How to set up Windows 11 without a Microsoft account

Windows 11 OOBE create local account
Windows 11 OOBE create local account (Image credit: Mauro Huculak)

Microsoft may want to make it difficult, but you can still set up a Windows 11 installation without a Microsoft account using a local account, and in this guide, I'll show you how. The company isn't hiding that it 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.

However, many users still prefer the more traditional experience with a local account. In the past, you had the option to skip the online account, but it was later removed from the Home and Pro editions. Then, you were able to skip the requirement using a fake email address to fall back to the local account settings, but now, Microsoft has put a stop to that workaround.

Regardless of all the roadblocks, whether you're installing the Home or Pro edition of Windows 11, you still have a few other workarounds to set up an installation with a local account. 

In this how-to guide, I'll explain the different ways to set up a new installation of Windows 11 without a Microsoft account. (It's important to note that I re-tested these instructions in July 2024 to ensure these methods are still working.)

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

How to install Windows 11 without a Microsoft account with Command Prompt

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).

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. Click the Next button in the "Windows Setup" interface.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  • 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: Mauro Huculak)
  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 the operating system.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  • 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: Mauro Huculak)
  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 the installation.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  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 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: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Use the "Shift + F10" keyboard shortcut to open Command Prompt on the Windows 11 setup.
  3. Type the following command to disable the internet connection requirement to set up Windows 11 and press Enter: oobe\bypassnro

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  • 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)
  • Use the "Shift + F10" keyboard shortcut to open Command Prompt on the Windows 11 setup.
  • Type the following command to disable the internet connection requirement to set up Windows 11 and press Enter: oobe\bypassnro
  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)

Quick tip: If you click the "Next" button without setting a password, the computer will sign in automatically, and you won't have to complete the security questions. However, I do have to warn you that setting up a computer without a password is a security risk. If you do this, proceed at your own risk.

  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. Since you're not using an online account, you won't have to go through the annoying promotional offers to purchase the different services that Microsoft offers.

How to install Windows 11 without a Microsoft account with Rufus

To modified the Windows 11 setup to skip the Microsoft account using Rufus, use these steps:

  1. Open Rufus download website.
  2. Click the download button for the most up-to-date version.
  3. Save the file onto your computer.
  4. Right-click the tool executable and choose the Open option.
  5. Connect a USB flash drive of 8GB.
  • Quick note: The contents in the flash drive will be deleted.
  1. Choose the USB flash drive from the "Device" setting.
  2. Click the down-arrow button and choose the Download option.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Download button.
  2. Choose the Windows 11 option.
  3. Click the Continue button.
  4. Select the latest release of the operating system.
  5. Click the Continue button.
  6. Select the Windows 11 Home/Pro/Edu edition.
  7. Click the Continue button.
  8. Select the installation language.
  9. Click the Continue button.
  10. Select the x64 architecture option.
  11. Click the Download button.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Choose the location to store the ISO file.
  2. Click the Save button.
  3. Continue with the default setting selections.
  4. Click the Start button.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Clear the default setting selections.
  2. Check the "Remove requirement for an online Microsoft account" option.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the OK button.
  2. Click the OK button again.
  3. Restart the computer with the newly created USB flash drive with the setup modified.
  4. Continue with the Next button.
  5. Click the Install now button.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  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 the operating system. 

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

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  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 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: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Choose your region setting.

Windows 11 OOB region

(Image credit: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Yes button.
  2. Choose your keyboard layout.

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

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Continue with the local account creation by choosing a username.

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

Create account password

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Confirm the password for the account.
  3. Click the Next button.
  4. Complete the security questions.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Select your privacy settings.

(Image credit: Mauro Huculak)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Click the Next button again.
  3. Click the Accept button.

After completing the steps, you can use the computer with a local 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.