Tip: Set Up Windows 11 22H2 with a Local Account

Windows 11 requires individuals who configure a PC for personal use to connect to the Internet and sign in with a Microsoft account (MSA) during the initial setup. With version 21H2, only those using Windows 11 Home were impacted by this requirement. But with version 22H2, Windows 11 Pro users are now impacted as well.

Honestly, this requirement is reasonable and even desirable for most users, and I recommend that readers simply do as instructed. But power users who prefer to sign in with a local account will need to bypass these requirements.

There are several documented ways to do so, but I found that some methods have stopped working with Windows 11 22H2. And though I describe two methods in the upcoming book, Windows 11 Field Guide, this is the simplest way to sign in to Windows 11 with a local account. It works with both Windows 11 Home and Pro, and with both wireless and wired networks.

Here’s how.

When you get to the “Let’s add your Microsoft account” phase in Windows 11 Setup, enter [email protected] in the Sign in field and then select the Next button.

Then, in the Enter password field, enter any password and select the Sign in button. The message “Oops, something went wrong” will appear.

Select the Next button and the “Who’s going to use this device?” phase will appear. Now, just enter a local account name in the Enter your name field and continue with Setup normally.

And you’re off.

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Conversation 24 comments

  • lode

    28 June, 2022 - 3:09 pm

    <p>Greetings! I was wondering, did this trick worked as well for Windows 11 Home 21H2? I usually went with the "SHIFT-F10" then taskkill command, but this looks like it’s so much simpler! And I haven’t come accross it before, so thank you for this useful tip! </p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      29 June, 2022 - 10:01 am

      <p>Yes. It works with both Home and Pro.</p>

  • bncz1

    Premium Member
    28 June, 2022 - 3:11 pm

    <p><br></p>

  • dftf

    28 June, 2022 - 3:31 pm

    <p>I’ve recently done an install of <em>Windows 11 Home</em> inside a virtual-machine, and here’s how I bypassed it:</p><p>(1) Use a genuine Microsoft Account on the initial setup screen</p><p>(2) Once the desktop has appeared, go to Start &gt; Settings &gt; Accounts &gt; Family and other users</p><p>(3) Click [Add account] and select "I don’t have this person’s sign-in information", then "Add a user without a Microsoft account"</p><p><br></p><p>Even on the Home edition of Windows 11, this will still let you add only a local-user account.</p><p><br></p><p>Make sure for one of the accounts you add in this way to click on it afterwards, then click [Change account type] and set one of them as an administrator. Then, simply sign-out of the account you are in, and restart the PC. Then log-in as one of the new, local admin accounts, go back to Start &gt; Settings &gt; Accounts &gt; "Family and other users" and you can then remove the account created during Setup.</p>

    • dftf

      28 June, 2022 - 3:36 pm

      <p>(Before anyone says: yes, Paul’s way does seem simpler… BUT… I would wonder whether, by entering a valid e-mail address, but one that cannot be used at the time, whether this would cause <em>Windows</em> to then constantly nag at you later to finish setting it up, or whether apps like <em>Mail, Edge</em> and <em>OneDrive </em>would still try and default to it. I guess you could still follow Paul’s way, and then just add a new, separate local-admin account after, then restart and delete-off the one created during the Setup process though.)</p>

  • boltie

    28 June, 2022 - 6:42 pm

    <p>What happens if you disconnect the network at the user setup stage? Does it then error and revert to local user setup? Would save having to use a dummy e-mail address.</p>

  • smartin

    Premium Member
    28 June, 2022 - 6:44 pm

    <p>I wish I’d remembered this a few days ago when I got a brand new machine. Inevitably when I set up with a Microsoft Account the local user name is not one I would make. I have a standard name I’ve used for over 20 years and it’s become important to my workflow and many scripts I use. </p><p><br></p><p>So when this happens I must create a new local account with the correct name. Log in with that account. Delete the Microsoft account, and then Stacy the Microsoft account to the correct local account. </p><p><br></p><p>Depending on how long I take before remembering this Windows "feature" it can mean taking several hours to redo all of the work I did with the incorrect account name.</p>

  • red.radar

    Premium Member
    28 June, 2022 - 6:59 pm

    <p>I guess being a Pro user means very little now. I understood the change on Home Users. However, people who go out of their way to select Pro licenses want the flexibility to make a choice. Microsoft removing the choice for the Pro license is just a kick in the gut. </p><p><br></p><p>And if you use your PC to access competing services, the value proposition of the MSA erodes further. </p><p><br></p><p>I just think Microsoft is being tone deaf. </p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

  • ebraiter

    28 June, 2022 - 8:23 pm

    <p>I wonder if this works with older versions of Window 11 and even Windows 10.</p>

  • brettscoast

    Premium Member
    28 June, 2022 - 8:57 pm

    <p>Thanks Paul extremely useful tip. Not too many steps involved. However, for people using Pro there should always be an option to simply select a local account.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      29 June, 2022 - 10:00 am

      <p>I agree, but there isn’t.</p><p><br></p><p>There are other workarounds, and I have one other in the book. But as noted, Microsoft has broken some previous workarounds, so we’ll see what happens.</p>

  • xcln

    28 June, 2022 - 9:26 pm

    <p>Hah ha .. funny: thankyou.com is owned by CitiBank – so I suppose any valid website would work? </p><p><br></p><p>And indeed this boneheaded effort by Microsoft to coerce everyone to log in to a Microsoft account – so as to not let Microsoft left out in the big grab for users’ data is understandable but super annoying.</p><p><br></p><p>One more reason to push me towards a Linux machine/ standards</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

    • ebraiter

      28 June, 2022 - 9:38 pm

      <p>You haven’t left? 🙂 They’ve been doing this basically since at least Windows 10 came out. that’s almost 7 years ago now…</p>

    • qaelith2112

      29 June, 2022 - 12:24 pm

      <p>"<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&nbsp;to coerce everyone to log in to a Microsoft account – so as to not let Microsoft left out in the big grab for users’ data"</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">We all seem to repeat this sentiment often, but do we really *know* that this is why that’s happening or do we assume it? And we also seem to assume Microsoft is pillaging our OneDrive data but again, do we really *know* that or do we assume it? I’m guilty of having assumed the same but at some point I wondered if — given their stated policies — it is a fair accusation. I’m not saying they’re *not*, only that I no longer think I can make the accusation based on it being what "everybody is saying".</span></p>

  • Belralph

    28 June, 2022 - 9:49 pm

    <p>Now to just figure out how to keep accounted used for Edge Profiles from being added to your computer as local/Microsoft accounts.</p>

  • benhaube

    28 June, 2022 - 10:56 pm

    <p>Wow. That’s a pretty easy workaround lol. </p>

  • ThisDateAndTime

    29 June, 2022 - 1:54 am

    <p>I feel bad for the @thankyou.com Exchange admin….?</p>

  • justme

    Premium Member
    29 June, 2022 - 2:26 am

    <p>Here’s another way -</p><p><br></p><p>When you get to the point where you enter your network credentials (i.e. when you connect to the internet), press Shift+F10 for a command prompt. Type (no quotes) "OOBE\BYPASSNRO". This will run a Microsoft script that will reboot the machine. You will then go through the OOBE again, but once you get to the network option, you’ll be able to set up without a network.</p><p><br></p><p>If you are interested, what that script does is the following:</p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29);">@echo off</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29);">reg add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\OOBE /v BypassNRO /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29);">shutdown /r /t 0</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29);">You can find more discussion of this script at elevenforum.com.</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29);">While I can certainly see and understand why people would want to log in with an MSA, I wholeheartedly disagree with the requirement to make it mandatory.</span></p>

    • justme

      Premium Member
      29 June, 2022 - 4:00 am

      <p>Alternatively, when you get to the screen that connects you to the internet:</p><p>Shift+F10 for a command prompt</p><p>Type Taskmgr for task manager</p><p>Scroll down until you see a task labelled Network Connection Flow</p><p>End this task</p><p>Close or minimize task manager and the command prompt</p><p>The OOBE should now proceed to the License Agreement</p>

  • VMax

    Premium Member
    29 June, 2022 - 4:44 am

    <p>Perhaps using an address in the example.com/net/org domain would be better? Those are reserved and will never have a real address behind them, unlike thankyou.com. If the OOBE treats those domains differently, it’s ignoring the RFC. </p>

  • qaelith2112

    29 June, 2022 - 11:54 am

    <p>And one more workaround: Apparently the latest beta of Rufus, the popular tool for creating a bootable flash drive from an ISO, has a Windows 11 specific option which makes the necessary modifications as it is creating the installation media to allow for local account creation during setup. Another bonus for those with non-compliant hardware (lacking TPM 2.0 or wrong CPU generation), it can also set the flags to ignore the noncompliance. </p><p><br></p><p>I’m with Paul in thinking that for most people it is probably best to just go with the Microsoft account option, and lately the development seems to be going toward "simplifying" toward the features / options / defaults that are suitable for "most people". At the same time, I do get that this trend creates problems for power users. Although I do actually use a Microsoft account, I too would have preferred that for this and a number of the other "simplification" measures that they still offer all of the options even if those are piled into various "advanced options" dialogues that aren’t seen unless one clicks to see them. That has always seemed to me to be the ideal middle ground. Set the default to whatever is best for "most people" on the main screen but allow a change on an advanced view. Or even have one question at the start: "Standard install or advanced". It isn’t just Microsoft — the idea of having advanced options available is increasingly going away. I can’t recall the specific products now, but some other software I’ve used for years that used to have advanced options simply took that away at some point. </p>

  • Alastair Cooper

    30 June, 2022 - 6:01 am

    <p>I use a Microsoft Account in Windows 11 but I still bypass that during the OOBE because it gives my user folder a stupid truncated name (‘alast’) whereas I want it to be my full first name. I use Linux most of the time so I want my home folder name to be ‘alastair’ in both to avoid typos etc.</p><p><br></p><p>So I create a normal account, then add my Microsoft Account afterwards. I use Enterprise, so this is supported for now at least.</p>

    • veermaharaj

      01 July, 2022 - 2:58 pm

      <p>Exact same reason here. Especially if you plan on sharing stuff on your local network, the MSA username and password become a bother. Ive changed my MSA password but i still have to use the last MSA password for logging into my pc and sharing filed on my network. It doesn’t change with my MSA.</p>

  • veermaharaj

    01 July, 2022 - 2:56 pm

    <p>Thanks much for this Paul. When i have to setup laptops for customers, I need to do it as a local user first and then have them sign in with their accounts when they come to pick up. Very useful.</p><p>Also for machines that sit and operate as stand alone appliances, like security monitoring stations, or HTPCs, a local account is what you need and want.</p>

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