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). 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.
- Windows 11 Home edition requires internet connectivity and a Microsoft account 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.
- 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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.