Windows 11 Home needs an internet connection and Microsoft account to set up

Windows 11 Icon Taskbar2 Razerbook
Windows 11 Icon Taskbar2 Razerbook (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Windows 11 Home will require a Microsoft account and an internet connection to set up.
  • Some Windows 11 features will require an internet connection.
  • It's unclear if you'll be able to switch to a local account after initial setup.

Microsoft announced Windows 11 this week, and everyone is rushing around to see if their PC will be able to run the new operating system. The official Windows 11 requirements have made headlines due to their inclusion of TPM 2.0 as a requirement (TPM 2.0 is a soft floor requirement while TPM 1.2 is a hard floor requirement (opens in new tab)). Another requirement is turning heads; the fact that you need a Microsoft account to set up Windows 11 Home.

On previous versions of Windows, you could choose to use a local account rather than a Microsoft account. It wasn't always easy to find that option, but it was there. With Windows 11, that won't be the case.

Microsoft explains (opens in new tab):

  • Windows 11 Home edition requires internet connectivity and a Microsoft account (opens in new tab) to complete device setup on first use.
  • Switching a device out of Windows 11 Home in S mode also requires internet connectivity. Learn more about S mode here (opens in new tab).
  • For all Windows 11 editions, internet access is required to perform updates and to download and take advantage of some features. A Microsoft account is required for some features.

It's unclear if you'll be able to set up a device with a Microsoft account and then switch over to a local account. That page doesn't mention local accounts at all, but it does say that you'll need "a Microsoft account to complete device setup on first use" (emphasis added). This could mean that later uses of Windows 11 don't require a Microsoft account, but that's not certain.

The same page also explains that you'll need an internet connection to set up Windows 11. This is less surprising but may disappoint people. Some are in areas with poor internet connectivity, so it would be nice to be able to at least set up a device without connecting to the web, even if you'd need a connection for any updates.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at (opens in new tab).

  • I find this news to both be disappointing but also unsurprising. I'm so used to signing in on my phone that I don't even think about it anymore. And all the ChromeOS devices I've used required some form of sign-in to really use them. It wouldn't surprise me if at some point Apple pulls the same thing with macOS.
  • I highly doubt this will be in the RTM version. According to Satya statements about openness, this seems quite restrictive.
  • Same thing they pulled with xbox one.. not allowing local account..dumb
  • During Linus Sebastian's (Linus Tech Tips) review of the leaked version of Windows 11 on his YouTube channel, he was able to use other sign-in options or something similar to bring up a local login option. Unless they are going to remove this and force connecting to the internet, which would not make sense given the multiplicity of scenarios for installing a Windows OS.
  • Was that the Home version?
  • the seamless experiences across PC, Xbox and phone there is no big deal. Saving files in Onedrive and browsing data in Edge across devices needs a Microsoft account. Managing multiple local accounts across multiple devices is a pain. Single sign on with your data at your fingertips on any device anywhere in the world.
  • That is if you want it, not eveyone want to sync their devices with the online world. I have no need for one drive and if I want to send data from my phone to my computer, I can either use a different cloud storage service or i can use a USB cable, remember them?
    I know a few people who have no interest in having an MS account and yet if they get a computer with Windows 11 HOME on it, they will be forced to have one. I have not had a MS account or Hotmail as it was then for years, I let it go when I decided to get my own domain and an email service from one and one, and I have no intention of getting another MS account, thankfully my machine runs windows 10 pro, so if I ever did update to Windows 11 it would be the pro version.
  • I'm not sure the internet requirement thing is that big of a deal for an update you have to download to begin with. Plus, Microsoft is still supporting Windows 10 for another four years. A lot can happen in four years.
  • Staying on 10 as long as I can. New PCs to be Apple Mac Minis with their SoC. The ability to avoid this is the only reason why I just bought a new Windows Laptop. I would have gone MacBook Pro if this were a requirement. There is a difference between requiring one for features and requiring a user to set it up as a sign in. Huge difference. Any account compromise also compromises every PC signed in with that account. I can't take that risk. Sorry, but hell no.
  • This is what I read on the MS site "7. Internet access required. Service fees may apply. Microsoft account (MSA) required for free 5GB storage; additional storage available separately at an additional cost or with a Microsoft 365 subscription." I understand this as, if you want 5GB for free then you need an account, but NOT you need an account to USE the OS.
  • Will they finally allow me to sign in to Windows Home with a Work or School account?
  • I get the privacy concerns here, but can't you set up a dummy Microsoft account as needed? Is this really something to fall out of your chair over?