It looks like Windows 11 Pro could soon require an Internet connection and a Microsoft account during the initial setup phase, just like Windows 11 Home. Microsoft has started testing the change in the latest Insider build released earlier this week, and the company said that an MSA account will now be required for Insiders doing a fresh installation of Windows 11 Pro.
The announcement was buried in the very long release notes for the build 22557 (thanks Michael for the tip), but here’s what the Windows Insider team said: “Similar to Windows 11 Home edition, Windows 11 Pro edition now requires internet connectivity during the initial device setup (OOBE) only. If you choose to setup device for personal use, MSA will be required for setup as well. You can expect Microsoft Account to be required in subsequent WIP flights,” the blog post reads.
It remains to be seen how the change will resonate with Windows Insiders, but Microsoft could well be walking on thin ice. Many Windows users still prefer to use the OS with a local account, and removing that choice during the Windows 11 Pro setup may look like the company going too far to force users to use a Microsoft account. It will still be possible to switch to a local account once the installation of Windows 11 Pro is finished, but many users may not enjoy having to go through this additional step
As you may know, the Windows Insider team keeps repeating with every new Windows 11 flight that nothing is really set in stone. “The features included may change over time, be removed, or replaced in Insider builds or may never be released beyond Windows Insiders to general customers,” the team reiterated this week. We’ll see if this change is here to stay, but we’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments.