HomeTechnologyNewsHow to use Windows 11 with a local account

How to use Windows 11 with a local account

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Windows 11 is notoriously picky about how it installs. Among other things, Windows 11 requires you to use a Microsoft account when you install it. Here’s how you can avoid using a Microsoft account when installing Windows 11 or converting an existing Microsoft account to a local one.

How to install Windows 11 without a Microsoft account

Typically, you’d use the Windows Media Creation Tool to create a bootable DVD or USB drive, and then install Windows 11 that way. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to sign in with a Microsoft account if you do that.

Windows 10 allows you to use a local account if you are disconnected from the Internet. However, the latest version of Windows 11 won’t; if you try the same trick, you’ll just get an error message. Even the professional version of Windows 11 requires a Microsoft account now.

the error message "Without Internet" which gives you the Windows 11 installer.
A dropped ice cream cone is much sadder than no Microsoft account.

Rufus is a tool that can create bootable media from an ISO. It does everything the Windows Media Creation Tool does, except it has additional options and works with almost any operating system.

Newer versions of Rufus have some extra features specifically designed to speed up Windows 11 installation: you can disable the TPM, RAM, and Secure Boot requirements, and you can also disable the Microsoft account requirement. You only need a few things to use Rufus:

The first thing you need to do is download Rufus and install it.

RELATED: Where are my downloads in Windows?

So you have two options: you can manually download a Windows 11 ISO or you can let Rufus download the latest ISO for you. It’s often handy to have the ISOs of your operating system handy, so we’ll download it manually in this example.

Go to Microsoft’s Windows 11 download page, select “Windows 11 (Multi-edition ISO)” from the drop-down list, and then click “Download.” You will need to choose your language and then press “Confirm”. The ISO is about 5 gigabytes, so don’t expect it to be done instantly.

Warning: Using Rufus to create a bootable USB drive will completely erase the contents of that drive. Make sure to save all important files before proceeding.

Open Rufus after the Windows 11 ISO has finished downloading, click “Choose” and then navigate to where you saved it. If you are using an external SSD as bootable media, you will need to check “USB Hard Drive List” first.

Rufus will handle most of the important options, like partition scheme and file system, automatically; you don’t have to worry about them. Just click “Start”.

Choose which Windows 11 requirements you want to disable. the only one that you have to select is “Remove requirement for a Microsoft account online.” The others are also helpful, especially if you’re upgrading from an older PC that might not support TPM 2.0.

Click “OK” when you are done choosing which requirements you want to disable.

Disable certain installation requirements of Windows 11. The second option, "Remove requirement for a Microsoft account online"is essential.

After that, you just need to wait for Rufus to actually create the bootable media. It will take at least a few minutes, especially if he is using an older flash drive.

Next, you need to restart your computer and change the boot order. Typically, your computer boots from the hard drive or solid-state drive that Windows is installed on.

RELATED: How to start your computer from a disk or USB drive

You need to move it from that drive to the new bootable USB drive you just created with Rufus. This process varies between computers and motherboard manufacturers. Usually, tapping the F2, Del, or F8 key will bring up a screen that lets you choose your startup device, but it could be a different key. If you don’t know which key to press and you are not prompted which key when the computer is starting up, consult your computer or motherboard manual. If you’ve lost your manual, that’s not a big deal: you can easily check which motherboard you have, and then find the manual on the manufacturer’s website.

RELATED: How to start your computer from a disk or USB drive

It’s smooth sailing after changing the boot order. Windows 11 will guide you through the rest of the installation process.

How to convert an existing Microsoft login to a local login

The easy solution using Rufus to install Windows 11 without a Microsoft account only appeared a few months before the Windows 11 2022 Update release, so most people currently using Windows 11 will have Microsoft logins.

Warning: If you use BitLocker and switch to a local account without backing up your recovery key, you might lose access to your data permanently. We explain how to do it.

Fortunately, Microsoft has included a feature that allows you to quickly convert a Microsoft-based login to a local login. Open the Settings app, click the “Accounts” tab, then click “Your Information.”

Advice: You can open the Settings app by pressing the Windows hotkey + i.

Scroll to the bottom and click “Sign in with a local account.” If you get a big popup warning you about your BitLocker key being backed up, Do not ignore it. Your drive is encrypted, and if something happens, you could lose access to all your files without the recovery key.

A warning message.  If you are using device encryption or BitLocker, you must first back up your recovery key.

Be sure to back up your BitLocker encryption key before continuing, then click the prompts below. You will need to choose a username, password, and password hint, then go to the next page and click “Logout and Finish.”

RELATED: How to back up your BitLocker recovery key in Windows 11

Choose a username, password, and password hint when creating your local account.

You should probably restart your PC even after logging out just to fix any weird errors that come up. You should also be careful now. Your account is a local-only account, which means Microsoft won’t be able to help you regain access if you forget something.

Also, if you attempt to encrypt your drive under a local account, you will be prompted to sign in to a Microsoft account to complete the process. That’s not exact – your drive will be encrypted even if you’re not logged in, so be sure to make a copy of your recovery key.

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