Windows 8.1 Preview – How to install without Microsoft account (skip Microsoft account)

Windows 8.1, also known as Windows Blue was released as Windows 8.1 Preview. If you wanted to try it out and install it like I did, you may have found that there is no option to skip connecting it to Microsoft account. In fact, FAQ on Microsoft page – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/preview-faq says the following:

Warning – In order to use Windows 8.1 Preview you must sign in to your PC with a Microsoft account. The option to create a local account will be made available at the final release of Windows 8.1.

So according to this you can’t install it and bypass Microsoft account and additionally, there is no option to skip connecting it to Microsoft account and creating a local account instead. However, there is a way to do this.

Update: It seems that this “feature” has made it into the final version as well. But the following methods to avoid it still work:

Method 1:

1. Click on link Create a new account (near the bottom of screen, below the “Don’t have an account?” text)

2. When sign up form appears click on Sign in without a Microsoft account (also on the bottom).

Method 2:

1. Disconnect your Internet connection before installing Windows 8.1 (or after the first part of installation has finished). Windows detects at some point if there is an active Internet connection – if it isn’t available, it will skip the screen where Windows wants you to Connect this PC to your Microsoft account and offer you to create a local account instead. This is the simplest method of skipping this screen.

Method 3:

You can keep your Internet connection enabled. When a screen called Connect this PC to your Microsoft account appears it will ask you for Email Address and Password (for Outlook.com or similar Microsoft service). If you have one you may put it in or if you don’t have it (or use Gmail instead), you have an option to create one. I suppose you want neither otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this right?

1. If you don’t want to create Microsoft account enter some invalid email here for example:

  • Email Address: localhost@localhost.localhost
  • Password: whatever you like, doesn’t matter (I entered 12345678).

2. Windows will now check this account and conclude that there was a problem with logging into this account (as it obviously doesn’t exist).

3. On the side a text will appear – “The email address or password is incorrect. If you don’t remember your password, create a local account now and set up your Microsoft account later.”

4. Click on create a local account now part of the text and you’re now creating a local account.

It is likely that Microsoft did this on purpose to test the resistance against mandatory cloud services. As this is a beta version and not the one which will sell, it certainly looked like a perfect opportunity to do this test. If they really wanted, they could easily disable logging in with local account but instead they advertised it like “it can’t be done” even though they left a small gap to squeeze through.

It is also possible that they wanted to use this beta to increase a number of accounts for their Outlook.com service (once people sign up, some of them are likely to continue using it).

As for the first impressions here is something you might also be interested in:

  • Start button is a fake – instead of start menu it opens start screen. It is back but that’s not really it. There is an option though to show only applications – it is called Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start (right click Taskbar, then select Properties and finally click Navigation tab).
  • To boot directly to desktop right click Taskbar, then select Properties and finally click Navigation tab. The checkbox option is called Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in.

25 thoughts on “Windows 8.1 Preview – How to install without Microsoft account (skip Microsoft account)

  1. Thanks, just what I was looking for. I hate this “connect your account” stuff. My PC is MY PC. Not just another node to the cloud.

  2. It is likely that Microsoft did this on purpose to test the resistance against mandatory cloud services. As this is a beta version and not the one which will sell, it certainly looked like a perfect opportunity to do this test. If they really wanted, they could easily disable logging in with local account but instead they advertised it like it “can’t be done” even though they left a small gap to squeeze through.

    It is also possible that they wanted to use this beta to increase a number of accounts for their Outlook.com service (once people sign up, some of them are likely to continue using it).

  3. Awesome, thank you! My first thought was “what the f*** Microsoft?” I’m glad I found your guide.

  4. Thanks, second method worked great.

    Only needed to use a@a.a with pw a (for the fellow lazy users :)

  5. Great tip. Thank you. The reason Microsoft is big and IBM OS/2 died is because IBM would never listen to the inner circle of influencers. It’s so painful watching Microsoft make the same mistake now, version after version. Every attempt to alienate customers succeeds. It seems to be “by design” that they are pushing customers to Apple and Google.

    On the feedback pages the ratio of “by design” dismissals to “good suggestion” acceptance is …. well… laughably sad.

  6. No need of this steps. You can just click “create an account now” in the bottom you see “login without Microsoft account”, then it moves the page to local account creation.

  7. Method 3 worked, smoothly.

    I think Microsoft wants to be an Apple. They are trying to force people to make Microsoft accounts so that they can buy apps just like Apple’s App Store.

    The whole move is kind of pathetic. If only Google had a real desktop operating system…

  8. Thanks for this. Installing the official release version of 8.1 on my laptop right now and they wanted me to connect to their cloud. When I have to do that, looks like I’ll have to switch to linux.

  9. I appreciate this article greatly. I upgraded from 8.0 where I already had a local account setup and had been used for at least a month now. 8.1 asked me to log into the local account before it tried to force me to create a Microsoft account.

  10. I performed the second method by applying logic on the real 8.1 Enterprise version from TechNet, Windows promise that it would later request it again, so I’m a bit worried now… ;-)

  11. Additionally, I just reinstalled the updated Classic Shell from sourceforge, it gave an incompatibility error message but seems to work anyway, just meant I had to reboot, when I start Win 8.1 and the touch screen displays, just hit the windows key and the good old shell appears!

  12. Worked brilliantly with the first system I’ve upgraded from Win 8 to Win 8.1 RTM. I could only use method 3 (was doing the upgrade remotely via TeamViewer, so needed Internet left enabled), and it has worked a charm. Thank you kindly for sharing :-)

  13. Thanks so much. I already hated 8 and MS somehow took it and made it worse, but I’m having to deploy 8.1 and this snag threw me for a loop. Such simple workarounds not readily apparent if you haven’t done it before.

  14. Many thanks – saved me looking ;-)

    Needed some way to set up 20+ new PCs for end users in a domain and remove the vendor supplied dross. Yet again M$ don’t care forgot about the mid-range SME who don’t volume license everything and are too big for off-the-shelf. *sigh*

  15. I was about to reinstall Win 8.1 (for the third time) and use one of these methods to get a local account but instead found a real easy solution.

    Go to Settings then Change PC Settings and click Accounts. In your account details there’s a line in blue that says something like Disconnect. I had assumed it was another way of logging out but it actually removes the MS email login account completely and then allows you to open a local account instead.

  16. Thx, I cannot imagine MS to actually make this a standard for Windows. I’m a system administrator and to have every computer in our network connected via a MS account would be a total disaster.. Imagine creating and configuring MS accounts for all our employees (200+) whilst installing their computer… Such a hassle! I’ve never been a great MS fan, but every time they develop something they find a way to screw it up. Same goes for Exchange 2013, using disclaimers as mail signature.. It places it at the end of the WHOLE mail conversation.. What use does that have AT ALL?

    (still) Cant believe MS became market standard back in the 80′s whilst there are much better (and easier) alternatives, Good thing they cant MAKE us use their crap @ home… Long live Linux!

    ..I.. MS

     <3 Linux

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