back to article Internet connection now required for Windows 11 Pro Insider setup

Microsoft has slapped an internet connectivity requirement on the Dev Channel version of Windows 11 Pro setup and warned that a Microsoft account will be required for future builds in the Insider programme. The notification was dropped in at the end of the impressively long list of tweaks in build 22557, of which the most eye- …

  1. GiantKiwi

    This is going to create a windows 7 situation again, why would institutions want to juggle this BS when W10 already works and doesn't have these arbitrary stupidity moments.

    1. R.O.

      W10 will be phased out just like all the rest. Made un-usable and un-safe.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        I'm still using Windows 7, mainly because there's not much choice in anything better.

        1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          I do have a W10 machine - just so I can test s/w I've written on it. However, I won't be spending money for a W11 machine.

      2. Not Irrelevant

        Definitely, there will be no choice. That's the way OSes are these days. Use the new one or get stuffed.

        1. JassMan

          @not Irrelevant

          Not a good idea to over-generalise. There are plenty more OSes than just Windoze, iOS and 'droid.

          I have never read of any flavour of Linux needing an internet connection except those embedded in IoT devices.

          RiscOS still works even on the latest Pi. I don't believe that MorphOS needs the internet nor does OpenVMS.

          If you insist on being able to run Windows executables, you can always try ReactOS.

          1. vincent himpe

            Re: @not Irrelevant

            People don't run operating systems. People run applications. If an application is tied to one operating system that's where the problem lies. Some stuff is windows only. And for some of those applications there simply is no equivalent on other operating systems.

            1. JassMan

              Re: @vincent himpe

              I'm sorry but I run an OS (which just happens to be Mint XFCE) and then I chose the best app for whatever task I have at the time.

              But, as you say, some stuff is windows only. It doesn't stop you running it in Wine which is supported by virtually all flavours of Linux. OK, if it is a genuine MS app you will need to run a version from before they started deliberately inhibiting running on Wine, but apart from FlightSim there is usually a better 3rd party app to do the same job.

              And who knows, eventually ReactOS may work as well as the real thing.

              1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

                Re: @vincent himpe

                I've upvoted you, and as I posted above I have a couple of homebrew apps written in Delphi on Windows and running under WINE. However, whilst "there is usually a better 3rd party app to do the same job" do not forget the switching cost - both time and money.

              2. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

                Re: @vincent himpe

                MS will kill reactOS

                1. bombastic bob Silver badge

                  Re: @vincent himpe

                  I wish ReactOS worked well enough for them to even CARE about killing it...

              3. bombastic bob Silver badge

                Re: @vincent himpe

                Sadly, my experience with Wine has been far less than successful...

                7 still works for me as well, when windows is required.

            2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

              Re: @not Irrelevant

              Wine (s/w not drinking) is getting better though. I have a couple of database apps using Delphi that run fine on Linux Mint Cinnamon.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You didn't read the article, but if you're suggesting that Microsoft is sleazy and will move these requirements to all OS versions... no comment.

      However, this is for the people who sleep with MS embroidered pillows and have stints around their necks to disallow a change of vision. It's for the insiders build (for now at least).

      Let's be real for a second. If you're running the "Insider's Pro" version of Microsoft anything, odds are you don't want to understand anything about a computer, don't want to have to use a computer and are the type who isn't of technical or analytical mind. So of course you'll need that internet connection to give Microsoft control of your computer because, you can't. Sounds crazy but, I agree with Microsoft... they shouldn't be allowed to use computers.

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge

        The more you tighten your grip, the more systems will slip through your fingers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Love the reference, but I'm not sure if I'm living on Tatooine or Alderaan (although lately the weather has been more like Hoth).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @badflorist - Exactly!

        Let's be real!

        And yes, not only it sounds crazy, it is crazy that you agree with MS on this matter.

        Just a friendly warning, insulting those puny, feeble minded Reg readers who, unlike you, fail to see the (MS) light&wisdom is considered bad manner on this forum.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >However, this is for the people who sleep with MS embroidered pillows

        Today? Debatable

        Tomorrow? It'll be the standard build they push out for everyone.

        Don't talk about it like it doesn't matter - it'll be the norm in 6 months.

  2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge


    and nope. And nope again.

    1. X5-332960073452

      Re: Nope

      Apologies for the thread hijack, but there is a way (at least for Home version, @ 10th Feb 22)

      During setup, at the Network Connection prompt, shift + F10 (opens command prompt)

      taskmgr (runs Task Manager)

      Find and kill "Network Connection Flow"

      Bingo - local user account creation dialogue

      You'll then need, Explorer Patcher and Open Shell to make Win 11 useable

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nope

      The other way is to install Windows 10 using a local account, lock down privacy settings, then do an in-place upgrade to Windows 11.


      Lock down all the privacy settings and the privacy settings not under privacy, some are under security settings, the lock screen settings, and the notification settings. Remove Bing search through Windows Search using regedit*. Install your favourite browser other than Bing, and make it the default.

      Then do an in-place upgrade to Windows 11, retaining personal files and apps.

      Privacy Settings from Win10 should then carry through to Windows 11, and your default browser chosen in Windows 10, will be the default still.

      *More info on the web, how to add this (at your own risk, may break with future updates).



      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: Nope

        See also O&O ShutUp10++. Now with added 11.

      2. Maventi

        Re: Nope

        And they say that desktop Linux is complicated!

  3. Omnipresent Bronze badge

    we are all slaves now.

    get off the computer. only connect to the web from older macs. its the only way to remain free. don't trust the newer macs. the problem is they have indoctrinated the younger generation with video games and gambling. This is what happens when you lock everyone inside and put them on a computer, we become vulnerable as a society. welcome to the end times.

    1. Omnipresent Bronze badge

      Re: we are all slaves now.

      a thought just occurred to me... el reg should utilize its power by doing a linux/unix poll and discussion about which versions of linux/unix everyone uses. If we are able to centralize the majority of users on a version, it might be encouraging to developers.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: we are all slaves now.

        I think the issue is that various distributions tend to just say "We're doing X now" without any real consultation, and no real tangible benefits to the Linux ecosystem as a whole. Which then splinters their user base even further.

        One such thing would be the use of Snap to install software on to our machines. Ubuntu, bless them, have gone all in with it. Linux Mint, quite rightly, abstained from such a decision. Ubuntu have form remember, with Unity, and have since dropped that altogether to go back to Gnome which they wanted to get away from in the first place.

        What needs to happen, and to some respects does happen, is that an application should be installed regardless of the version or flavour of Linux it's being installed on. There are several applications that are available on the "Snap" store, but not as a .deb or through the command line using apt without having to jump through several hoops.

        And that's all before we get on to the systemd bullshit.

        1. PriorKnowledge

          Too true, you still have to pick your poison

          Fedora/RHEL rips out key features for legal reasons despite them not being an issue for others

          ClearLinux and openSUSE are in a similar boat to Fedora, making them unsuitable for use

          Debian wont issue DSAs for local exploits of end user apps and until recently had unpatched browsers

          ArchLinux patches everything to upstream but a lot of software is AUR-only, which is a security risk

          Ubuntu is fine but only if you use main/restricted packages and avoid snaps/universe/multiverse

          Snap and Flatpak are not the way to go because they causes more issues than they solve, in that you now increase your RAM use, decrease integration and still get backwards compatibility issues... not to mention introducing the "third party vs. first party" update problem.

          What needs to happen is a culling of distros and a merging of efforts, but that looks unlikely.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Too true, you still have to pick your poison

            I'm pretty sure that "legal reasons" are pretty important if you have money that people can sue you for.

            Software patents are still a thing in the real world. Don't expect to get your HEVC/VVC video codecs without paying for them (at least from a reputable source).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @wolfetone - Re: we are all slaves now.

          Yeah, like Microsoft is consulting you or anybody else. However, unlike Windows, you are free to build your own distribution, the way you like it.

          In case you didn't know, Linux Mint and others object to Ubuntu's grip on Snap repositories, not the Snap packaging itself.

      2. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: we are all slaves now.

        > which versions of linux/unix everyone uses

        Whatever it might be, I'm afraid it won't attract "developers", because open source unpaid ones only work for the pleasure of it no matter the target audience, and commercial corporations are (mis)guided by their bean counters and marketing goons who only know one single trick, attempting to copy past successes. Which means Microsoft: Windows versions did sell way better than any non-existent Linux ones, so Windows it will be, for ever and ever.

        Unless maybe if Linux becomes mainstream and Windows a declining niche, but that's not going to happen anytime soon no matter how much the Windows experience deteriorates. Microsoft has already chased away everyone who wasn't willing to accept the Win8 fiasco, the remaining ones will follow it to the bitter end no matter how much Windows deteriorates, and Microsoft knows this.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: we are all slaves now.

          Microsoft has already chased away everyone who wasn't willing to accept the Win8 fiasco, the remaining ones will follow it to the bitter end no matter how much Windows deteriorates, and Microsoft knows this.

          I completely skipped the Win8 fiasco, but Win11 seems unlikely to be installed on any computer I control. I still am at Win10, but as it now looks, that will the last version of Windows, just like Microsoft promised. And I doubt I am the only one.

        2. randomprecision

          Re: we are all slaves now.

          I think people will be convinced once excellent compatibility between different Linux versions and especially Windows. The computer is used as a tool to most people, not as a preputial science experiment. Sure, the alternatives can get closer to the original every day, but I've taken the stance that if Linux can't beat them, try to join their program library. It would benefit everyone in the end.

          Sincerely, your local idiot still high on painkillers

      3. JassMan

        Re: we are all slaves now.

        In spite of all the naysayers between here and the post by Omnipresent, there could still be value in finding out which flavours are the most liked. Developers tend to write for whatever flavour they are using at the time and generally are open to switching if they can see advantages in doing so. I certainly think Ubuntu have lost their way with putting virtually everything into snaps and flatpaks. Thank <deity-of-choice> for Mint and its derivatives. I tried the latest Ubuntu for 1 day and decided they were trying to out-bloat Windows.

        I find that apps packaged in .deb seem to generally work in Mint regardless of which other flavour they were designed for, as long as they have a proper dependency list built in. I have always wondered why no-one has written a VirtualFlavor (similar to a VM) shim, to allow users to run apps written with alternative libraries to run, if the target machine is a completely different family. A lot of the functionality already exists within Python and Qt to allow for different versions to exist on one machine. This would save a lot of memory (and probably disk space) compared to flatpak, snap etc.

        Any survey should also have a like/dislike/meh option for various aspects of the chosen flavour such as systemd, gnome, gtk, qt etc.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This week I was looking to buy a new big PC to get the bus bandwidth and GPU power needed for some 3D development applications. I realised that W7 wouldn't be HW compatible - so W11 looked inevitable. This M$ announcement means that the new PC will be Linux only - and W7 will still run my legacy applications.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      A windows 7 VM is jolly useful for this sort of thing, so long as you don't need fancy graphics in it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I have several Core i7 desktops that can run my W7 load. Unfortunately the motherboards are PCIe 2.0 - so no upgrade path to support some of the 3D modelling capture applications' GPU specs. A new big PC would be an extravagance for just this limited need - but as a friend has said "you can't take it with you".

    2. Jim-234

      I was able to get Windows 7 running just fine on a Dell Precision Tower 7920 with Dual Xeon Scalable processors and booting from a PCIe NVMe drive.

      So it can be done, it's just a lot more work getting everything setup fine and such initially.

      1. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

        Very impressive! I'd love to hear all the details.

    3. ChrisC Silver badge

      Recently bought a new laptop that came with W11 Home, and had I not been able to find a workaround to stop it requiring a MS login to complete the setup, then that's as far as my foray into the world of W11 would have gone (I didn't just want to nuke it immediately, as I figured this'd be a good opportunity to see just how good/bad it really is in daily use) and I'd have been setting up a USB stick with a Linux installer...

      It's one thing to require an internet connection during startup, to help pull in the latest updates there and then, but quite another to also require signing into *any* sort of account, let alone a specific type of account that many of us won't already have and don't particularly want.

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        My experience with Win10 home was that several people were 'unable to find a workaround' to stop it requiring a MS login, in that it specifically asked for a MS login.

        They may have started enforcing the requirement with Win11. With Win10, it was just that the guidance was one-sided.

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          With W10 Home you have to make sure that when you do the setup the computer does not have an internet connection - and repeatedly confirm this. It will then let you create a local account. If it can see the internet, it'll insist on an MS account.

          Not sure whether this workaround is available on W11 - not got around to trying it (but I suspect not!)

    4. usbac Silver badge

      Just this week I bought my wife a new laptop. It came with Windows 11. I didn't even boot into 11, I just plugged in a thumb drive and loaded Mint.

      No more new Windows machines in our household. I still have a few Windows 7 PCs, but once they are not useful anymore, they will get replaced with Linux PCs.

      I just sent my 83 year old father in law a new laptop. He had a fairly new Dell with Windows 10, and he was so sick of the constant updates and forced reboots, that he stopped using it altogether. He told us that Windows 10 took all of the joy out of having a computer. His new laptop has Mint on it, and he really loves it. He is the most non-technical user you could find, and he finds Mint much easier to use than Windows. I was even able to get his favorite games to run in Wine.

      I'm not some Linux zealot. I've made my career as a Windows network admin, but Windows is no longer fit for purpose as an Operating System.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        re: Windows is no longer fit for purpose

        That is exactly the conclusion that I came to when W10 was released in 2016. I guessed then that the telemetry was only the tip of the iceberg.

        I have a W7 VM that I run perhaps one every three or four months other than that I'm Windows and Microsoft free.

        My family and friends are getting increasingly pissed off with the time it takes for updates to be applied. By contract, I powered up an old Mac Mini today that hasn't been on since last August. It runs Alma Linix. The update took 26 minutes to apply. That sort of time is what you expect from most Linux Distros.

        Windows is not fit for purpose but... I'd better stop now before I start to rant.

        1. Jakester

          Re: re: Windows is no longer fit for purpose

          ... and sometimes the Edge and One-Drive installation/updates that occur on every startup can run for hours taking 95-100% of the cpu resources the entire time. This is even if you don't use Edge or One-Drive. Sometimes rebooting the system will temporarily 'fix' the problem.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: Windows is no longer fit for purpose

          Not just the time, the latest Feb 2022 cumulative update requires a bare minimum of 3GB of free space. I look at it and think of how fantastic BBC Micros were, and they worked with 32KB of memory.

          Really not sure any of this is progress any more.

      2. JimboSmith Silver badge

        I’m in the same camp but my issue was Windows 10 and the insistence on a Microsoft account to install Firefox and Thunderbird. I just didn’t want to give them the info they required to set a Windows account up. I would have stuck with the Windows 10 that came pre installed on the laptop. I just didn’t want a Microsoft account, although I was happy to give internet access when setting the machine up.

        I’ve been using Windows for years and still do so at work with two computers at home still using it although not connected to anything (and one is dual boot). For me Windows 8 was where everything started to go wrong with the OS GUI. The red X tricking you into ‘upgrading’ to Windows 8. Once you were upgraded there were now two different places things could run not one. The TIFKAM screen for apps and the Desktop for programs. The lack of a hierarchical menu structure added to the problem. Microsoft seemed determined to make changes that would work in a touch environment whether you had a touchscreen or not. Sinofsky seemed to brush off all the criticism of the interface before and after it was released. The smart money was on the return to a traditional GUI with a start button in the next version. This then came to pass with Windows 10. They had a collection of apps built for Windows Phone which was touch, so it would have seemed sensible to make Win. 8 compatible with those apps. They didn’t and we all know what happened to the phone division. I still have a Windows phone, a 1033 which I use for the rather good camera.

        I’m all for Microsoft but they make these decisions seemingly without checking to see how popular they’ll be. Years ago I was installing some software and you had register/authenticate this on the internet. They however realised that you might not ever have/nor want this machine connected to the web. Therefore they had a system that allowed for this and you copied the codes over manually. Yes it was a little bit of extra work but on an airgapped machine it solved a lot of problems.

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          >my issue was Windows 10 and the insistence on a Microsoft account to install Firefox and Thunderbird.

          Wait, what? Can you explain further?

          I am running Windows 10 here, typing this in Firefox with Thunderbird installed, and I haven't had to create a Microsoft account. Local login, with Firefox set as the default browser and Thunderbird tied to my Gmail inbox via POP3.

          Not disbelieving you or anything, but I am puzzled!

          1. JimboSmith Silver badge

            Wait, what? Can you explain further?

            I am running Windows 10 here, typing this in Firefox with Thunderbird installed, and I haven't had to create a Microsoft account. Local login, with Firefox set as the default browser and Thunderbird tied to my Gmail inbox via POP3.

            Not disbelieving you or anything, but I am puzzled!

            Things have changed now thankfully but……………At the time I had bought my first Windows 10 laptop and was looking to install these Mozilla programs they were not available on the Windows Store. To be able to install programs that weren’t available on the aforementioned store you had to come out of ‘S mode’.

            Switch out of S mode

            To do this Microsoft requires you run something from the Microsoft Store first. This allowed you to do ditch S mode quite happily, but you had to have a Microsoft account to do so as you had to get it from the store and that app required an account to be downloaded.

            Disable S mode without a Microsoft account not possible

            I spent a while trying to circumvent this to no avail and became quite frustrated that I couldn’t.

            Subsequently in June 2019 Thunderbird and then towards the start of November last year Firefox appeared in the Windows Store. As this post from Mozilla points out:

            As of today, Firefox desktop is the first major browser to become available in the Windows Store for Windows 10 and Windows 11 users. Previously, if you were on Windows and wanted to use Firefox, you had to download it from the internet and go through a clunky process from Microsoft. Now that Microsoft has changed its Store policies, choosing Firefox as your desktop browser is even more seamless – and it comes with all the latest Firefox features.


            1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

              Thanks for the explanation, it looks like you had the wrong type of Windows 10 Home installation. You should have gone for Windows 10 Home instead of for Windows 10 Home S. That way you would have avoided all problems. A fresh installation with the correct version would have solved your problem.

              1. JimboSmith Silver badge

                Thanks for the explanation, it looks like you had the wrong type of Windows 10 Home installation. You should have gone for Windows 10 Home instead of for Windows 10 Home S. That way you would have avoided all problems. A fresh installation with the correct version would have solved your problem.

                Yeah well that’s what was supplied on the laptop and there wasn’t any supplied media, as is normal nowadays. Sadly life’s too short, I needed the laptop up and running asap and Mint seemed obvious as I had it on a memory stick.

                1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                  Pretty obvious yes.

                  One time I used the pre-installed version of Windows on the laptop to download Windows Installation Media Creator and created a Windows installer on a memory stick and used that to wipe that bloated installation. Luckily there are now more laptops at home.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            He’s right, MSFT were trying to emulate Apple and their App Store. It was and still is a PITA to install software MSFT haven’t got in their “store” unless you have a MSFT account.

          3. bombastic bob Silver badge

            maybe he did not manage to get past the strong-arming for setting up the admin user... it was 2 or 3 hoops as I recall, cancel this, a complaint, and an "are you sure" or whatever. It's unnecessarily painful and not entirely obvious how to make it happen.

            Or, hopefully he was not trying to run a "The Store" version of FF or TBird... (that would explain it).

      3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        I'm with you.

        Linux Mint and an XP VM for stuff that has to be on Windows. I use it only rarely. Mint serves my needs just fine.

        Work supplies me with a Windows laptop for their tools, but my personal work is all done on Mint.

    5. Wade Burchette

      I found a workaround for my new Windows 11 Home laptop. During the initial setup, you have to connect to a network. If it is WiFi, simply uncheck the box that says "connect automatically". If it is ethernet, simply remove the wire after it reboots. When the initial setup starts after the reboot, you can create a local account only. But it is still the same annoying steps that were in Windows 10 -- you have to click on a hard-to-see phrase "I don't have internet".

      I am sure Microsoft will take away that workaround. So be prepared for a temporary one-time sign-in with a Microsoft account, followed by a series of "net user /add LocalAccount MyPassword" then "net localgroup administrators LocalAccount /add" commands. You can then login your new non-spying account and remove the one that is profitable for Microsoft.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. PriorKnowledge
    Thumb Up


    I notice that El Reg updated their article to say Internet Connection as opposed to Microsoft Account needed. Good. Ars has it wrong but you have it right. I have tested the latest preview myself and can confirm local accounts can still be created (Use Domain Join: but this new requirement still sets a chilling precedent.

    I'd rather have the shitness of Wayland/Xorg than the shitness of being forced online to be spied on. It looks like LTSC 2022 will be the final stopgap for my gaming PC until Linux is ready in a few years to come.

    (and no, Linux really isn't ready yet for running legacy Windows games but it's very very close)

    1. Omnipresent Bronze badge

      Re: Truth.

      fantastic post.

    2. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: Truth.

      Domain Join is only an option in Pro, not Home.

  7. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    I think the reason for requiring an MS account is the same as the way they're pushing Edge so hard... they feel that with the antitrust case so far behind them they can start trying to destroy all the other players in the market again. I'm not sure that, long term, this is such a sensible strategy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Zippy´s Sausage Factory - The strategy

      doesn't have to be sensible, all it has is to be profitable.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: @Zippy´s Sausage Factory - The strategy

        doesn't have to be sensible, all it has is to be profitable.

        and/or manipulative, controlling, monetizing of your privacy

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Well considering Egde is effectively Chrome with a skin, it would be very hard to rule it as anticompetative.

  8. R.O.

    "They said..."

    They said telemetry and surveillance in developer versions for W8 and W10 were temporary. They were flat wrong.

    MS gets multi-billions of dollars in revenue from corporate and government accounts all over the world. They don't need personal home users for revenue at all, except as ad data collection targets and to satisfy fee based government surveillance mandates.

    Sure, MS will lose a handful of users to Apple, Linux and what not, but....the barrel or corporate and agency users will stay full to the top.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      R.O. - Re: "They said..."

      The main (and only) goal of a capitalist company is to make profit and the CEO is legally bound to maximize the value of the company so you can't say Microsoft does not need home users for revenue. Their goal is to extract revenue from every single PC user using Windows and Linux. Only revenue from Mac users will be left to Apple.

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: R.O. - "They said..."

        bit of a myth there

        The only legal duty of the directors is to not allow the company to commit fraud while trading.

        There's no legal duty for them to ensure a profit is made.

        (of course the shareholders wont be happy... unless they're happy the company makes a loss)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: R.O. - "They said..."

          Apparently, it's a myth strong enough that legal decisions are following it:

          So maybe once upon a time it was a myth, but it became very real.

  9. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    No way that will make it to the general public

    Not without a lawsuit, that is.

    Tying the installation of an OS to having a proprietary online account is veering straight into monopolistic behavior . . . again.

    As usual Borkzilla is confusing itself with a black hole. The difference is, there's nothing a judge can do against a black hole.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Pascal Monett - Re: No way that will make it to the general public

      I wouldn't hold my breath.

      In order to sue MS for monopolistic behaviour, you will need to proof their tactics are causing harm to the competition. So, who's being hurt by this ? Besides that, MS lawyers will tell the court they're doing it to increase security of home PCs, preventing hacker attacks on public infrastructure, think of the children and so on. Who can possibly oppose such good deeds ?

      Probably in a decade or less, all PCs will be nothing more than dumb terminals attached to MS cloud services. And WSL will make sure Linux users will be forced to login with a MS account too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: proof of harm

        Is very, very difficult to prove as Sarah Palin found out this week in an NYC court. She failed in her quest to sue the NY times out of existence.

        One day someone will be able to prove that the behaviour of MS did cause harm. Until then just bend over and take it like the rest of us.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: No way that will make it to the general public

      veering straight into monopolistic behavior

      I was thinking more like "veering into SUBSCRIPTION ONLY" or to INCREASE TRACKING AND SPYING ON YOU (so that you are ALWAYS online when using your computer and *THEY* can see what you're doing and log it for marketing and profit).

      So, for now, raise the temperature of the water the soon-to-be-boiled frogs are in another few degrees. Let's see if they start hopping out... and make adjustments as needed to keep MOST of them in!!!

      (then rinse/repeat until they are OWNED with SUBSCRIPTION and INVASIVE SPYING/TRACKING, MUAHAHAHAHAHA!)

      So, how long before we have a convoy of computers showing up in Redmond ??? How "draconian" could Micros~1 get if we collectively REFUSE to play their game any more? Or insist that they provide us with an OS that *WE* control (and NOT abandon the older ones)??

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The Pro versions of Windows haven't been so in my eyes since Windows 7. Because as soon as the supposedly professional version of Windows 10 came with Candy crush and all the ads plastered over the start menu it no longer was a pro version in other than its name.

    I can't comment about 8 pro as never tried it for more than 30 seconds after seeing the stupid whole screen start menu I removed it and went back to 7.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Well, the strategy is clearly giving less for more and reminding people that it's their way or the highway.

      It's a de facto monopoly, even if there are two other players out there; But they aren't freely interchangeable. You can't simply decide which OS you'll use like you chose what model car you'll drive.

    2. david 12 Silver badge

      The pro versions provide Active Directory / Domain enrollment. If you don't want that, you don't want the pro version. If you were buying the pro version for some other reason, well, I guess you're the target for Candy Crush.

      1. 43300 Silver badge

        Bitlocker as well - that was Enterprice/Ultimate only in W7 but went into Pro from 8. Think 11 might have Bitlocker in Home but only with an MS account...

        Pro also integrates with other Microsoft services - some which are domain-dependant (such as WSUS), plus newer cloudy services which use Azure AD - e.g. Intune.

        Candy Crush was mentioned, but WTF does 11 Pro have that consumer chat program (helpfully called 'Teams') installed by default and pinned to the taskbar? I've not yet investigated whether it can be removed with a GPO - not in any hurry to roll out W11 so haven't tested in depth or looked for workarounds for the worst stupidities.

        1. david 12 Silver badge

          Yes, MS is targeted at Home and Enterprise now: the one gets home-user applications, and the other does scripted rollouts with planned configurations.

          The small-business user has to uninstall the crap by hand, but small-business is a niche MS is willing to surrender to Linux.

      2. bastet

        There are power users out there that love to RDP into their machines much like we Linux power users like to ssh into our machines. And if that is only possible with the pro version then these people need that. Simple as that.

  11. DevOpsTimothyC

    Dev/insider builds...

    As these are insider builds for development purposes, wouldn't people need a M$ account anyway to get access to them?

    Perhaps it's just me being thick but so long as it's only the dev/insider (and not the regularly shipped version) what's the problem?

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Dev/insider builds...

      > so long as it's only the dev/insider (and not the regularly shipped version) what's the problem?

      Apparently it's that dev/insider versions prefigure what the main versions will eventually become, so there is a chance this is a sign of things to come.

  12. trifle7
    Big Brother

    It's for your own good and you should want it to be too...

    "While there is much to be gained from a Microsoft account..."

    A jest perhaps? 'Gainful' in the sense of hotmail & skype?

    Never thought to read a comment such as this on El Reg...

    "...forcing it upon users leaves a bad taste. "

    That's an understatement, if ever there was. The reprehensible Product Activation (since XP) put everyone on notice of the shape of things to come; yet it now seems the majority are resigned, if not conditioned, to accept such behaviour.

    Sad, very sad.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: It's for your own good and you should want it to be too...

      I was bemused by the suggestion One Drive is a benefit.

      At work, where it's used to corporate purposes and the company incurs all the risks? Sure.

      At home? It's a blatant attack vector against my privacy. Not happening.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's for your own good and you should want it to be too...

        Corporate purposes? Corporate have decided One Drive is for backing up your work PC yet you can't even store a couple of source trees on your hard drive without it barfing as there are too many files.

        1. FIA Silver badge

          Re: It's for your own good and you should want it to be too...

          Surely your source trees are under source control?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's for your own good and you should want it to be too...

            Local changes to the tree need to be backed up too otherwise they're lost.

            1. that one in the corner Silver badge

              Re: It's for your own good and you should want it to be too..

              You are committing frequently into your development branch, aren't you?

              (and that commit isn't just going into a locally held repository, is it?)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: It's for your own good and you should want it to be too..

                I usually commit when the ticket/feature is completed instead of committing half-complete work which stops other people compiling if they update or revert their source tree. Also, some work might never be committed as it's just a test or it might be dropped from the roadmap.

                I do hope we're not trying to argue that working around OneDrive's deficiencies by inconveniencing the people I work with is okay. The source tree isn't my daily backup so it shouldn't be used like one.

                1. bombastic bob Silver badge

                  Re: It's for your own good and you should want it to be too..

                  The problems you describe are generally solved by each developer having his own sandbox branch, then do something similar to "pull request" (i.e. what github does, others vary in the terms they might use, no doubt) to merge them back into the main branch (or make one big mass edit with a merge tool, whichever works).

                  Seriously you need to reconsider your source control management strategy, based on your description...

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: It's for your own good and you should want it to be too..

                    We are a multinational corporation with x end customers and each end customer gets a new release every few months depending on their business needs. There is centralised control over releases as there are only three releases we're interested it any point in time - what's in live, what's going to be rolled out to live and is bring currently tested, and what's coming after that.

                    If something goes wrong in live, we need the live release, not some private special copy. If something needs to be tested, we all need to be singing from the same hymn sheet, we can't test features is isolation and assume the whole thing is going to work. If something is being added to the dev release we can't develop against 50 slightly different branches.

                    A thousand flowers do not bloom, they are pruned with extreme prejudice. That's why svn is a good fit and why git is not. We can still check out as many times as is necessary to local but whatever we do we still all need to agree on the starting point.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: It's for your own good and you should want it to be too..

                      Sorry you're holding it wrong (although that should be 'wrongly' or 'incorrectly')

                      We do the similar things in terms of releases.

                      There is nothing in SVN you can't do in git - except perhaps to easily remember all the options available. So get a good git client - Tortoise, Kraken, Sourcetree, Fork whatever.

                      Source control and release management is mainly process not tools.

                      Though a good choice of tools can simplify things enormously. Have a look at things such as gitlab and others - they are so much more than just git or svn.

  13. Blackjack Silver badge

    Is like there was a meeting in Microsoft and someone said "Hey how could we make people not use Windows 11?"

  14. Electronics'R'Us


    There are a lot of systems that never connect to any network.

    I have a few of them at the current job and these are not allowed anywhere near the corporate network (a lot of reasons) so it looks like when the time comes to replace them, it certainly won't be Win11. I regularly get the 'pro' version as it does not require an internet connection to get the system up and running which is precisely what my internal customers want.

    Those few that are permitted access to the network are on a switch with a firewall that prevents access beyond the internal network.

    Most of these are dedicated automated test equipment control boxes so IT doesn't want to know when we need replacement systems as most corporate rules would prevent them from doing their assigned tasks so they cannot get a 'standard' corporate build.

    Looks like I will be migrating those over to a Linux distro of some description when the time comes for replacements. There will be a bit of short term pain (migrating some code that drives the equipment).

    I really need to set up a test box or two to see if the heavy duty stuff from National Instruments (LabVIEW) will work under Wine.

    Ah - it appears that I can simply migrate the licenses as it is supported for some distributions natively.

  15. karlkarl Silver badge

    I actually jumped off the Microsoft treadmill at Windows XP because from their early WPA I predicted this is their ultimate end game.

    It was always going to be their goal and they have been slowly eroding the concept of clean, deterministic, offline usage for a while now. This is why Windows has the most ad-hoc terrible update system compared to Linux package managers and macOS Combo updates.

    But... honestly this is a good thing; people will now need to decide if this is acceptable to them. It might cause users to finally break away and find feasible alternatives.

    Most likely we will simply see a more substantial crack that not only emulates a KMS server but also a user profile server.

  16. alain williams Silver badge

    Illegal under the GDPR

    The GDPR has several things to say about this.

    * Right to be informed Does MS say what it does with the personal info, how long it keeps it, etc, and be concise, transparent, intelligible, easily accessible, and it must use clear and plain language ?

    * necessary Why is this data necessary for the PC to work? It has not until now, so what has changed ?

    The EU might take MS to court - but until then MS may refuse to let your PC work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Illegal under the GDPR

      The best thing would be to ban the sales of Windows 11 until it was compliant.

      That would focus minds :-)

  17. DS999 Silver badge

    It isn't practical to roll this out to consumer versions

    There are too many people who simply don't have an internet connection, what's Microsoft going to do drop them as customers? Not to mention stuff like GDPR in the EU that might make this sort of thing illegal (I've given up trying to guess what it requires, and even those who live under that law can't seem to agree what it does or does not allow) Even if it is OK today, what if the EU or India pass a law tomorrow that bans it?

    They'll just put the login front and center and figure most people will comply, and the rest will figure out there's a "skip" button or it'll require putting in some sort of credentials and allow bypassing it when it isn't able to connect to the internet which will be the workaround all Reg readers use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @DS999 - Re: It isn't practical to roll this out to consumer versions

      Microsoft is everything but stupid. Who's going to use a Windows PC without Internet ? What would be the use cases ? No email, no Internet browsing, no games, nothing. In case you didn't notice, you can no longer buy a piece of software on physical media.

      Microsoft is aiming for the complete control of your PC and they will get it pretty soon. Why ? I can't think of something else besides money.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: @DS999 - It isn't practical to roll this out to consumer versions

        I use a Windows VM to run Windows software. I do my email and surfing from Linux, including downloading Windows ISOs from Microsoft for when I need to throw together a test box.

        The use-case is getting my job done while staying in control of the PC.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: @DS999 - It isn't practical to roll this out to consumer versions

        Who's going to use a Windows PC without Internet ?

        a) accounting packages (may need local LAN access but not internet, generally)

        b) desktop publishing

        c) 3D printing

        d) software development (if you do not have a cloudy repo like github that is)

        e) media production

        and so on. None of these require internet access. Constant "check for updates" is HIGHLY overrated. And we're not just a bunch of "content consumers".

        (my windows 7 machine NEVER surfs the internet. e-mail displays as plain text only)

  18. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    This isn’t just a privacy matter

    This pisses me off because not everyone wants to set up a corporate account - we look after users who just want to use their computers with no Microsoft account, and we have users who have a corporate account (Microsoft 365) but don’t want to sign in with it because that means having to use MFA and have an app running on their phone to set it up the first time.

    We set up the PCs for them, and then when they lose their app, or their phone, or change their login and leave the company, the account is hard to get into.

    If the customer doesn’t have Microsoft 365, then we would have to set the PC up with a dummy personal Microsoft account. More work, more stuff to go wrong, and more MFA fuckery.

    What Microsoft don’t seem to understand is that not everybody works for a large corporation. In smaller companies, people share laptops, they share logins and they need to get into each other’s computers. It isn’t a security issue, it’s just people sharing resources. This whole ‘forcing people to use a Microsoft login’ thing is not always the right way to go. Sometimes a computer is a shared tool. Forcing people to use a Microsoft login will make the computer only usable for that one person or force the issue and make computers have multiple logins.

    Ah, they just want to sell more Microsoft 365 accounts.

  19. Jason Hindle

    This could make life awkward for virtualisation

    Last time I created a Windows 11 VM, it seemed Parallels wouldn’t provide network connectivity until after Parallels tools had been installed. So, possible Chicken and Egg alert.

  20. xyz123 Silver badge

    OSX / MacOS also requires an internet connection (just to be able to install apps).

    But no-one seems to be complaining that Apple can see what apps you have installed, what apps you've sideloaded and what applications you're currently using.

    Somehow they get away with a full-on NSA level audit in real time of every single mac. (Hence how they can remotely decide to uninstall software and you're given no choice to prevent this).

    1. VicMortimer Silver badge

      No, it doesn't. There's even an option during setup where you can tell macOS that it does not have an internet connection.

      And you can absolutely install apps, you just can't use the Apple app store. And since virtually every app is available outside of the app store, you won't have a problem.

      And no, there's no audit ("NSA level" or otherwise). There's a malware list that has a few specific things on it. And of course if you don't have an internet connection you won't even get that.

    2. karlkarl Silver badge

      As of yet, macOS does not require you to be online to wipe / reinstall the machine.

      I do think it is coming though:

      "First, make sure your Mac is connected to the internet."

      "A bootable installer doesn't download macOS from the internet, but it does require an internet connection to get firmware and other information specific to the Mac model."

      As of yet (I just ran though this yesterday), Apple seem to be full of sh*t and it works fine offline. However their documentation could be prepared for future editions. They mentioned that machine specific firmware needs to be fetched (which is odd to be missing this off an 8gb iso!) so perhaps this is their angle when they do bring in the DRM crap?

      Just crap all round. Use Linux or BSD. They are crap too but at least they are future-proof.

  21. steviebuk Silver badge

    If this moves to release

    Then expect Windows 11 to become a dead duck.

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: If this moves to release

      Enterprise installers, and home users, do have internet connections and MS accounts. People installing without internet connections are (1) Not enterprise, or (2) not advertising targets.

      If this moves to release, expect MS to not care about the non-revenue-stream users they loose.

      1. karlkarl Silver badge

        Re: If this moves to release

        "Enterprise installers, [...], do have internet connections"

        No they don't. When preparing an image to flash around the network, this is typically done on an offline VM to keep the process deterministic.

        At the very least it will be impossible for the admin account to be a consumer Microsoft account. Microsoft will block that account once a 1000 corporate PCs boot and connect with that one consumer account.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: If this moves to release

      Dead duck? Sadly, no.

      The froggy has not boiled, yet. (but Micros~1 keeps turning up the heat)

  22. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    fscking hell im sticking with xp

  23. Neoc

    "Making users unable to set up without an internet connection or a Microsoft account is more than a little annoying (even if the intent is as innocent as pulling down updates)."

    The last two times I set up a laptop using Win10 with MSA the poor things could only see the Windows devices on my home network. Kill the network connection, re-install with a local account, and all of a sudden I can see my NASes and Linux fileservers.

    Yep, if MS tries to force this down my throat I just might have to see how good Linux has become at running the last few pieces of software I use that require Windows.

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