I was quite surprised when I discovered that Window 8.1 setup requires a Microsoft account. The Windows 8 installer allows you to choose between a local account and a Microsoft account. The Windows 8.1 Preview setup doesn’t offer this option.
Connect this PC to your Microsoft account
At first, I thought this was a brilliant move to increase the number of Microsoft cloud users. However, I then saw this message in the Windows 8.1 FAQ under the system requirements:
In order to use Windows 8.1 Preview you must sign in to your PC with a Microsoft account. The option to create a local account will be made available at the final release of Windows 8.1.
As it turns out, it is just a brilliant move to lure the interesting target group of early adopters into the Microsoft cloud. It is also possible that Microsoft wants to test how great the resistance would be if a Microsoft account is required for future Windows versions. Or perhaps they just want to get a better overview of the people who are testing Windows 8.1.
Anyway, I know of three ways of working with a local account on Windows 8.1 Preview:
1. Disconnect from the Internet during the setup
If you are upgrading a Windows 8 machine, I recommend turning off the Internet connection only after the Windows 8 setup downloads some updates for Windows 8. These updates are supposed to make the Windows 8.1 installation smoother. When you reach the Microsoft account screen, the Windows 8.1 installer will throw an error message: Windows is having trouble connecting to the Internet. The setup program then allows you to proceed with creating a local account.
Windows is having trouble connecting to Internet
2. Use an invalid email address
If you don’t want to disconnect from the Internet during the setup, you can just use an invalid email address. The setup program will then throw the error message: The email address or password is incorrect. If you don’t remember your password, create a local account now and set up your Microsoft account later.
This email address or password is incorrect.
An advantage of this method is that you will receive the latest Windows 8.1 updates during the setup process.
3. Create a local account after the installation
If you already installed Windows 8.1 Preview and prefer to work with a local account, you can simply create a new account and then use this account to log on to Windows. To create a new local account, click Settings in the Charms bar > Change PC Settings > Accounts > Other accounts > Add a user > Sign in without a Microsoft account (not recommended) > Local account. After you change the account type to “Administrator.”
Add a local account