When Windows 10 was released, Microsoft used to force people to sign into their Microsoft accounts before they could download and install apps and games from the Microsoft Store. Luckily now that is a thing of the past. Today, if you are using a version of Windows 10 that was released after the spring of 2016, you can use the Microsoft Store with a simple local, offline user account. If you want to know more, read this guide:
Can I use the Microsoft Store with just a local account (no Microsoft account whatsoever)?
The Microsoft Store from Windows 10 offers one of the easiest ways to find, download, and install apps on our devices. Unfortunately, in the first versions of Windows 10, you could use the Microsoft Store only if you agreed to sign in to Windows 10 with a Microsoft account. The good news is that Microsoft changed its mind and, if you're running a Windows 10 version that's newer than the Anniversary Update, you can now download and install some of the apps from the Microsoft Store with a local account. This was first discovered by ghacks.net.
That's great news for everyone who doesn't want to use the cloud and syncing features found in Windows 10 and prefers instead to use local user accounts, also known as offline accounts. However, there are two caveats about using the Microsoft Store without a Microsoft account:
- You can download and install only apps and games that are free, because paid apps need to be tied to their buyers in some way.
- If you're going to reinstall Windows 10, any apps or games that you also reinstall, are going to be reset, as they do not sync content, settings, or achievements (in games) because there's no Microsoft account connected to them.
Furthermore, the other good news is that you can use an offline account to download and install apps from the Microsoft Store both in Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home. Apparently, when Microsoft chose to allow local accounts to use the Microsoft Store, it only did so in Windows 10 Pro. However, we've checked on Windows 10 Home with November 2019 Update, and it now works in the Home edition too.
How to use the Microsoft Store without a Microsoft account
Sign into Windows 10 with a local user account. Then, start the Microsoft Store. A fast way is to click or tap on its tile from the Start Menu.
In the Microsoft Store, look at the top-right corner of the window. You should see an icon that depicts a person with a small plus sign next to it. If you see it, you are not signed in to the Microsoft Store with a Microsoft account.
Browse the Microsoft Store or search for the app that you want to download and install on your Windows 10 PC.
If that app is free, on its page, you should see an Install button. Click or tap on it.
The Microsoft Store might ask you to sign in with your Microsoft account, as seen in the screenshot below. Don't: just close this popup.
In some cases, the Microsoft Store might ask you to sign in with your Microsoft account using a different dialog, such as the one below. If you see this, click or tap on "No, thanks."
Immediately after you close the sign-in pop-up, the Microsoft Store starts downloading and installing the app, without asking for a Microsoft account.
When the installation is over, you can start using the app.
Are you using the Microsoft Store without a Microsoft account?
Do you like the fact that you can use the Microsoft Store with a local account? What do you think about this shift in attitude from Microsoft? Was it something you wanted, or were you OK using a Microsoft account for downloading and installing apps from the Store? Share your opinion in the comments section below.