 devices/computers to a single account. How does disabling all of that stuff to hack the OS "streamline" anything? Looks like a lot more trouble than it's worth...;) What happens when Microsoft updates its requirements and these hacks and workarounds no longer function--wait on Rufus to fix it? Rinse and repeat?

    Almost forgot--if you have older hardware that doesn't support Win11 baseline requirements--then stay on Win10 where this stuff is optional, There's still a couple of years of development left for Win10.
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    waltc3 said:
    Sure, why not disable all of the Win11's newest security features? Who needs security, right? I've got every one of those features running, and I have had 0 (zero) problems with them. I've been running fTPM for at least 2.5 years, first on Win10, and now on Win11. No problems, no stutter, everything runs like a top. Been on Win11 a solid year next month--no problems. Microsoft's account is nothing at all, as you can install ~10 devices/computers to a single account. How does disabling all of that stuff to hack the OS "streamline" anything? Looks like a lot more trouble than it's worth...;) What happens when Microsoft updates its requirements and these hacks and workarounds no longer function--wait on Rufus to fix it? Rinse and repeat?

    Almost forgot--if you have older hardware that doesn't support Win11 baseline requirements--then stay on Win10 where this stuff is optional, There's still a couple of years of development left for Win10.

    The problem with Windows 11 for many users is that these additional requirements are requirements and not optional when the requirements are entirely artificial. That's most peoples argument at least.

    My biggest issue with some of these security measures is that they can slow down gaming performance, which is why i leave some of them disabled personally on my Win 11 system.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    TechyInAZ said:
    The problem with Windows 11 for many users is that these additional requirements are requirements and not optional when the requirements are entirely artificial. That's most peoples argument at least.

    My biggest issue with some of these security measures is that they can slow down gaming performance, which is why i leave some of them disabled personally on my Win 11 system.
    The actual problem is that MS has been pushing the TPM thing for years, and the manufacturers blew them off.

    Win 10 spoiled us on compatibility with older hardware.
    In no previous version was compatibility with older hardware that easy. ALL of them needed reasonably current hardware.
    But people think what happened with Win 10 is/was the norm. It was not.
    Reply