Microsoft will soon force Windows 11 Pro users to create a Microsoft account and be connected to the internet for the initial setup process. The new requirements mirror those for Windows 11 Home, which has required an internet connection and account since it launched in October of last year.
Once the changes go into place, Windows 11 will be the only major operating system to require an account to gain access to basic functions. Apple’s macOS allows you to create a local account during setup and Android will similarly get you to the home screen without sign-in. Even Chrome OS, a cloud-centric operating system, has a guest mode for basic browsing without an account.
“Similar to Windows 11 Home edition, Windows 11 Pro edition now requires internet connectivity during the initial device setup (OOBE) only,” Microsoft wrote in a Windows Insider blog post. “If you choose to setup [a] device for personal use, MSA will be required for setup as well.”
As Ars Technica notes, the rule shouldn’t impact those who already have a configured local account or those who use a custom username and password to log in to work PCs. Regardless, users are already infuriated, noting how the login condition will make it more difficult to donate or sell computers, image hundreds of systems (as is required at some companies), or set up a computer for someone else. It also gives Microsoft a method to gather more data on users.
“The most annoying part about this is as a PC repair shop owner my techs now have to get people’s M$ account info just to reset/reformat a computer now. Or we need the customer to come in and sign in, then we can finish the repair.” one Reddit user noted.
Scores of people on social media have threatened to use a different operating system or delay updating to Windows 11. Others are already thinking of workarounds.
“Always skip every other Windows version. Windows 10 is great, not upgrading anytime soon and not just because my computer is too old,” one wrote. “My desire to install Linux is growing every day,” another user said.
“I figured I’d eventually need to upgrade to Win11, someday. This makes me say never if the requirement actually occurs,” an Ars Technica reader wrote in the site’s comments section. “WTF is the point of “Pro” if a professional can’t make decisions about accounts and use it how they want. We’re paying for the ability to have more control after all!”
“Windows 11 Pro will soon force me to install Linux,” another quipped.
As part of the latest Windows 11 Insider Preview Build (22557), this requirement will likely go into effect in the coming months. Until it does, Windows 11 Pro users can skip the log-in process by disconnecting from the internet during setup and choosing a local account instead.