Offline account

How to install Windows 11 with a 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.

Local account via OOBE

On Windows 11, it’s possible to create a local account during the installation process instead of using a Microsoft account, but the option is somewhat buried. 

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 Accounts settings page.

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.

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. Also, these instructions are meant to help you install Windows 11 when it’s officially available, not before.

Install Windows 11 with a local account

You can install Windows 11 in many ways, these instructions will guide you to perform 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.

To perform an installation of 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 personal use option if you are setting Windows 11 Pro. The “Home” edition does not have this option.

    Windows 11 setup types

  22. Click the Next button.

  23. Click on Sign-in options.

    Local account setup option

  24. Click the Offline account option.

    Windows 11 OOBE offline account option

  25. Click the Skip for now option.

    Skip Microsoft account

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

    Create local account during OOBE

  27. Create a strong password for the local account.

    Create an account password

  28. Click the Next button.

  29. Confirm the password.

  30. Click the Next button.

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

    Account security questions

  32. Click the Next button.

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

    Windows 11 OOBE privacy settings

  34. Click the Next button.

  35. Click the Accept button.

    Privacy settings continued

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