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When I installed Windows 8, I deliberately chose not to use a Microsoft account to sign in. I like to keep things separate, and just logon with a traditional local account. Any apps that require me to sign-in with my Live account, will have to prompt me to sign-in.

Now, I just updated to 8.1, but towards the end of the setup process, I was asked to sign-in with a Microsoft account or create one.

Unlike when installing Windows 8, there didn't seem to be any option to skip that step, or otherwise close the sign-in prompt and continue to my updated Windows installation. At least not that I could find.

This is particular annoying, when setting up computers for friends and family, whom I support. They may not have, or have any interest in getting, a Microsoft account and I'm reluctant to use my own.

I realize I can disconnect my Microsoft account after the fact, but is there really no way to install, or upgrade to, Windows 8.1, without being forced to create a Microsoft account? If there is, how does one go about that?

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Could you create a MS Account, then switch your profile to a local one? –  kobaltz Oct 17 '13 at 19:59
3  
@kobaltz: I could, but why should I be forced to, instead of leaving me with the choice, like Windows 8 did? As noted, this is particular annoying when installing PC's for others. –  abstrask Oct 17 '13 at 20:02
    
I will confirm that you can indeed use Windows 8.1 without a Microsoft Account this of course was my experience with an upgrade installation. I have not bothered trying a clean installation. –  Ramhound Oct 17 '13 at 20:03
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I was able to skip it without any problems on my VM. My system was connected to the network. Just click the option to create an account, on the next menu there will be an option to skip the creation of a MS account. –  Zoredache Oct 17 '13 at 21:38
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@Zoredache: Thanks - another convoluted way, to skip creating an account. To be honest, I didn't think of clicking to create an account, since I had no interest in doing so. MS really do not want you to not link a Microsoft account, huh? –  abstrask Oct 17 '13 at 21:43

5 Answers 5

up vote 50 down vote accepted

At the dialog to enter your online account data, click on the button to create a new account,

enter image description here

here you have a new button to use a local account. It may say "Sign in with your existing account" instead of the "Sign in without a Microsoft Account" message/link shown below.

enter image description here

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OK. Didn't think of that, as I was upgrading, thus didn't need/want to create a new account. –  abstrask Oct 18 '13 at 7:42
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ok, I added to pictures to show it. –  magicandre1981 Oct 18 '13 at 17:18
    
What happened to the screenshots? :( –  abstrask May 15 at 10:20
    
@abstrask what do you mean? I still see them. –  magicandre1981 May 15 at 17:49
    
Sorry, must have been issues on my employer's network. All well and good :-) –  abstrask May 15 at 20:15

Method 1:

  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 2:

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.”

Source: http://www.infobyte.hr/blog/337/windows-8-1-preview-how-to-install-without-microsoft-account-skip-microsoft-account/

Method 3:

Click on Create New Account

Select Sign In Without Microsoft Account

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1  
Wow. How stupidly convoluted! Basically, instead of giving me a clear choice, I can either fake forgetting my password, or a lack of internet connection. I didn't like the way MS pushed for one to create a MS account with Windows 8, and I most certainly don't like how they are practially forcing you now. Thanks, Microsoft! –  abstrask Oct 17 '13 at 20:09
    
+1 for being creative. –  Hennes Oct 19 '13 at 18:19

According to TweakGuides.com you can use a local account. During the update...

  1. When prompted... click on 'Create a new account'.
  2. At the bottom of the next screen (with all the new account info) click on 'Sign in without a Microsoft Account'. It will use your existing local account.

You don't need to disconnect the internet, setup a fake email, or remove the account later.

The author berates Microsoft for deliberately hiding the option as an obvious attempt to trick users into using a Microsoft Account.

http://www.tweakguides.com/Windows81_3.html

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Hi Brett. This is basically what @magicandre1981 wrote. My view resonates with the author of the article you link to :) –  abstrask Oct 18 '13 at 12:29

If you don't want 8.1 to ask for your microsoft account after installation with the account, after your log in go to Settings => Change PC settings => Accounts => Your Account, select the option to disconnect. It will prompt you to create a local user pre-selecting the one that existed before. Once disconnected to the Microsoft account, it will login with the re-created account.

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This doesn't answer the OPs question of "is there [a] way to install, or upgrade to, Windows 8.1, without being forced to create a Microsoft account?" –  Twisty Dec 10 at 16:50

I am upgrading a new Lenovo Laptop that has factory installed Win 8.0 Basic with all of the vendor crap installed. I did the Win Store Upgrade to Win 8.1 and after about 3 hours of this and that I was presented with the sign on with MS Internet account. Here is the trick to get out of it: HOLD DOWN ON/OFF button until machine drops power.

Then, when you restart you will be presented with the original Win 8.0 login name request that was set up on original install.

This seems to be the easiest way to bypass Microsoft's dictatorial madness.

kentek

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To be honest I find the other solutions better. What other first run customisations are canceled, by shutting down the PC midway? The other solutions use built-in ways to skip the online account step. –  abstrask Jan 20 at 16:57
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This has the virtue of being simple, but as @abstrask says, the risk of side effects is a little high when there are alternatives. –  David Jan 20 at 17:51
    
How is the simplest way simply to skip the process? –  Ramhound Jan 21 at 2:30

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