Windows 11 will force users to create Microsoft accounts
If you're using Windows 11, there is a reasonable chance that you have a Microsoft account -- but it is not necessarily the case. While there are various advantages to signing into Windows using your Microsoft account, it is not something everyone feels entirely comfortable with.
So it will come as bad news to such hold-outs that Microsoft is going to force some users to create such an account. The change is coming to Window 11 Pro, meaning that home users who have opted for this version of Windows, in addition to the organizations, businesses and enterprises that use this edition of the operating system are affected. But there is some good news.
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If you already have Windows 11 Pro installed, nothing is going to be changing -- at least not as far as we know. But if you are planning on installing Windows 11 Pro afresh, you can expect to need two things: an internet connection and a Microsoft account.
Microsoft didn't exactly hide the announcement when it revealed what is new in the latest build of Windows 11, but the company has hardly shouted about the change either. In the release note for the most recent Insider build of Windows 11, Microsoft says:
Similar to Windows 11 Home edition, Windows 11 Pro edition now requires internet connectivity during the initial device setup (OOBE) only. If you choose to setup device for personal use, MSA will be required for setup as well. You can expect Microsoft Account to be required in subsequent WIP flights.
As Microsoft points out, this is very much the same as what has already happened with Windows 11 Home edition. However, the need for there to be an internet connection active means that it will not be possible to install Windows 11 Pro in "offline" mode to get around the Microsoft Account requirement.
Some have been quick to point out that this change will make Windows 11 the only significant consumer-focused operating system that requires users to sign into an online account.