Windows 11 Pro to Require Internet and Microsoft Account During Setup

Setting up a new PC running Windows 11 Pro will soon be more of a hassle as you’ll need to create a Microsoft account to do so if you don’t have one already.

As reported by Ars Technica, Microsoft is now testing out a number of new features, UI changes and redesigned apps in the latest Windows Insider preview for Dev channel users following the first major post-release update for Windows 11.

As part of these updates, Microsoft has decided that anyone installing Windows 11 Pro will be required to create a Microsoft Account and have an active internet connection during setup.

As the build notes confirm:

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.

It’s important to note that not all decisions Microsoft makes in an Insider build end up in an official Windows release, but the requirement for an internet connection and an MSA during the initial install seems quite likely to ship as part of a future update. This means that first-time Windows 11 installs will have fewer “Skip for now” buttons in the future, or probably none at all.

While the move will likely disrupt a lot of IT admin workflows, especially during fleet deployments with Windows 11, even personal users have their reasons for not wanting to sign up with a Microsoft account when installing Windows.

Although features like cross-device sync, find my device, access to the Windows Store and OneDrive storage are only made possible with an MSA, concerns around data collection, privacy, and being tied to Microsoft’s ecosystem are among the primary reasons why some users prefer to go with a local account.

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