Last Updated on June 7, 2022 by Dave Farquhar
I prefer to use local accounts on my home network. If you’re reading this, chances are you do too, so I don’t need to sell you on the idea. You already know Microsoft doesn’t want you to use local accounts and makes it hard to create them now. But it’s not impossible. Here’s how to create a local account in Windows 11, even when you’re doing a new install.
Install Windows 11 from removable media with the computer disconnected from your local network. Unplug the network cable if your computer doesn’t have one. You don’t have to disable your wifi, since we’re just going to skip that part.
Windows will ask you to choose your country and your keyboard layout. Do that normally. When it asks to connect to a network, that’s when the magic happens.
Hit shift-F10 to bring up a command prompt. Type taskmgr and hit enter to bring up task manager. Click more details, then scroll down and find the task called network connection flow. Click on that, then click end task. Windows will then take you to a new screen titled Who’s going to use this device, which will allow you to create a local account. It will be an administrator account, so keep that in mind. You can make local non-admin accounts once the install finishes.
Once you enter a username and a password, you can plug back into the network and let the installation finish.
Creating Windows 11 local non-administrator accounts
To create a non-administrator account, after you log in, hit Windows key and the I key at the same time, which brings up a screen you can use to create one or more local non-administrator accounts. Click on accounts, about halfway down the left side.
Next click family and other users, which is third from the bottom. This brings up a new screen where you can create accounts. You can see this computer already has one. Yours won’t, if this is the first time you did this.
Don’t be fooled by the “local account” option here, which is actually a Microsoft account. That’s not the one you want. Click add account, the big blue button. Windows prompts you to create a Microsoft account. They just can’t take no for an answer.
Yeah, we’re not gonna do that. Click I don’t have this person’s sign in information.
Then click add a user without a Microsoft account.
Fill in the details and click Next.
Windows takes you back to the family and other users screen. We’re almost done. Click on the account you just made, and under account options, click change account type. This will allow you to choose what kind of account to make it, standard or administrator.
You can repeat this to create as many local accounts as you need. Your account name can’t be the same as your computer name, so here’s how to change your computer name if you need to.
And that is how to create local accounts in Windows 11 when Microsoft really really really really doesn’t want you to. And now that you have the account created, here’s how to move the local profile data from your old PC to your new one.
If you also have a network printer and can’t figure out how to get it connected to Windows 11, here’s how.
Is there a downside?
Arguably there’s a downside to this. When you use software that assumes you’ll have a Microsoft account, and that account gets locked, it can cause odd behavior. It makes you more prone to this Minecraft account lockout issue, for example. But if you don’t use a lot of Microsoft cloud stuff, the improved privacy is arguably worth it.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.