How to install Windows 11 with local account

If you don't want to use a Microsoft account, Windows 11 lets you set up a new installation with a local account, and here's how to do it.

Windows 11 install with local account
Windows 11 install with local account

UPDATED 11/6/2023: On Windows 11, you can create a local account during the installation process instead of using a Microsoft account. The secret is to select the “Set up for work or school” and “Domain join instead” options during the out-of-the-box experience (OOBE), and in this guide, you will learn how.

Although it is recommended to use a Microsoft account since it offers integration with various services and files and settings syncing across devices, many people still prefer the more traditional account experience. Also, setting up a local account during the out-of-box experience (OOBE) after a clean install allows you to create a more personalized folder name for your profile since it won’t use part of the email address and if you plan to use remote access, starting with a local account will help to avoid problems establishing the connection.

If you create a local account during the installation, you can always connect it later to a Microsoft account through the Settings app.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to install Windows 11 Pro with a local account for a more private and traditional experience. If you are setting up Windows 11 Home, you can use these instructions instead. (You can use these instructions to set up Windows 10 without a Microsoft account.)

You can install Windows 11 in many ways. These instructions will guide you in performing a clean installation using a bootable USB flash drive. However, since the option to create a local account is part of the out-of-box experience, the process will be the same.

If you choose this method, you also have to make sure the device can start from USB, which means you will have to change the BIOS or UEFI settings. Since these settings are different on most devices, refer to your manufacturer support website for more specific details.

Important: This process will delete everything on your device. It’s recommended to make a full backup of your computer before proceeding. You’ve been warned.

Install Windows 11 with local account (without a Microsoft account)

To install Windows 11 with a local account, use these steps:

  1. Start the PC with the Windows 11 USB flash drive.

  2. Press any key to continue.

  3. Click the Next button.

    Windows 11 Setup

  4. Click the Install now button.

    Windows 11 install option

  5. Click the I don’t have a product key option if you are doing a reinstallation. If Windows 11 was already activated after the installation, reactivation would happen automatically.

    Skip license key option

  6. Select the edition of “Windows 11” that your license key activates (if applicable).

  7. Check the I accept the license terms option.

  8. Click the Next button.

  9. Select the Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) option.

    Windows 11 custom install option

  10. Select each partition in the hard drive you want to install Windows 11 and click the Delete button. (Usually, the “Drive 0” is the drive that contains all the installation files.)

    Delete partitions Windows 11 setup

    Warning: When you delete a partition, it also deletes all data on the drive. Also, it is not required to delete the partitions from a secondary hard drive.
  11. Select the hard drive (Drive 0 Unallocated Space) to install Windows 11.

    Clean install Windows 11 on unallocated space

  12. Click the Next button.

  13. Select your region setting after the installation on the first page of the out-of-the-box experience (OOBE).

    Windows 11 OOBE region

  14. Click the Yes button.

  15. Select your keyboard layout setting.

    Keyboard layout

  16. Click the Yes button.

  17. Click the Skip button if you do not need to configure a second layout.

  18. If the computer is using an Ethernet connection, it will connect to the network automatically. If you have a wireless connection, you will need to set up the connection manually (a security key may be required).

  19. (Optional) Confirm a name for the computer.

    Windows 11 OOBE name PC

  20. Click the Next button. (The device will restart automatically.) 

  21. Select the Set up for work or school option.

    Windows 11 setup types

    Quick note: This is the step that will allow setting up Windows 11 without a Microsoft account.
  22. Click the Next button.

  23. Click the “Sign-in options” setting.

    Local account setup option

  24. Click the “Domain join instead” option.

    Domain join instead

  25. Specify a name to create a local account on Windows 11.

    Create local account during OOBE

  26. Create a strong password for the local account.

    Create an account password

  27. Click the Next button.

  28. Confirm the password.

  29. Click the Next button.

  30. Complete the three security questions in case you forget your password.

  31. Click the Next button.

    Account security questions

  32. Confirm the privacy settings that best suit your situation by turning on or off the toggle switch for each setting.

  33. Click the Accept button.

    Privacy settings continued

Once you complete the steps, Windows 11 completes the installation with a local account that is not connected to any Microsoft products.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He's also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ & Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, and LinkedIn.