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Windows 11 Pro will soon force you to make a Microsoft account

Photo of a laptop running Windows 11
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Setting up a new PC (opens in new tab) running Windows 11 Pro (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab).

While these new features and improvements such as a major upgrade to the Task Manager and the the ability to drag items in to the Taskbar (as was possible in Windows 10 (opens in new tab)) will likely be a welcome addition, requiring users to sign in to their Microsoft account (opens in new tab) during set up could be frustrating for some users.

Microsoft account required

Towards the bottom of the changelog in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22557 (opens in new tab), Microsoft notes that Windows 11 Pro will now require internet connectivity and for a user to log into their Microsoft account during the initial setup of new business computers (opens in new tab) and business laptops (opens in new tab).

Previously in Windows 11, you could create a local user account during setup if your PC wasn't connected to the internet. Going forward though, both Windows 11 Home and Pro will require users to be connected and to sign in to setup their devices.

Signing in is often a requirement to enable app stores, cloud storage (opens in new tab), cross-device sharing and syncing and other features but Windows 11 will soon be the only major operating system that requires account sign-in to access even the most basic functionality. For instance, Apple still allows for local account creation during setup in macOS and even Chromebooks (opens in new tab) feature a guest mode that lets you browse the internet without having an account.

Although this change won't be too big of a hassle for most users, developers who frequently set up new Windows installations for testing and those trying to set up a new PC in a place that doesn't have an internet connection will be affected. As of now though, it's still unclear as to when Microsoft plans to require Windows 11 users to sign in during setup.

Via Ars Technica (opens in new tab)

Anthony Spadafora
Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.