Windows 11 22H2 apparently removes the option to set up the device with a local account, even if your install edition is Windows 11 Pro. Previously, the change removed the option for Windows 11 Home users to use a local account, forcing users to set up their device with a Microsoft account.
Starting with Windows 11 version 22H2, Microsoft wants to associate the OS installation with your Microsoft account. This measure is no longer limited to just Windows 11 Home edition, as Microsoft now forces users to link accounts on Windows 11 Pro as well. However, Windows 11 Enterprise remains untouched and users can set it up however they want.
When you connect your account, Microsoft automatically configures OneDrive for the device and starts syncing data across your devices. This automatically includes settings and preferences across devices, so you can easily manage multiple PCs.
While linking a Microsoft account to Windows 11 can be very useful, not everyone wants Microsoft to have access to their information.
In build 22616, Windows 10 Pro installations force the installation of a Microsoft account and users must have an active Internet connection during the installation process.
This is only the case if you choose to set up the device for personal use. If you select the Work or School Account option, you will be prompted to use your organization’s domain instead.
At this point, it is still possible to get around the account requirement by entering a non-existent Microsoft account email address and password. This will result in an error message, but you can click the ‘Next’ button and create a local account. It’s not exactly convenient for the user, but this seems to be the simplest solution.
On Windows 10, if the machine is not online during the installation, it is possible to set up a local account. On the other hand, internet connection is required on Windows 11. Of course, there is also a way to disable internet connection requirement, but the process is complicated because you need to edit the OS files.
Is it a good idea to force a Microsoft account?
This is an industry-wide trend. For example, Google has always enforced Google accounts on Android phones with Play services. With Apple products, the process is not mandatory and it is possible to set up your iPhone without creating an Apple ID, but certain apps or services such as the App Store may not work properly.
It goes without saying that there are benefits to setting up Windows with your Microsoft account, especially if you’re heavily invested in Microsoft’s ecosystem. The benefits include access to services like Xbox, Your Phone, OneDrive, automatically syncing your settings across devices, and more.
However, Windows users like to have a choice. Many people, including those who don’t care about their privacy, may feel more comfortable having a local account.