Elon Musk finally says something we can all agree on: No one wants to have to log in with a Microsoft Account on Windows 11

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 16: Chief Executive Officer of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of Twitter, Elon Musk attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre on June 16, 2023 in Paris, France. Elon Musk is visiting Paris for the VivaTech show where he gives a conference in front of 4,000 technology enthusiasts. He also took the opportunity to meet Bernard Arnaud, CEO of LVMH and the French President. Emmanuel Macron, who has already met Elon Musk twice in recent months, hopes to convince him to set up a Tesla battery factory in France, his pioneer company in electric cars. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images/Photo by Chesnot)

Ah, Mr Musk. Few figures are more controversial in modern times than our Elon, and it seems barely a week can pass without some sort of internet uproar over his latest creation, opinion, or dubious style of company leadership

Still, he's recently taken to his Twitter account to complain about the difficulties of setting up a new Windows PC without creating a Microsoft account, and you know what? He might actually have a valid point.

Shock, horror, and indeed awe. Anyway, Musk has apparently been laptop shopping (here's hoping he checked our cheap laptop deal pages first) and come home with a shiny new machine, only to find that it initially appears like you can't set up a new Windows machine without creating an accompanying Microsoft account (via Gizmodo). Musk bemoaned the apparent forcing of his hand, while also making the assertion it "also means giving their AI access to my computer".

Well then, where to begin. Firstly, if it's Microsoft Copilot Mr Musk is complaining about when he references "their AI", then he may wish to check out our quick guide on how to disable it. Beyond that however, when it comes to the Microsoft Account requirements it's somewhat difficult to disagree, as setting up a Windows PC without an account is indeed a lot more tricky than it used to be.

That didn't stop the denizens of Twitter chipping in with some helpful advice on how to get past it, by adding Community Notes to his post explaining a common workaround. However, this still didn't quite do it for the Twitter and Tesla CEO.

Eventually the problem was traced to his laptop automatically connecting to a local Wi-Fi connection without password access, which once deselected provided him the ability to skip creating a dreaded Microsoft account, although the Twitter and Tesla CEO might want to think twice before throwing stones.

Both Twitter and Tesla heavily push users towards creating user accounts in order to make use of various services, so this whole ordeal strikes a little of folk in glass houses. Still, despite having the good people of Twitter act as his tech support (an interesting decision for a man who's made a career out of owning tech companies) Musk seemed unprepared to let the issue go, even reaching out to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella a day after the fact.

As tech support requests go, it's up there isn't it?

In all honesty though, I have to give this one to Elon. It's more than a little obtuse as far as methods go, and really should be a simple option in the Out-of-box-experience to bypass. 

Still, it inspired us to create a handy little guide for any other billionaires experiencing the same issue, so you don't have to publicly reach out to Twitter and then the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world yourself for your own personal PC setup issues.

Installing Windows 11 without creating a Microsoft Account

When setting up a Windows 11 PC using the Out-of-box experience:

1. When presented with the "Is this the right country or region" screen, press Shift + F10 to open a command prompt window.

2. Select the window and type: oobe\bypassnro (no spaces) followed by Enter.

This will cause the computer to restart.

3. Once back at the same screen, press Shift + F10 to open the command prompt once more, and this time type: ipconfig /release (again, no spaces)

4. Now press Enter and type exit to close the window.

5. Now make your way through the usual setup process until you reach the "Let's connect you to a network" screen, select "I don't have internet" and then "Continue with limited setup".

When performing a clean Windows 11 install from USB:

Create a bootable Windows 11 USB install drive using the RUFUS USB Creator Utility, which will allow you to bypass TPM, Secure Boot, and Microsoft Account requirements.

Congratulations! You should now be able to set up the rest of your Windows installation without a Microsoft Account. You're probably still not one of the worlds richest people, however. Even we can't write a guide to help you with that.

Andy Edser
Hardware Writer

Andy built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 12, when IDE cables were a thing and high resolution wasn't. After spending over 15 years in the production industry overseeing a variety of live and recorded projects, he started writing his own PC hardware blog for a year in the hope that people might send him things. Sometimes they did.

Now working as a hardware writer for PC Gamer, Andy can be found quietly muttering to himself and drawing diagrams with his hands in thin air. It's best to leave him to it.