How to set up Windows 11 without a Microsoft account

Windows 11 OOBE bypass MSA command
Windows 11 OOBE bypass MSA command (Image credit: Mauro Huculak)

Yes, you can set up your new Windows 11 installation without a Microsoft account, and in this guide, I'll show you the steps to complete this process. Microsoft really wants you to use a Microsoft account when setting up your computer since it offers additional benefits, including better integration with cloud services (such as OneDrive and Microsoft 365 apps), content synchronization between computers, and better security.

Although there are additional benefits to using an online account, many users still prefer the more traditional experience with a local account. The issue is that the company is making it harder to set up the operating system without a Microsoft account. In the past, you had the option to skip the Microsoft account, but it was later removed from the Home edition and later on from the Pro edition.

However, whether you're installing the Home or Pro edition of Windows 11, you have a few workarounds (via Reddit) to set up an installation with a local account instead of an online account. 

In this how-to guide, I'll walk you through the different ways to set up a new installation of Windows 11 without a Microsoft account.

How to install Windows 11 without a Microsoft account

If you have to set up a Windows 11 device without a Microsoft account, you must proceed with the traditional setup and use one of the available solutions in the out-of-box experience (OOBE).

Windows 11 setup wizard

These instructions guide you through the clean installation process. If you are setting up a new laptop or desktop pre-installed with Windows 11, you can skip these steps and continue with the "Method 1" or "Method 2" solutions.

Warning: This process will delete everything on the computer. As a result, it's a good idea to back up your Windows 11 computer.

To start a fresh installation of Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Start the PC with Windows 11 USB flash drive.
  1. On the prompt, press any key to boot from the device.
  2. On Windows Setup, click the Next button.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Quick tip: If your language, time and currency, and keyboard are different from the default selections, select the correct settings before continuing.
  1. Click the Install now button.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. If this is a reinstallation, click the "I don't have a product key" option to continue. Otherwise, enter the product key if this is your first time installing Windows 11.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Quick tip: You can always complete the installation and activate it using the Settings app.
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Select the edition of Windows 11 (If applicable).

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click Next.
  2. Select the "I accept the license terms" option to continue.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Click the "Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)" option to continue with a clean installation.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Select the partition with the current installation (usually "Drive 0"), and click the Delete button.
  • Quick tip: If "Drive 0" has multiple partitions, you must select and delete each partition to allow the setup to use the entire hard drive for the new setup. The Windows 11 setup will create the required partitions automatically during the process. It's also not necessary to delete the partitions on secondary drives.
  1. Click the Yes button.
  2. Select the empty drive (Drive 0 Unallocated Space) to proceed with the installation.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the Next button.

Once you complete the steps, the installation process will occur, and then in the out-of-box experience (OOBE), you can proceed in one of two ways. You can use the disable internet requirement instructions to disable the requirement through the initial setup to configure an account without a Microsoft account. Or you can also mistype the local account information with the steps below, which returns an error that falls back to the local account creation.

Method 1: Out-of-box experience (OOBE) disable internet requirement

To set up a Windows 11 device without a Microsoft account disabling the internet requirements, use these steps:

  1. Use the "Shift + F10" keyboard shortcut to open Command Prompt on the Windows 11 setup.
  2. Type the following command to disable the internet connection requirement to set up Windows 11 and press Enter: oobe\bypassnro

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Quick note: The command doesn't have any spaces. Also, the computer will restart at this moment.
  1. Use the "Shift + F10" keyboard shortcut to open Command Prompt on the Windows 11 setup.
  2. Type the following command to drop the network connection and press Enter: ipconfig /release 

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  • Quick tip: Alternatively, you can also disconnect the device by unplug the network cable or turn off the wireless adapter from your laptop.
  1. Type the following command to close the Command Prompt and press Enter: exit
  2. Select your region to set up the device.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Select your keyboard layout setting.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Yes button.
  2. Click the Skip button.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the "I don't have internet" option.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the "Continue with limited setup" option.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Confirm the account name for Windows 11.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Create the account password.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Confirm the account password.
  3. Click the Next button.
  4. Configure the three security questions in case you have to reset the password.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Choose your privacy settings.
  3. Click the Next button.
  4. Click the Next button again.
  5. Click the Accept button.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)

Once you complete the steps, you will be able to set up Windows 11 without a Microsoft account.

Method 2: Out-of-box experience (OOBE) typing local account during account creation

Alternatively, you can type a local account and password in the "Let's add your Microsoft account" page instead of a Microsoft account. When you do this, the "Oops, something went wrong" error will appear, and the system will fall back to the local account creation interface, whether you are using Windows 11 Home or Pro.

To set up a Windows 11 device without a Microsoft account by typing a local account, use these steps:

  1. Select your region.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Select your keyboard layout setting.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Yes button.
  2. Click the Skip button.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. (Optional) Confirm a computer name.
  2. Click the Next button.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Choose the "Set up for personal use" option.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  • Quick note: This option is only available on Windows 11 Pro.
  1. Click the Sign in button.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Confirm a local account username in the "Sign in" setting (do not use a Microsoft account).

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Confirm a random password for the account.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Sign in button.
  2. Click the Next button on the "Oops, something went wrong" error page.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Create a name for the local account.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Create a password for the account.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Complete the three security questions to recover the account (if applicable).

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Choose your privacy settings.
  3. Click the Next button.
  4. Click the Next button again.
  5. Click the Accept button.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)

Once you complete the steps, you will be able to continue the setup of Windows 11 without a Microsoft account.

More resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.