When you install Windows 10, no option is offered to set up a local account. You’ll be asked to sign in to your Microsoft account. With the workaround described in this post, you can install Windows 10 with a local account.
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Michael Pietroforte

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in IT management and system administration.
Profile gravatar of Michael Pietroforte

Local account vs. Microsoft account ^

Starting with Windows 8, Microsoft has tried to push users to sign in to Windows with a Microsoft account. Some features of Windows 8 and Windows 10 require access to the Microsoft cloud, and you therefore have to authenticate with a Microsoft account. Most notable is Microsoft’s cloud storage OneDrive, which can only be used on a Windows machine if you signed in with a Microsoft account. You also need a Microsoft account if you want to install Windows Store apps.

Windows 10 syncs various settings with the cloud, such as installed apps, Start screen and appearance configurations, Internet Explorer settings (favorites, history, etc.), and a few other configurations. For a complete list, just type “sync” in the Start menu or Start screen. You can also access the sync settings in the PC settings (OneDrive > Sync settings), which you can directly access through the Start menu. The configuration menu allows you to decide what information Windows 10 syncs with the cloud.

Windows 10 sync settings

Windows 10 sync settings

If you sign in to another Windows 8 or Windows 10 machine, these settings can be synced, which ensures that you have your work environment from your previous machine without the need to configure everything again. Another advantage of using a Microsoft account is that you can restore your password online in case you forget it.

A downside of this Windows feature is that, whenever you log on to your Windows computer, you also sign in to Microsoft’s cloud. This means that Redmond knows when you sign in, and from where. Not everyone feels comfortable with this.

Another reason to use a local account instead of a Microsoft account is that, when you just want to test Windows 10, you might not want to sync data and settings with your Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 computers. The Windows 10 Technical Preview might contain bugs, and syncing configurations with previous Windows versions could cause problems. Or perhaps you are only interested in testing Windows 10 in a corporate Windows domain and you don’t need any cloud features anyway.

Install Windows 10 with a local account ^

During the Windows 10 installation, you will be asked to sign in to your Microsoft account.

Sign in to your Microsoft account

Sign in to your Microsoft account

If you don’t have a Microsoft account, you also have the option to create an account.

Create a Microsoft account

Create a Microsoft account

No option is available that would allow you to proceed without a Microsoft account.  Wolfgang mentioned in a comment below that an easier way exists than the method I described below. I totally missed the link "Sign in without a Microsoft account" (see screenshot above).

Just in case, Microsoft decides to remove the link again in a later Windows 10 version, you can use the trick below to install Windows with a local account instead of a Microsoft account. You simply have to try to sign in with a fantasy email address.

Use a fantasy email address

Use a fantasy email address

After you click Next, Windows 10 setup will come to the conclusion that you are having trouble signing in and that creating a local account might perhaps solve your problem.

Create a local account

Create a local account

After clicking Create a local account, setup will display a new form.

Local account setup

Local account setup

Another option that will lead to the same dialog is to simply disconnect your computer from the Internet when you install Windows 10.

If you change your mind later, you can connect your local account to a Microsoft account in PC Settings > Users and accounts.

Connect to a Microsoft account

Connect to a Microsoft account

Do you prefer signing in with a local account or with a Microsoft account on computers that are not part of a Windows domain?

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40 Comments
  1. avatar
    Wolfgang Sommergut 3 years ago

    It's even easer: When asked to sign in with your Microsoft account, click on "Create a new account". After that you will have the option to create a local account.

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  2. Profile gravatar of Michael Pietroforte
    Michael Pietroforte 3 years ago

    Wolfgang, thanks a lot for the hint. I totally missed this link. I corrected the text.

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  3. avatar
    Dave Nicholls 3 years ago

    if It's like windows 8/8.1 you could probably also disable/disconnect the network during the sign in. If there is no internet access i believe it skips this as well.

    I image desktops and laptops here, but not surfaces since we just have a few. I dont connect them to the wifi so i can sign in with a local profile, then get online and join the domain and finish my setup.

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  4. Profile gravatar of Michael Pietroforte
    Michael Pietroforte 3 years ago

    Dave, yes this works too. But if I remember it right, the link that Wolfgang mentioned wasn't available in Windows 8. It appears it is one more thing where Microsoft listened to customers. Let's see if the link makes into the final release.

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  5. avatar
    Kris Nelmes 3 years ago

    Michael, it was definitely there in either 8 or 8.1, or both, because I've seen it before.
    Dave, yes, you can also disconnect from the network during setup - I got to create a local account because the setup didn't give me a chance to authenticate on my proxy at work.

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  6. Profile gravatar of Michael Pietroforte
    Michael Pietroforte 3 years ago

    Kris, yeah I think the link was there in Windows 8 and then they removed it in 8.1

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  7. avatar
    hg 3 years ago

    I can't find a way of logging into OneDrive from the desktop without using a Microsoft account login for Windows. The downloadable OD desktop client is older than the one supplied and won't install; and I can't find a way to uninstall the pre-existing version.

    Any ideas?

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  8. Profile gravatar of Michael Pietroforte
    Michael Pietroforte 3 years ago

    As far I know, you have to log on to Windows 10 with a Microsoft account if you want to use OneDrive. This is already the case in Windows 8.1. The only option you have is to access OneDrive with a web browser.

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  9. avatar
    hg 3 years ago

    I suppose WebDav should work, but I haven't been able to try it yet on Win10 and I'm not a fan using it on my usual Win7 pc.

    Such a poorly crafted product.

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  10. avatar
    JC 3 years ago

    "As far I know, you have to log on to Windows 10 with a Microsoft account if you want to use OneDrive."......Looks like my next computer will be a Mac. I'm done with these idiotic requirements that force you into using your MS account to log in when there is no logical reason to force people down that road. Not to mention using your MS account to log in is totally impossible in many environments. If I'm going to lose the flexibility and personal choice Windows used to offer I might as well get better hardware and software, and go with a Mac. I know MS wants to be Apple, but guess what: the surface will never be the iPad. Never. While MS is trying to capture a market they'll never capture they are frustrating business users and IT professionals. Not a great idea to throw your entire user base under the bus so you can chase people that will never buy your products.

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  11. avatar
    Spuds 2 years ago

    Enjoy creating that Apple account then 🙂

    Yes a Surface will never be an Ipad. The surface does 10 times more than the Ipad

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  12. avatar
    hal 2 years ago

    What did we desktop users of Microsoft do to deserve being treated so badly?

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  13. Profile gravatar of Michael Pietroforte
    Michael Pietroforte 2 years ago

    hal, I don't know. Perhaps, many users deserve it because they used Hotmail just for their throwaway email accounts? 😉

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  14. avatar
    tony 2 years ago

    JC
    "Looks like my next computer will be a Mac"
    don't you have to sign into a Mac to use their cloud, or is this just another Apple is better than Microsoft comment

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  15. avatar
    maybeageek 2 years ago

    tony: Nope: A Mac only has local accounts...
    Of course, for the cloud services... but you can chose your services of your liking, you are not bound to any apple service. With Microsoft, you need it for any apps, with Apple: You can install what you want and never care for anything in the cloud at all...

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  16. Profile gravatar of Kyle Beckman
    Kyle Beckman 2 years ago

    Actually, Mac OSX Yosemite supports using iCloud accounts. When creating a new user account in Users and Groups, you can choose "Use iCloud password" (which happens to be the default option) or you can convert existing accounts by clicking the Change Password button

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  17. avatar
    Minuser 2 years ago

    Why don't you guys use Linux Mint? You can customize it to look like a Mac or Windows or whatever you'd like. I dual boot all my pc's with Mint and whatever flavor of windows I need for work. I rarely log into the Windows machine, my Mint installation can run Windows programs.
    I use a common partition in my HD where both installations read and write data and documents.

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  18. avatar
    Irwin Mainway 2 years ago

    The reason to do this is that maybe you do not appreciate your Windows 10 user login account based on your existing Microsoft linked email account. Someone could learn the password of the email account and then deduce that is also the login password granting full access.
    What are they thinking at MS?

    Although I had to the whole bit a second time when I chose to do a "save nothing" install of 10041 over existing 9926, and used the same account.
    Including entering the verification code from that email inbox.

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  19. Profile gravatar of Michael Pietroforte
    Michael Pietroforte 2 years ago

    Irwin, yeah that's a good point. I also often have a queasy feeling when I log on to a local machine with an online account. I think it would be worth the risk if you get some real benefits, but I currently don't see this with Windows. I think Android has a better solution with regard to online accounts.

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  20. avatar
    Irwin Mainway 2 years ago

    In Accounts see "Disconnect my Microsoft Account" which allows converting to a Local account with a new name and password. . A screen notes the changes after that:
    Microsoft account info is saved, can switch back.
    One Drive files marked Offline still available on the PC.
    One Drive files still in place in the cloud.
    Apps cannot access One Drive, could be annoying.
    For example Windows Feedback requires entering new account login info.

    A Local account can be added instead. Accounts - Other Users.
    If rather deal with multiple users and sharing files.

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  21. Profile gravatar of Michael Pietroforte
    Michael Pietroforte 2 years ago

    Irwin, I don't remember seeing this disconnect link before. Did this come with an update?

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  22. avatar
    Irwin Mainway 2 years ago

    I couldn't answer that. A few days on 9926, then 10041 for a week, now 10049.
    Somehow 10049 was installed in March by accidentally booting to my 9926 DVD.

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  23. Profile gravatar of Michael Pietroforte
    Michael Pietroforte 2 years ago

    Actually, the feature is also available in Windows 8.1 which is odd. I either always missed the link or it came with an update.

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  24. avatar
    Fred 2 years ago

    The latest Windoze 10 preview 1074, I just gave the login bogus info and it said can't authenticate and it brought me to a local account creation page 🙂

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  25. avatar
    Marcos 2 years ago

    Fred is correct...just enter a bogus login/pass and then create a local.

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  26. avatar
    Horseshoe 2 years ago

    Dear Microsoft,

    We want desktop Windows. We do not want a Microsoft account or your crappy mobile/cloud Web services which you are so desperate to push onto us.

    The market share of Windows tablets and phones is nothing more than a rounding error for Apple and Google. So, stop trying already and admit defeat. The ship has sailed during the Ballmer years, there is no point burning more money on a fruitless endeavor.

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  27. avatar
    Naidthan 2 years ago

    Hi, I have created a local account that disconnect my microsoft account but not link them. than I found no plase to key in login password and cannot enter my computer. Any one could hlep?

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  28. avatar
    Irwin Mainway 2 years ago

    Login options command is still .
    Can login as Administrator just as can in Safe Mode.

    After my multiple posts - I notice that no linked Microsoft account means a delay in those Preview build updates - 'Fast Ring' is not so fast. . Fast Preview build updates - the 'carrot'.

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  29. avatar
    Beau Thompson 2 years ago

    If your using a Microsoft account
    is there a way to remove the local account?
    Thanks Beau

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  30. avatar
    Ken 2 years ago

    Windows 10

    This is the way privacy ends
    Not with a bang. Not with a whimper.
    But with a click.

    (Apologies to TS Eliot)

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  31. Profile gravatar of Michael Pietroforte
    Michael Pietroforte 2 years ago

    Ken, privacy ended long before Windows 10 (and the invention of the mouse for that matter). RFC 790-793 was the whimper. And to stay with TS Eliot, the world did not end. Quite the contrary! A new world was created.

    This doesn't mean that I approve the privacy issues in Windows 10. However, I do believe that you have to give up some privacy if you want to benefit from a global communication network.

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  32. avatar
    Kalen 2 years ago

    Microsoft's unified approach is ambitious though deeply flawed. Marrying the Microsoft Account and the device sign in is a stupid idea for all devices. I should be able to just authenticate my PC to my Microsoft Account and only have to put in my MS password for paid purchases. Just like on Android and Apple/iOS devices. I absolutely hate signing into my computer with my MS pass that thing is long and complicated.

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  33. avatar
    Charles 2 years ago

    Hi, I have upgraded to 10 and the install automatically set-up a windows account for me. I do have an office365 account but i beleive it is different to the microsoft one. The issue is now i have signed out of the PC it wont let me sign in without using the microsoft password which i dont have... can this be changed back to the Windows login somehow?

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  34. avatar
    wendy 2 years ago

    I as everyone else did what I was told and opened up my msn account I don't need to sign in now but I don't want my msn account opened either, unfortunately I can't find where to start a local account I can make an account for work or school is that the same thing ? I tried the bogus but it says to create a msn account

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  35. avatar
    Ben 2 years ago

    It's even easier than that...

    Unplug the ethernet cable before installing WinSpy eh Windows 10, it then automatically sets it up for a local account.

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  36. avatar
    Jacob 2 years ago

    OK, so I'm just a random kid whose dad got him Windows 10 Edu edition from Purdue. Now it's forcing me to connect to a domain. How do I bypass that?

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  37. avatar
    Bjon 2 years ago

    i was wondering if when i upgrade to windows 10 from 8.1 if i will be able to keep my local account along with my microsoft account

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  38. avatar
    Marc S 1 year ago

    I don't know what I'm doing wrong, it seems I can't login with a local account.

    When we install Windows 7, it create a local account with administrative priviledges. Usually I name that account LocalAdmin.

    I was trying to to the same with Windows 10. I created a local account with the MMC Console, named it LocalAdmin and put it in Administrators group.

    At the logon screen, I click on "Other user", I enter the username this way MachineName\LocalAccount and the password.

    Everytime Windows 10 throw the error : "The username or password is incorrect. Try again."

    How come we can't log on locally anymore???!

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  39. avatar
    david connally 1 year ago

    I began with a new W10 box, setting up with a local account only.  To access all previous files, I restored an external drive back-up of my old (and dead) W7 box.  The backup was made using the W7 backup app.  My local account, the default after login, is now a cumbersome

    myname.DESKTOP-XXXXXXX  (XXXXXXX was part of the original, out-of-box  name of the computer)

    To access my old files I must use windows explorer & go to users\myname\foldername.  In the command window, the default directory is the long ...DESKTOP...  I've set up libraries so that my old files are readily accessible BUT I now have the confusing mess where folders documents, pictures etc are duplicated.  Many programs, e.g. downloads or programs requiring access to data files, look in ..DESKTOP..\documents for the data.

    It's driving me nuts,  Anyone know how (or if) I can change the default login directory to be users\myname.

     

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  40. avatar
    sean 1 year ago

    Hi

    I was wondering anyone know how to auto login windows 10  settings > your account > add Microsoft or add work or school account using gp or powershell ??? I need to auto login store account (for apps purchased) or work account(to enrol devices into intune),  so that when the students login the apps will atomically detect the app store account login and hence activate the app to be on full purchased version.

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