There’s a change coming in Windows 11 that many users won’t like. The ‘Home’ version of the software, designed for personal or family use, will require a Microsoft account (or MSA) during the setup process.
In order to set up using a local account instead, you’ll need to use Windows 11 Pro instead. That’s according to our sister site PCWorld, which cites a source close to the company.
Microsoft is offering a free update from Windows 10 to Windows 11, but only from the corresponding version. In order to access local account setup, you’ll need to upgrade your existing PC from Windows 10 Home to Pro. That’ll cost you at least £219.99/US$199.99 from the Microsoft Store, making it harder to justify.
However, before you proceed, it’s worth making sure your PC meets the updated hardware requirements. Find out more in our separate guide: Will my PC run Windows 11?
The free upgrade from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 11 Pro should then be a smooth process, although a recent tweet from the official Windows account confirmed you’ll be waiting until 2022.
Windows 11 Home: Is Microsoft account requirement necessary?
In the Windows 11 beta, now available as a free download, required an internet connection in order to complete the installation. The device we used for testing was previously running Windows 10 Home, but the Pro version is expected to offer offline installation. Of course, you’ll still need have an active connection to download the update itself.
After installing the May 2019 feature update, Windows 10 Home users were officially required to sign in to a Microsoft account to set up their PC. However, there’s an easy workaround which is still available.
The Settings app has had a big redesign in Windows 11, though. Judging from the beta, the method above is no longer available.
However, this doesn’t mean you’re limited to a Microsoft account forever. After installation and setup, all Windows 11 Home users will be able to add a local account.
Ultimately, the Microsoft account requirement when setting up and installing Windows 11 Home is just annoying. The company is hoping that most people won’t mind too much, but if there’s enough backlash its decision could be reversed.
From Microsoft’s point of view, the move makes a lot of sense. Tying the Windows 11 experience to a Microsoft account provides access to additional features like OneDrive cloud storage and Office apps on the web. In exchange, Microsoft gets data on how people are using their services, allowing the company to tailor its approach.
A version of this article was originally published in German on our sister site, PC-Welt.
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