Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is a first – you will not be able to actually run Windows 11 on a system that isn’t able to go online.
Microsoft has made available the official system requirements needed to run Windows 11, and on its official support page it’s clearly stated the following:
Windows 11 Home edition requires internet connectivity and a Microsoft account to complete device setup on first use. Switching a device out of Windows 11 Home in S mode also requires internet connectivity. Learn more about S mode here. For all Windows 11 editions, internet access is required to perform updates and to download and take advantage of some features. A Microsoft account is required for some features.
Thus, all Windows 11 editions require Internet access to perform updates and to take advantage of some features. Of course, just like before, a Microsoft account is required for some features.
However, enterprise customers still have an offline setup option when it comes to Windows 11 Home.
What this move actually means is that not every device running Windows 10 will be able to run Windows 11. In our recent search it was very clear that there’s a good bunch of users that wouldn’t make the jump to Windows 11 precisely because of data-loss related fears.
Brad Sams from Petri.com also explains why the strategy of forcing the creation of an account might not sit well with privacy-focused consumers:
The concept of forcing the user to create an account for the OS is not new and the functionality has been baked into Windows 10 for years. Other operating systems also push similar requirements but expect to hear loudly from privacy advocates that Windows 11 will be a step backward when it comes to keep your identity a secret when using the OS.
We also showed that Windows 7 users were interested in making the jump to Windows 11, but this small change could make some of them think twice.