Your guide to a better future
Before you install Microsoft’s latest OS, there’s a couple things you have to do.
Alison DeNisco Rayome
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a managing editor at CNET, now covering home topics after writing about services and software. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
began rolling out in October and brings a and , including , easy and . Microsoft included a few Mac-like features and the ability to .
But there are a few catches to downloading the new operating system. For starters, . And before you download, you’ll need a . However, users can (here’s first so you can download Windows 11). But if you’re setting up a Windows 11 Home account — which most people using it on a personal device will be — there are a few extra steps you’ll have to take before accessing the new features.
We’ll break down everything you need to know before downloading Windows 11, including to make sure you meet the new requirements. And here’s what to know if you’re thinking of . This story was recently updated.
You’ll need to create a free Microsoft account before you download Windows 11.
To set up Windows 11 Home, you’ll need a Microsoft account, which gives you access to Microsoft products and services. Don’t worry — it’s free to create one.
In the past, it was possible to opt out of creating a Microsoft account and use a local one instead (though the process wasn’t intuitive). It appears that with Windows 11, you will need to create a Microsoft account to get started. After that point, you can delete your Microsoft account and sign in with a local account if you’d like, and this won’t impact how you use the OS — but you won’t be able to sync content across multiple devices. A Microsoft account also allows easier transferring from your old PC to a new one, and more options for signing in.
Windows 11 Pro and the version built for enterprise use will not require people to sign in to Microsoft accounts.
Here’s how to create a free Microsoft account as Windows 11 rolls out:
1. Go to account.microsoft.com, and click Sign in.
2. Tap Create one to make a new account. (If you already have an account, you can sign in here.)
3. Enter your email address. Or, if you’d rather create a new email address through Microsoft (which will appear as @outlook.com), click Get a new email address, enter what you’d like, and click Next.
4. Create a password, and click Next.
5. Enter your country/region and date of birth, and click Next.
6. Check your email for a verification code, and click Next.
You need to have an internet connection to set up Windows 11.
To download Windows 11 Home (and to create a Microsoft account), you’ll also need to be connected to the internet. The reason for this is that Windows 11 will primarily be delivered as a Windows Update, much like have been.
You’ll also need the internet to perform future updates and to take advantage of some of the new , according to Microsoft.
This requirement may pose a problem for those who lack easy internet access. However, after you connect for the initial setup, you don’t have to connect again if you don’t want to (though you should to get important security updates that prevent vulnerabilities).
If you’re downloading Windows 11 on your current computer, just make sure you’re connected to the internet before you start the process. If you buy a new Windows 11 computer after the OS is generally released, you should be prompted to connect to the internet when you’re setting it up.
For more, check out , everything to know about and .
Your guide to a better future