Microsoft Accounts May Be Required for Windows 11 Pro Edition Installs

Microsoft this week suggested that Windows 11 Pro edition users would need to use Microsoft accounts (MSAs) on new installations intended for personal use, a notion that's buried in this Wednesday Windows Insider program announcement.

While the announcement is mostly about the features to be found by testers in Windows 11 preview build 22557, it also included the following paragraph at the end about new Pro edition installs:

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.

Microsoft's statement above is somewhat ambiguous because it's associated with the Windows Insider program (WIP). However, many observers think it means that all Pro edition Windows 11 users now need to set up machines initially using an Internet connection and an MSA.

Microsoft currently requires Windows 11 Home edition users to have an Internet connection and an MSA when setting up a PC for first use. The Pro edition didn't previously have that requirement.

There are reasons to not want to use an MSA during the out-of-the-box experience (OOBE) setup process. A good summary can be found in this recently updated ExtremeTech article.

There are also arguments for using MSAs. Their use synchronizes Microsoft's services and makes it easier to recover access to them, plus MSAs add two-factor authentication security, according to Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Andre Da Costa, in this 2021 article on the Windows 11 OOBE:  

A Microsoft Account provides numerous benefits such as two factor authentication, Find my device support, file syncing using OneDrive if you have multiple devices running Windows 11 or Windows 10.

Da Costa added that it's still possible to switch and use a local account after the initial OOBE setup, even for Home edition users. He described that process in another article, where Windows 11 users are said to need to disconnect from the Internet to get a local account option.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.