A Microsoft account is the glue that holds many aspects of online life together. Windows itself, your Xbox login, through to Teams, Office and Edge.
The last few versions of Windows have made it difficult to create an offline user account – a local account, in old money. Local accounts are disconnected from the Microsoft infrastructure, and reside solely on the hard-drive of the machine but still allow full command over the entire system.
It is possible to setup Windows 11 with an offline, local account. The option is obscured on Windows 11 Pro and hidden away completely on Windows 11 Home, but we’ve got three different ways which will lead you back to an offline life.
Method 1: The Easy-Peasy Windows 11 Pro Method
As the header suggests, this method is for Windows 11 Pro, so if you’re on Windows 11 Home, keep reading; you’ll need method 2 or 3 to create an offline account.
During the setup procedure, Windows will eventually display a screen encouraging you to add your Microsoft account. On Windows 11 Pro, the process to bypass this is rather straightforward.
Tucked away, hoping that it won’t be spotted is the link to Sign-in options. Click it.
From the three options which appear, select Offline Account and the screen will refresh.
Windows could send you straight to the local account setup screen, but it doesn’t, it needs to beg first. As we’ve mentioned, there are many benefits for using an online Microsoft account, and this screen is laying it on thick.
Click Skip for now, and don’t look back….
Finally, the local account screen turns up. Enter your desired username and select Next. Windows 11 setup will continue as usual.
Why doesn’t this method work for Windows 11 Home?
Good question. For reasons which may one day become clear, Microsoft have removed the offline option from the account screen. Obviously it would have been much simpler for them to keep the two systems in sync, but a deliberate decision has been made to force Windows 11 Home users into using an online account.
But we’re Big Tech Question – we don’t give up that easily.
Method 2: Kill the Internet
One way to setup an offline account for Windows 11 Home requires intervention before setup reaches the account creation screen.
It stands to the reason that it’s impossible to create an online account unless the machine is online. Simply disconnecting the machine from the internet will automatically present the offline account access (hurrah!), but this is also harder than you’d imagine on the Windows 11 machine. If you’re setting up a desktop, then pull out the ethernet cable and you’re good to go.
However, if your machine has wireless connectivity – like most modern machines – then disconnecting the wireless receiver will require the use of screwdrivers. Don’t panic, we’ve got a little trick for you.
You may have spotted that there is no I don’t have internet (there is for Windows 11 Pro), so unless you connect to a wifi network, Windows 11 will refuse to proceed.
Press Shift and F10 together.
This handy key-press opens a Command Prompt (CMD.exe), into which you can type the following code:
taskkill /f /im oobenetworkconnectionflow.exe
Press enter. This command terminates the Windows 11 wireless setup, which automatically throws the machine into offline mode.
Enter your desired username and the Windows 11 Home setup will proceed as normal – but offline.
Method 3: Alternative Credentials
Method 2 is quite fun, but there is a third method which you may find much more convenient than typing long codes into a command window. For this, we’re going to utilise some locked Microsoft accounts which trip-up the online account system and force the user into creating an offline account.
At the Windows 11 account creation screen, input one of these email addresses:
Now input a password – any password. If it helps, get a small rodent and let it run amok on the keyboard. The password doesn’t need to be valid, so when you’ve got something in the box, click Sign In.
Oops – something went wrong. Who could have foreseen such terrible luck? The duff credentials failed (as expected) and the Windows 11 installation isn’t giving us a chance to retry.
The two email accounts that I’ve mentioned are locked accounts, which means they’ve been blocked by the Microsoft system. If you try this method with an unblocked account, you will get an option to retry. Stick to these two accounts for the best results.
Here we are again, back at the local account setup screen. Choose your username and follow the rest of the procedure to enjoy offline nirvana.
Offline accounts may not suit everyone, but it’s clear that Microsoft is ensuring that offline account creation in Windows 11 Home is very difficult to achieve.
But not impossible.