How to skip the "Sign in to your Microsoft account" screen when setting up Windows 8.1

No Microsoft online account? No problem. But Windows 8.1 makes it seem like it's required

windows8 booting 640x481 By Microsoft (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

When you're upgrading to Windows 8.1 (or if you ever need to reinstall Windows 8.1), you may come across a seemingly impossible screen to get past, the "Sign into your Microsoft Account" screen. What do you do if you do not want to use a Microsoft account to proceed?

Clicking Next repeatedly doesn't do anything. And the only other options are to "Create an account" or view the "Privacy statement."

Creating or signing on with a Microsoft account connects your computer with your online Microsoft.com account, so your computer settings and apps could be synced across all your Microsoft devices. But many people prefer just the regular local computer account sign on, rather than this internet-based one.

It's frustratingly not intuitive, but in this case, you should click the "Create an account" link and at the bottom of that screen, choose "use existing account," which logs you in with the local account you set up in Windows 8 or earlier. 

This is just poor user experience and UI design. "Create an account" under "Sign in with a Microsoft account" suggests you're going to create a new Microsoft account--not uncover the hidden use a local account option.

It's not just Microsoft, though. I had a similar experience calling my credit card to change travel reservations made through them and the only options were "Make a travel reservation" and several non-travel-related options. "Change an existing reservation" was under the "Make" a reservation option.

For us end users, we have to think non-intuitively (press ALL THE BUTTONS) to get tech tools to do what we want, because they're not all designed with common sense. It's unfortunate, but, in any case, to use a local account when you're setting up Windows 8.1, "create" a  Microsoft account. (Not really, but that's the link you want.)

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