Windows 10 Home now requires you to sign in with a Microsoft account, unless you first sign out of the Internet. Microsoft has always wanted you to sign in with a Microsoft account, but now it goes even further.
The login option with a classic local Windows account was always rather hidden behind an "Offline account" option. Now we have confirmed that it has completely disappeared from the Windows 10 installation process.
How Windows 10 Home forces a Microsoft account
The screenshots for this article were taken during the installation of Windows 10 version 1903 Home – this is the current stable version of Windows 10, also known as May 2019 update.
During the first setup, either after installing Windows 10 yourself, or when setting up a new PC with Windows 10, you are now asked to sign in with Microsoft and there is no no other options.
On Windows 10 Professional, there would be a "Domain Join place" option which will create a local user account. But this is only on Windows 10 Professional. Windows 10 Home doesn't have this option at all.
If you try to click "Next" or "Create Account", Windows 10 will ask you for "a valid email address, phone number or Skype name". There is no apparent solution.
You can click "Learn More" to find more information on the account creation process. If you do, Windows 10 installer says that you can avoid signing in with a Microsoft account:
If you prefer not to have a Microsoft account associated with your device, you can delete it. Complete the Windows configuration, then select the beginning button and go to Settings> Accounts> Your information and select Log in with a local account instead.
It is true. If you don't want a Microsoft account, Microsoft says you need to sign in with one anyway, then delete it later. Windows 10 does not offer any options for creating a local account from the installation process.
How to create a local user account instead
Fortunately, there is a hidden way to bypass this process on Windows 10 Home: you can disconnect your computer from the network.
If you have a computer with an Ethernet cable, unplug it. If you are connected to Wi-Fi, disconnect.
After that, try to create a Microsoft account and you will see an error message "Something went wrong". You can then click "Ignore" to skip the Microsoft account creation process.
Once you've skipped creating the Microsoft account, the old "Who's going to use this PC?" Screen appears. You can now create an offline account and log into Windows 10 without a Microsoft account – the option was still there.
Even if you have a laptop with Wi-Fi, Windows 10 will ask you to connect to your wireless network before reaching this part of the process. Most people will connect to the network and think that a Microsoft account is required.
Perhaps a future version of Windows 10 will refuse to allow account creation until you are connected to the Internet. "After all," might say Microsoft, "telemetry shows that most people have just created Microsoft accounts. "