With each new version, Microsoft pushes home users to use a Microsoft account to log in to their computer and makes it more difficult to set up Home edition with an offline (local) account. Let me show you a really simple trick to overcome this hurdle and set up Windows 11 Home with an offline account only.

Windows 11 Pro, Education, and Enterprise can be installed without the Internet (or even a network adapter present in the system). If you click the "I don't have Internet" link, the setup will offer offline account creation right away.

Windows 11 Pro, Education, and Enterprise can be configured even without a network adapter

Windows 11 Pro, Education, and Enterprise can be configured even without a network adapter

In these editions, you can also go to sign-in options and choose Domain join instead, which also leads to offline account creation.

Domain join instead also leads to offline account creation

Domain join instead also leads to offline account creation

However, Windows 11 Home edition requires the internet. You can't pass the splash screen (OOBE) and finish setup without the internet.

In Windows 10, it was possible to connect to the Internet and then go back in the setup, disconnect, and then continue with the offline account. This is no longer possible in Windows 11. Once you connect to Wi-Fi and get to the "Sign in" screen, you can't go back. While users connected over an Ethernet cable can simply unplug it, more and more devices no longer have RJ45 connectors and use Wi-Fi only. For these users, this is an issue as they can't go back and disconnect. Keyboard hotkeys to turn off Wi-Fi usually do not work at this stage as Windows is lacking the driver.

Luckily, there is a really simple trick to complete the setup, which I will show you now. The procedure works for both Wi-Fi and Ethernet users.

When you first boot your new installation, connect to a Wi-Fi network, and click Next.

The setup will ask you to enter the computer name. This step can be also skipped.

Enter your new computer name

Enter your new computer name

As you can see, Microsoft wants you to sign in with a Microsoft account.

Sign in with a Microsoft account

Sign in with a Microsoft account

Press the Shift+F10 keys to open the command prompt.

Next, type ncpa.cpl to open the network connections control panel.

Type ncpa.cpl to open network connections

Type ncpa.cpl to open network connections

Right-click your Wi-Fi adapter (or Ethernet) and click Disable. This will disconnect you from the Internet.

Disable the network adapter to disconnect from the Internet

Disable the network adapter to disconnect from the Internet

Close the settings and the command prompt, and click the back arrow.

Click the back arrow

Click the back arrow

The setup will refresh and determine that the Internet is not available.

At this point, you are asked to enter an offline (local) account username.

Enter your username

Enter your username

Enter your password and finish the setup. Once you get into the system, don't forget to enable your Wi-Fi or Ethernet. This can be done via ncpa.cpl or Settings.

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Enable Wi Fi

Enable Wi Fi

That's it! Of course, there are other ways this can be done, but this procedure, with just a few steps, is much more comfortable than messing around with the router uplink or similar hardware hacks.

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10 Comments
  1. artodeto 1 month ago

    Microsoft is trying to push you in their cloud so hard. We will try to stick to Windows 10 as long as possible.

    So strange that the operation system that is powering the internet aka Linux is now the one offering you an offline installation.

    • Author

      Hello Artodeto,
      as you can see you can setup Windows 11 offline also. Noone is forcing you to use cloud services later on.
      Internet is required just for Home edition, which is not used in organizations.
      Cheers

  2. Allan 1 month ago

    Neat trick, Leos. I will have to remember it if and when I go to Windows 11.
    Thanks.
    Allan

  3. Irfan 1 month ago

    Hi All, I have a question always regarding Cloud computing. Many Organizations worldwide have very strict Data privacy related concerns, so how will they move onto Cloud and trust any XYZ Cloud provider with all their data. I have always asked this question but never got any convincing reply. Some people say such companies can go for a hybrid approach where they can choose what to keep on cloud and what not to keep on cloud. I dont know, looks like some companies who have husge investments in Data centers, will still try and hold on to their own Databases and Servers. These are just my thoughts, please correct me if I am wrong.

    Thanks
    IQ

    • Author

      Hello,
      not sure how is the question of how and where organizations store their data related to this post?
      Leos

  4. Faiz Qureshi 1 month ago

    Hi Leos, U have summarised everything perfectly in yout post here of making Windows 11 work offline. Please note My point is not regarding how and where organizations store their data , it is just a reminder which emphasises what artodeto has mentioned in his reply to your post of sticking to Windows 10 as long as possible, All I am trying to say to further support his point is Organizations have many reasons to continue to stick to their own Data centres as opposed to moving to cloud.

    • Author

      I understand your point. However, this post is about Windows Home edition. No organization use that (or not that I know of), as Home edition cant be joined to domain.
      Cheers

  5. Gerold Manders 1 month ago

    During the Windows install procedure, you are asked to select a WiFi radio station to connect to for network/internet access. Simply do not connect to any WiFi node and continue.

    That won't work when you upgrade your Windows 10 installation to Windows 11. So that would be another reason to re-install instead of upgrade.

    As I live and work in South America, I work for a company in Europe. Internet over there is great, so everyone is there on the 'Cloud' band wagon. Over here internet (and the electricity grid) is not that fast or reliable, so I like things to be on-premise. You have no idea how many times I have been called an old-fashioned fossil by the pro-cloud people over in Europe. While it is simply a case of being able to continue working when internet fails and/or electricity is gone (diesel generator). As some power/internet failures are fixed within an hour, while others can take 24 hours.

    That is my reality that is simply not understood by pro-cloud persons. They say that you can continue working, because 'it is the cloud man'. They simply cannot grasp the concept of not being able to reach the systems in your cloud.

    Then again, those youngsters are also without a clue when their computers/laptops/tablets actually develop a hardware problem that is easily fixed by a person like myself. Some things are not taught anymore it seems.

    Windows 11 requires an even more simplified interface for professionals to work with? Generally speaking, have we (and the teaching institutes) not been pampering the newer generations of IT professionals too much lately?

    • Author

      If you download ISO from Microsoft site with Windows 11 Home, you cant skip the internet connection screen. The Next button is greyed out. Also, if you connect to a Wifi which does not have internet uplink, it will tell you "No internet" and the button is still greyed out.
      So, Windows 11 Home cant be set up without internet. But, you just need it for the one and only moment to pass the OOBE screen. After that, you can use it completely offline. However, what good is a computer today without internet?

      Noone is forcing you to use any cloud services.. Just set the PC up and do whatever you want 🙂
      Cheers

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