Although Microsoft is aggressively running online accounts for new Windows users, there are workarounds that allow you to use a local account as your primary account. From installing to updating your Windows device, a local account can help you access almost any online account. Follow the instructions below to use Windows 11 (or Windows 10) without a Microsoft account.

What is a Windows 11/10 local account?

When you install Windows 11/10 for the first time, you will be prompted to create a Microsoft administrator account for the root user. It has the highest rights on all other accounts on your device and syncs directly with Microsoft servers as soon as you connect to the Internet.

The local account is very different because it is offline and disconnected from Microsoft servers. As the name suggests, a local user account is specific to the computer on which it is created. You can still set up a Microsoft account with the local account username.

Local account benefits

  • Increase confidentiality: The local account is logged on to your computer and cannot be easily detected by external servers. It gives you more privacy and control.
  • Does not consume additional resourcesA: Fewer applications and without the hassle of Microsoft syncing, a local account is nice and comfortable to use. Windows Kiosk Mode is a good example of local accounts in use.
  • Easy to change: only one Win + THE key combination to switch between administrator and local account logins.
  • Device updates available: The same device upgrade benefits are available as on a computer with a Microsoft account.

Disadvantages of a local account

  • Unable to sync devices: You can no longer sync your Windows device with other computers.
  • The Microsoft Store is prohibited: The local account is not compatible with the Microsoft Store because you need a Microsoft account to download applications. But even with local login, you can install anything on your computer from the Internet.
  • You will need a Microsoft account at some pointA: It’s obvious, but if you’re a hard-working local account user, you’ll need a Microsoft account at some point to use features and updates that show dependency.

Although by default the local account is secondary to the online Microsoft account, you can override it as the primary administrator account with a few adjustments. The steps below only include screenshots of Windows 11, but all instructions are compatible with Windows 10.

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If you are connected to the Internet, Microsoft does not recommend setting up a local account as an administrator. Therefore, one of the workarounds is to disconnect from the Internet before installation.

To install a local default account, you need a USB drive to follow the installation instructions in the Media Creation Tool.

  1. Download the Windows 11 installation media from an official source. To install Windows 10, use this link.
  1. Click the downloaded file to start the configuration. Insert a USB stick of at least 16 GB into the computer. Burn the downloaded Installation Media to this USB drive.
  2. Turn it off Your Internet connection. If you’re using a laptop, turn off the Wi-Fi switch so that Microsoft servers don’t recognize it.
  3. Restart the computer with the USB stick and press the power button, which may vary depending on the manufacturer: F2, F12, exit, etc. You need to do this very quickly to be directed to the “Windows Out of Box Experience” installation screen, i.e. OOBE.
  4. Windows 10 OOBE usually prompts you to add the language, time, currency, and input / keyboard format at once.
Win11 without Microsoft installation

Windows 11 OOBE has a design change that requires you to first select a country or region, then a keyboard layout, and whether you want to add a secondary keyboard.

Win11 without Microsoft Select your country
  1. Follow the instructions on the screen until you see a screen asking you to name your computer.
Win11 without Microsoft, name your computer
  1. You may also be asked if you want to configure the device for personal or work / school use. (Some users may see this option at the end.)
  2. Follow the instructions until you reach the login page below.
  3. Select “Connection Settings” to connect.
Win11 Creating an Anonymous Microsoft Account
  1. Select the “offline account” option. If it is disabled on your system, press the “back arrow” button to access the offline local username field.
Win11 without the Microsoft offline account option
  1. You may see a different version of using your offline account during setup. In this case, the offline menu is highlighted below the username field. Click “Offline Account” instead of “Next.”
Win11 without a Microsoft offline accountb
  1. You will see a screen indicating that you have a limited experience with the device. Click “Limited Experience.”
Win11 without Microsoft Limited experience
  1. In one of the final steps, you will be asked to enter your computer user name. Enter your name.
Win11 without Microsoft Enter your username
  1. Select your device’s privacy settings, then sit down and wait for Windows 11 to complete the installation (local account).
Win11 without Microsoft account privacy settings

What can you do if you are already connected to the Internet?

If you were connected to the Internet when you installed Windows 11, check to see if you have an offline account. If possible, continue the installation as before.

Otherwise, cold-start the installation by cold-starting the power buttons. Then return to the Internet source and turn it off. This shows the local account option.

You can also activate the local account after installing Windows 11/10.

  1. Select the Run with Command menu Win + R and type “netplwiz”.
Win11 without Microsoft Netplwiz as a runtime command
  1. When the netplwiz Dashboard opens, you will see your Microsoft Primary Administrator account as your default user name.
  2. To add a new username (local or online), click “Add”.
Win11 without the addition of Microsoft
  1. There are a few options you can use to log in. Of course, you can use the email address of your online account, which is set by default. But you can also ignore this “to sign in without a Microsoft account,” although this is not recommended.
Win11 without Microsoft Connect without
  1. Select “Local Account” instead of “Microsoft Account” for later registration.
Win11 without Microsoft local account settings
  1. You will be asked to add a user. This includes a new username, password, and password hint. Confirm them all to continue creating a new local account.
Win11 without local Microsoft account Add user
  1. The new local account will appear in your list of user accounts along with the administrator account. You can get there with a simple Win + THE key combination.
Win11 without a local account created by Microsoft

Frequently asked Questions

1. Can you use a local account as your primary account?

Yeah. The newly created local account has “Standard User” privileges, which can be found under “Administrator”.

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However, if you click the local “Properties” account, you can change the local account to be an administrator.

Win11 without Microsoft Change the local account to an administrator

2. Does using a local account change the status of your current Microsoft account?

Creating a local account will not affect your Microsoft account at all, unless you accidentally choose to delete your Microsoft account (see below).

3. Can you delete your primary Microsoft user account in Windows 11/10?

Although we do not recommend it, it is possible to delete your primary Microsoft account and use only the local account for Windows 11/10. Microsoft offers this option, but it is highly recommended that you do not use this option as it will remove your paid licenses.

You cannot delete the primary Microsoft account as an administrator. This option is grayed out.

Win11 without a non-removable Microsoft primary Microsoft account

To resolve this issue, first log in to your local account desktop using Win + THE, then go to “netplwiz” using the Windows Run command menu. You can delete your primary Microsoft administrator account here.

Win11 without a Microsoft removable master account

4. Is the Local Account option available on all versions of Windows?

By default, the Local Account option is available on all versions of Windows – Education, Pro, Home, and Enterprise – for Windows 10 and Windows 11. However, in later versions of the operating system, this option may be disabled during the upgrade. As explained in this guide, the best way to get a local account is to disconnect from the Internet during installation.

Now that you know how to use your Windows computer with a local account, find out how you can automatically log on to the system. Windows won’t start? Try our troubleshooting tips.

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