Found in the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22557, Microsoft won’t allow users who upgrade to Windows 11 Pro to use a local account. This means that users will need to sign up for a Microsoft account if they don’t already have one. Ducking invasive data collection and monitoring by using a local account is a practice many Windows users employ. Forcing hold-outs into creating a Microsoft account likely won’t sit well, even if it’s just for the initial setup.
“Similar to Windows 11 Home edition, Windows 11 Pro edition now requires internet connectivity during the initial device setup (OOBE) only,” said Amanda Langowski and Brandon LeBlanc, authors of the Windows Insider blog post. “If you choose to setup device for personal use, MSA will be required for setup as well. You can expect a Microsoft Account to be required in subsequent WIP flights.”
With Windows 11 Home having already gone through the Microsoft account requirement change, Windows 11 Pro marks the end of being able to use the platform without an internet connection or a Microsoft account. While you’d still need to be online to download the update/upgrade, it’s an unfortunate change for users who have gotten by with using local accounts to access Windows.
Considering Microsoft’s push to get users to sign up for accounts as well as Windows 11 Home setting the precedent, this isn’t an entirely surprising update. While it’s likely to rub many users the wrong way, it probably won’t catch those who have used other services in recent years off guard. Most apps and programs require an account, and they typically have some sort of invasive data collection or monitoring attached. It tracks that Windows 11 is going the same way, even though the change will upset many users.
As ExtremeTech’s Joel Hruska puts it, “…my PC and ‘the internet’ are two entirely different things.”