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- Set up Windows 11 Home with an offline account - Mon, Oct 18 2021
- Reset a Windows 11 password and the Windows Server 2022 administrator password - Mon, Sep 20 2021
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.
In these editions, you can also go to sign-in options and choose Domain join instead, which 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.
As you can see, Microsoft wants you to 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.
Right-click your Wi-Fi adapter (or Ethernet) and click Disable. This will disconnect you from the Internet.
Close the settings and the command prompt, and 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 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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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.