Dear Microsoft – we need to talk.
You recently rolled out a new preview version of Windows 11 and made a big change that many of us in the IT industry weren’t happy with. You first make this change in Windows 11 Home, where you ask users to install an operating system with an Internet connection and set up the system using a Microsoft account. (At the time, many thought that requiring a Microsoft account for Home users was a good idea.)
Now, you have released Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22557 Microsoft account is required when installing even Windows 11 Professional. For many, this is not a task we feel is appropriate.
First, let’s see what having a Microsoft account does when you set up your computer. Equal Microsoft pointed out, an account that gives you a “card with full access to top Microsoft services. If you use any of these services, you must have a Microsoft account: Outlook.com, Office, Skype, OneDrive, Xbox Live, Bing, Microsoft Store, Windows, or MSN. If your machine has Bitlocker enabled, your Bitlocker keys will be backed up in the Microsoft cloud. And users get a OneDrive location to store files and information so they have backups if they get hit with ransomware.
All of these advantages sound great, don’t they? But even home users sometimes want a local computer without internet connection. Or want to set up a virtual machine. Or want a peer-to-peer network without connecting to cloud services. You get the idea. Users want choice. They want privacy. There are many reasons why someone might not want a Microsoft account. And for those of you who assume that your iPhone or Android phone requires you to use an account to sign in, remember that you’re comparing a desktop OS to a phone. Instead, you should compare Windows to Apple’s macOS, where you can still set up your computer without an account linked to cloud services.
In addition to the account requirement, Preview Build 22557 also offers the ability to group pinned apps into folders in the Start menu; the Do Not Disturb feature; and the Focus feature, among other changes. But it’s the task of accounts when deploying Windows 11 Professional that makes users a bit annoyed. Many people set up virtual machines for testing and don’t want the hassle of setting up a computer with a Microsoft account. Personally, I have set up so many virtual machines with my Microsoft account that when I sign in to the Microsoft store to use or test some software, I have to sign in. List of devices to remove old virtual machines. While you can have more than 10 devices linked to a Microsoft account, the Microsoft Store still feels like an arbitrary 10 device limit.
Equal Microsoft Store notes: “You can use up to 10 devices with the Microsoft Store. If you can’t download apps and games, you’ve reached your Microsoft Store device limit. Unlink a device, then go to the Microsoft Store and try again. Then I had to log in and remove one computer from the list.
While most businesses will likely associate their PCs with a Microsoft 365 account or use deployment mechanisms to avoid out of box experience, I know when testing different systems I usually set them up without an account. (The out-of-the-box experience ensures that users deal with various questions and issues during setup.) I also often set up virtual machines without an internet connection – a different new task than the original. Release this preview.
Despite the account requirements, there seems to be how to solve step by step although they look a bit complicated. Bottom line: there are obviously many workarounds to this for those who still deploy Windows PCs and virtual machines individually. But Microsoft should realize that users sometimes need to set up a machine without the required account settings.
Of course, for multiple Windows deployments, you should use tools like Autopilot. With it, you can skip the initial setup of a local account and go straight to entering domain information. And when you go to the account question on the screen, (assuming you have Azure Active Directory or Microsoft 365), you can either complete your Microsoft 365 login and skip setting up a local account entirely, or Microsoft account. Or you can try autounattend.xml and use a process to Preload setup to Windows 11.
Finally, don’t forget give feedback to Microsoft on this issue. Open a new bug in the Windows feedback app or vote an existing bug. Microsoft has said that the items shown in these preview versions can – or maybe not – show up in the final version of Windows 11. If you feel uncomfortable about it, let Microsoft know.
Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.
https://www.computerworld.com/article/3650755/no-microsoft-dont-require-an-account-to-set-up-windows-11.html#tk.rss_all No, Microsoft, no account is required to set up Windows 11