Windows 11 22H2 forces more users to have a Microsoft account for installation

Windows 11 22H2 apparently removes the option to set up the device with a local account even when your installation edition is Windows 11 Pro. Previously, the change made for Windows 11 Home users removed the option to use a local account, forcing users to set up their device with a Microsoft account.

Starting with Windows 11 version 22H2, Microsoft wants to link the OS installation to your Microsoft account. This measure is no longer limited to just Windows 11 Home edition as Microsoft is now forcing users to link accounts on Windows 11 Pro too. However, Windows 11 Enterprise remains unaffected and users can set it up the way they want.

When you connect your account, Microsoft will automatically configure OneDrive for the device, and begin syncing data across your devices. This includes settings and preferences automatically across different devices to help you manage multiple PCs easily.

While linking a Microsoft account to Windows 11 can be a very useful thing to do, not everyone wants Microsoft to have access to their information.

In Build 22616, Windows 10 Pro installations are forcing the setup of a Microsoft account and users must have an active internet connection during the installation process.

This is the case only if you choose to set up the device for personal use. If you select the Work or school account option, you will be prompted to use your organization’s domain instead.

At the moment, it is still possible to bypass the account requirement by entering a non-existent Microsoft account email and password. This will result in an error message, but you’ll be able to click on the ‘Next’ button and create a local account. It is hardly particularly convenient for the user, but this appears to be the simplest workaround.

On Windows 10, if the machine isn’t online during installation, it is possible to set up a local account. On the other hand, an internet connection is mandatory on Windows 11. Of course, there’s a way to disable the internet connection requirement as well, but the process is complicated as it requires you to edit the OS files.

Is it a good idea to force a Microsoft account?

This is an industry-wide trend. For example, Google has always forced Google accounts on Android phones with Play services. On Apple products, the process isn’t mandatory and it is possible to set up your iPhone without creating an Apple ID, but certain apps or services like App Store may not work properly.

It goes without saying that there are benefits of setting up Windows with your Microsoft account, especially if you’re heavily invested in Microsoft’s ecosystem. The advantages include access to services like Xbox, Your Phone, OneDrive, syncing your settings automatically across different devices and more.

However, Windows users like to have a choice. Many people including those who don’t care about their privacy may feel more comfortable with having a local account.