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.

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?

43 Comments
  1. Horseshoe 7 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.

  2. Naidthan 7 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?

  3. Irwin Mainway 7 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'.

  4. Beau Thompson 6 years ago

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

  5. Ken 6 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)

  6. 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.

  7. Kalen 6 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.

  8. Charles 6 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?

  9. wendy 6 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

  10. Ben 6 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.

  11. Jacob 6 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?

  12. Bjon 6 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

  13. Marc S 6 years 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???!

  14. david connally 6 years 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.

     

  15. sean 6 years 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.

  16. Tuulia 4 years ago

    Hi!

    This doesn't work for even though I made up a fantasy email address: Cortana never asks for a username but takes it from the first 5 letters of the email address I gave (which I don't want: I already tried changing it after the installation, but it's troublesome and some problems still remain. Do I have to come up with a 5 letter name I can cope with (with C:\Users\XXXXX) or is there a way with the local account? (My name is 6 letters long, which I'd like to use and the 5 letter version looks totally stupid).

    • Tuulia 4 years ago

      I found the solution by myself, but thanks of the idea (I installed without internet connection in which way I could go away without giving any emails (and as I had reset the windows already twice today, I didn't need updates either.

  17. Chris 2 years ago

    This no longer works, but all you have to do is turn off your internet connection and it'll switch to setting up a local account.

    avatar

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