Windows 11 Home users haven’t been thrilled about how Microsoft won’t allow them to set up their PCs without an internet connection and Microsoft Account, but that same level of potential inconvenience is headed to the Pro version of the OS, according to a change introduced in Windows 11’s latest preview version.
“Similar to Windows 11 Home edition, Windows 11 Pro edition now requires internet connectivity during the initial device setup (OOBE) only,” reads a portion of the release notes for Windows 11’s latest Insider Preview build, version 22557.
“If you choose to setup device for personal use, MSA will be required for setup as well. You can expect Microsoft Account to be required in subsequent WIP flights.”
Windows 11 Pro users will no longer be able to create a local user account during setup by keeping their systems disconnected from the internet. The change is notable in that it makes Windows 11 the only major consumer OS to require account sign-in in order to enable basic functionality, as pointed out in coverage by Ars.
You’ll need a Microsoft account to set up future versions of Windows 11 Pro (Ars Technica)
- Apple’s Macs still allow for local account creation during setup, and you can skip signing in when you set up iPhones and iPads (an Internet connection is sometimes required for device activation, though). Android likewise needs an Internet account for activation but doesn’t require signing in to get you to the home screen. Even Chrome OS has a guest mode that you can use to enable basic browsing without a user account.
- This change shouldn’t affect anyone who has already configured Windows with a local account, nor will it affect people who use a workplace-provided username and password to log in to their work PCs. But it’s a frustrating change for people who regularly set up new Windows installations for development or testing or anyone trying to set up a new PC in a place without an Internet connection.
- For those who want to use a local account, the best solution is to create a burner Microsoft account for use during setup and then to either create a new local user account or sign out of your Microsoft account once the OS is up and running.