Windows 11 Pro will require a Microsoft Account and Internet connection during setup

Feb 18, 2022
Updated • Feb 18, 2022
Windows 11 News

Windows 11 Build 22557 was released yesterday to Insiders. It brought a sneaky little change, Windows 11 Pro edition users will be prompted to sign in to their Microsoft account for future installations.

Windows 11 Pro users will need to login to their Microsoft account for future installs

How many more of these ridiculous decisions are we going to see from the company?

What does this mean?

Here's a brief explanation for those who aren't in the loop. It's quite simple really, you will only be able to set up Windows when you are connected to the internet. You won't be able to install the operating system with a local account like you used to.

This isn't a new change per se, because this requirement has already been enforced for Windows 11 Home edition users. The Pro edition users have entered the chat now.

Windows 11 Pro users will force users to login to their Microsoft account

If you buy a new laptop or a PC, and go through the out-of-the-box experience (OOBE), to set up Windows 11, you will need to sign in to your Microsoft account to install the operating system. And if you format your hard drive for a clean install, you guessed it, you'll need to log in to the account.

How does this affect users?

Not everyone has the luxury of having access to a good internet connection. You may find it hard to believe, but there are still plenty of users who don't have internet at home. Maybe it's too expensive for them, or a network provider is not available in their neighborhood, town or village. There are lots of different reasons why a person can't access the internet. That's not the subject of this debate. Why should Microsoft decide what the user needs to have or not have?

A lack of an internet connection is not the only problem a user may face. Sometimes, the operating system may not install the drivers for the user's LAN network card or Wi-Fi drivers, the generic drivers from the OS may not work, in which case they cannot go online at all until the proper drivers have been installed. I think it's fair to say that not everyone has these drivers handy.  They won't be able to download the drivers since their computer can't go online, neither can they install it from a USB flash drive or something, because Windows hasn't been installed. So, what will these users do? That's not Microsoft's concern, it's the user's problem.

I'm guessing this requirement is probably in place to authenticate the operating system that the user is eligible for, or to check if they have a genuine Windows license tied to their account. It's either that, or the operating system may use your account to synchronize the data from the cloud, making the files ready-to-use, because even though you didn't ask for it, we thought it would be the best option for you.

Needless to say, the news has drawn flak from users, quite deservedly. We can just add this to the number of lessons Microsoft has failed to learn in recent times. Think from a user's perspective, not your own convenience or corporate decisions. Give the user more choices, don't take the freedom away from them.

Windows 11 Pro will require a Microsoft Account and Internet connection during setup
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Windows 11 Pro will require a Microsoft Account and Internet connection during setup
Windows 11 Pro Edition users will not be able to set up the operating system with a local account.
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  1. Ja said on May 14, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    It’s beyond a ridiculous decision actually, stop defending MS for anti consumer practices.

  2. RD Mercer said on May 10, 2022 at 4:11 pm

    Just move to LTSB or LTSC problem solved.

    1. Ja said on May 14, 2022 at 7:03 pm

      that isn’t a solution for regular users. also when w12 uses cloud none would matter.

  3. bunky said on March 10, 2022 at 10:32 am


    You can’t honestly say it’s a “ridiculous decision” when you’re “guessing”.

    Please save you silly rants for Twitter.

    1. Ja said on May 14, 2022 at 7:05 pm

      that isn’t a solution for regular users. also when w12 uses cloud none would matter.

  4. Hive mind tyranny said on February 24, 2022 at 8:49 am

    Here’s Neowin’s article on how to use Win 11 without internet/MS account, at least for now.

  5. Gary said on February 22, 2022 at 3:54 pm

    For Win 11 Home edition, creates a local account without the microsoft account starting from 9 minute mark in video.

    Support his content if you find it useful. I’m not affiliated in any way.

  6. cams1303 said on February 19, 2022 at 10:46 am

    Guys read the info before getting upset eg: MS account required for Pro “If you choose to set up for personal use” Pro has two option when setting up. 1 Personal Use, 2 Business or Education. Just select 2 as MS accounts wont be a requirement for domain/Business accounts then never set up to connect to a Domain. End result is its a local account, also if you set up a MS account you should just be able to go into account settings and switch it to local.

    1. Giorgau said on February 19, 2022 at 8:34 pm

      cams1303, YOU must read the info.
      It’s in the freaking release notes from microsoft that they plan on fully forcing it for Pro as well.
      The outrage is about what’s gonna happen in the next releases.

      1. cams1303 said on February 20, 2022 at 3:25 am

        Giorgau: I did read the Info, it clearly says “Personal Use” When setting up pro for first time you have a selection of 2 account types. Personal & Business/Education. Select Business as that expects you to connect to a domain that you don’t have to set up. Domain logins are controlled by a servers Active Directory Domain Services and not a MS account.

      2. Ja said on May 14, 2022 at 7:01 pm

        For work and school option you realize that you need their MS account too right? That is still the same as personal except it isn’t your account. Also you cant even get to that section without internet…

      3. Giorgau said on February 20, 2022 at 11:21 am

        1. stop being dense
        2. try stuff yourself
        then you’re gonna notice that WITHOUT INTERNET CONNECTION you won’t even reach the account setup stage for both Home and Pro editions using the latest 11 Dev, build 22557

  7. or else pizza is gonna send out for you said on February 19, 2022 at 3:29 am

    The kingdom without a crown

    M$ is fucking everywhere, especially anywhere open source exists or is even WHISPERED about.

    Fuck Microsoft. Stop buying and/or using their software, hardware, services. Stop publishing articles about them and eventually they’ll feel it.

    Fucking Microsoft. The LEGAL mafia of the US of A.

    1. John G. said on February 19, 2022 at 9:37 am

      Do you post all your photos in Facebook, your dancing videos in TikTok and your holidays in Instagram? It’s easy to blame Microsoft while everyone knows our lifes at social media! :]

      1. Frankel said on February 19, 2022 at 12:17 pm

        Okay you are really just trolling and grasping at straws. Why move the goalposts and project made up stuff onto other people?

        Get a grip and don’t derail comment sections.

  8. Giorgau said on February 19, 2022 at 12:53 am

    Guide to setup Home without internet at all:

    While I can follow it just fine to success, and my cat could do it in couple millions of tries,
    I’m not so sure about grandma / tech-intolerant person
    It’s bound to be a disaster if it ever gets into Stable.

    I’m furious. More so on people trying to defend Microsoft as if it’s not a big deal.
    It’s the biggest deal since Windows-As-A-Service inception. It brings them very close to the “everything-365” end goal, that I thought is at least a decade away

    1. Giorgau said on February 20, 2022 at 10:14 am

      link above broken, here’s the new one with less steps:

      1. Ja said on May 14, 2022 at 6:49 pm

        Microsoft is taking down workarounds though, they already took down two. Eventually they will take down this one as well when they find out.

  9. Anonymous said on February 19, 2022 at 12:33 am

    Ridiculous. Somebody at microsoft has no clue about the world. No other OS does this. Maybe its a secret way to make people start using Linux. I don’t see any other reason why they are making so many arbitrary decisions. From Windows 8 everything just down hill. Yeah one or another feature is great but overall its just harder and harder.

    1. brightspark said on February 19, 2022 at 1:20 pm

      “No other OS does this”

      Have you tried installing iOS or Android without creating an Apple or Google account?

      So the user has to provide MS with an email address, big deal.

      1. Ja said on May 14, 2022 at 6:47 pm

        You shouldn’t be forced to use an email just to install an os, enjoy not owning your computer. when MS takes down the servers you wont be able to install windows 11.

      2. Mason said on February 20, 2022 at 12:00 am

        yes, I have, and they don’t need a google or apple account. if I want to use their stores and their other cringe apps, they require it, but I am not forced to use them.
        read the article again. they don’t want to force a microsoft account to microsoft store and their cringe apps, they want to force it in the operating system. this should be illegal lol. I can’t believe I am saying this but apple and google have never gone that low. microsoft is back on its roots, back to cr*p lol.

      3. Corky said on February 19, 2022 at 6:29 pm

        If you think people are just providing an email address then your incredibly naive.

  10. Kindkiwi said on February 18, 2022 at 10:07 pm

    i wonder if that “Change the install.esd from 11 into windows 10 source directory on a usb stick” still would work ,ive had no issues with installing that way.

  11. Anonymous said on February 18, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    Time to start moving to Linux quicker than I thought. Windows 11 is becoming worst every new build. I don’t got time for Microsoft bullcrap anymore.

  12. Trey said on February 18, 2022 at 8:07 pm

    I knew the day would eventually come when the only sane version of windows to use will be some Russian-hacked probably unsafe version but still preferable to being logged in to Microsoft just to use your PC. God I’m really pissed about this bullsh*t. I guess I’ll figure out what to do in 2025.

  13. Corky said on February 18, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    Consider MS were saying the TPM requirement was for security purposes i don’t see how blocking the upgrade path for users who either can’t afford to buy a new PC and now also people who have spotty or expensive internet connectivity helps things from a security perspective.

    In 2025 are we going to see millions of Windows 10 PC’s unable to upgrade and left hanging with no more security updates?

  14. dmacleo said on February 18, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    I run active directory domain here, have nt too deep inti this issue but wonder what crap this would cause

  15. GoodMeasure said on February 18, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    Don’t let them get away with this! This is a new level of anti-power user behavior we have not yet seen from MS. We need to stop arguing with each other and let them know we won’t accept this!

    If you allow this, what next?

  16. Anonymous said on February 18, 2022 at 4:38 pm

    Microsoft continues to destroy Windows. Something that was once usable is now a nightmare to use. Its time everyone stop depending on Windows and look at alternatives.

  17. Winterbane said on February 18, 2022 at 3:47 pm

    What if we don’t have a Microsoft account? I don’t have one and have no interest in creating one. I do have a reliable internet connection though. Will I be locked out of using Windows 11 Pro? (I’m still on Windows 10 Pro for now.)

  18. Anonymous said on February 18, 2022 at 3:43 pm

    +1, dito

  19. ULBoom said on February 18, 2022 at 3:42 pm

    Verifying a license and having an account are independent. Duh! Used to be you could call MS to verify your license, not sure if that can be done now.

    Windows gets the C teams these days, the smart but lazy kids who have been permanently phonewashed. Ideas are all based on how phones operate, they’re working for themselves. Between notifications.

    This is going to get much worse.

  20. Steve99 said on February 18, 2022 at 2:05 pm

    While installing, users are logged in as local Admin; exposing the soft, weak, unsecured underbelly of Windows to network attack before they have the opportunity to harden the OS.

    Every day that goes by, MS gets more absurd, more anti-user, more hated. Thankfully for tech savvy types, Windows 7 still works great contrary to MS sycophant fear mongering – it is the only OS that keeps me using MS software.

    1. hog wild said on February 19, 2022 at 12:47 pm


      My W7 just updated, even my NVMe works with W7.

    2. tom42 said on February 19, 2022 at 1:59 am

      And when was your last Security Update for Windows 7?

      1. Steve99 said on February 24, 2022 at 4:42 pm

        I wrote “tech savvy types” friend. Some users know enough about tech to intelligently cut their own path by reducing areas of attack, allowing us to stay clear of MS fear mongering. For instance, don’t let most boxes touch the inet. For inet enabled VMs with snapshots, cripple those boxes. Cut most services such as printing,server,wks/smb,netbiosovtcp,ipv6,plugplay,etc. Delete ALL host FW rules, in and out, then block both by default & set logging to enabled. Monitor those logs, you’ll know if you’ve been hit when something is trying to hit a weird port or there is traffic while the box is at a stand still (monitor those blinky things on your switch). Then, setup the host & HW firewalls so that only 443 can escape for only a few chosen apps such as browsers, encrypted dns, ping, etc. Explicitly block dangerous ports at all FWs (smb,ipv6,etc) so you have belts & suspenders. Using ACL, deny the execute bit to areas such as \temp\*.*, \users\*.*, block all scripting engines powershell/vbs/js, etc. Run as nonAdmin. Set the entire progfiles & sys dirs so files/dirs cannot be altered by ANYONE (yes, there are tricks to do this so that even admins cannot write to those dirs). etc… There are hundreds of things folks can do to make boxes safe, so they can use any OS they please. Regardless, keep good offline backups because stuff happens.

      2. ESU Cracked said on February 19, 2022 at 6:20 am

        4 days ago, why?

  21. AJ said on February 18, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    So small businesses are paying extra for Windows Professional now just for BitLocker.

    Honestly, Microsoft have become so hostile and pushy under Satya, I’ve pretty much had enough at this point. The contempt towards their users is just not acceptable. Moves like this are not for my benefit, but are for Microsoft’s benefit; they are removing user choice and consent purely for their own commercial greed.

    Microsoft used to be a company who were the champions of business users, with Apple swaying more consumer-orientated (with creative professionals thrown in). However, over the past five years or so, I’ve been looking at Apple from the side-lines and noticing that it is really Apple who are the more professional and business-orientated company and are the ones who are making the right moves. Whereas, Microsoft have basically become just an incompetent version of Google.

    For non-enterprise users, I think most people would be better off considering moving to Macs at this point. Macbook Airs and Mac Minis are not out of grasp price-wise and pretty much all commercial software (and hardware devices like graphics tablets, etc.) that are available for Windows, are available for MacOS. And as a side benefit, unlike Microsoft, Apple still have a successful phone division to complete their ecosystem too.

    I guess non-console gamers are still stuck with Windows PCs. However, upcoming game streaming services like Nvidia GeForce NOW will also mean playing Steam games is not going to be such an issue on non-Windows PCs like it has been. It can even be streamed through just a web browser.

    1. Rick said on February 18, 2022 at 7:15 pm

      I was recently considering a MacMini, but the dealbreaker was the non-replaceable SSD. If the SSD fails prematurely, that’s it … the device becomes a paperweight. If they redesign it with ‘right to repair’ in mind and allow at least the SSD to be replaceable, I’d give one a try.

  22. John G. said on February 18, 2022 at 10:04 am

    The account requirement is good, and imho it helps to prevent and making difficult the piracy around the world and also some kind of fraud in some easy ways. Thanks for the article @Ashwin! :]

    1. Frankel said on February 19, 2022 at 12:12 pm

      I think you might be a troll or a very naive individual. Go ahead, give them your e-mail (preferably with full name), your phone number to prove you are not a bot and ideally the credit card number for the MS store.

      Some people will not realize how much freedom they lost before it is too late. Or they just pretend not getting it to get a jolt out of it. Either way sad to put up with them.

    2. Anonymous said on February 18, 2022 at 2:28 pm

      @Dumbledalf ‘s Quote: “Users have masochistic tendencies and they don’t mind being bullied by Microsoft, some even devolve into fanboys and actually start enjoying it and praising Microsoft for their BS.” lol

      1. John G. said on February 18, 2022 at 4:46 pm

        @Anonymous it’s just an account, not the real life, so you can provide only an email address! :]

      2. someone said on February 18, 2022 at 9:33 pm

        A verified e-mail address that will be tied to your hardware and software licenses. It’s still not real life?

      3. John G. said on February 19, 2022 at 9:34 am

        @someone there are millions of fake ID around the web and you are blaming MS for requiring one single email account? Oh come on, major social media enterprises need and sell more data from their users than whole Windows in the the whole world! Indeed maybe it’s your hardware but it’s not your sofware anymore, Windows >10 will never be yours. That’s real life now. :]

  23. nonqu said on February 18, 2022 at 9:47 am

    The title should really be “… will require a Microsoft account”. This is much more important (and beyond ridiculous), most people only read headlines and they might just think it’s for updates, etc.

  24. Facts said on February 18, 2022 at 7:17 am

    “has already been enforced for Windows 11 Home edition users” where does that misinformation come from? Just kill networkflow with taskmgr while installing offline and you can install with a local account and no internet connection. Works 100%, and I have done it on over 300 computers we have sold via our company since last year.
    Stop writing false information!

    1. Corky said on February 18, 2022 at 7:05 pm

      Using a workaround doesn’t negate the fact that it’s being enforced, do you really expect normal user to know how to bypass such a requirement?

      I mean i get it, your business depends on selling Windows machines to people so you’ll defend Windows no matter how bad things get as you don’t want to lose a sale. However defending such behaviour from MS just means they’ll push things further next time until eventually no amount of salesmanship will get people to buy a Windows machine.

      It’s only when people like yourself speaking out against such anti-consumer that things will change,

      1. Facts said on February 19, 2022 at 3:40 pm

        Funny how people read into this. My ONLY gripe with this article is that it claimed an internet connection and a ms account has been mandatory for Windows 11 Home installs, which is simply a lie. Workaround or not, the claim is false. Some know this, some don’t, and this article just does damage to the USER unless you read all the comments here..which most do not.

        This benefits our business, word has spread that by bringing your computer to us Windows 11 is ready to use WITHOUT ANY ADDED MICROSOFT BULLSHIT and let me tell you that’s been a massive success. We remove all bloatware too, and do a few tweaks just to annoy Microsoft and please the user. There’s no OneDrive and Edge does not start when the system starts etc etc, you know; all the usual things power users set up get set up here for the average Joe/Jane who just wants a functioning computer that stays out of their way. So yeah, thanks Microsoft, for making your OS defaults absurdly horrible and downright abusive.

        Nothing illegal in this either, all EULAs respected and no software added. Imagine buying a new house, now wouldn’t it be nice if it was empty so you can choose what furniture/appliances to add and that the doors and windows are shut and you are the one with the key to the lock? As it is now, you are supposed to move in with some guy named Tele Metry and his buddies Bloat & Spy Ware who live in every room and recommend you stuff 24/7 while you sit on their couch and sleep in their bed, both filled with bedbugs. You’d be surprised how many will pay a small fee to NOT do that.

        In fact, there’s an idea for Microsoft: free users get the bloated ad-ridden telemetry HORRORSHOW you are currently infesting the planet with, and then a paying customer would get a CLEAN operating system. You know, like GOOD BUSINESS…?

      2. Corky said on February 20, 2022 at 6:28 pm

        That’s an impressive ramble about, well goodness knows what. You seem to be simultaneously moaning and praising something totally unrelated to what i said, i said nothing about “ADDED MICROSOFT BULLSHIT”, nothing about bloatware, tweaks, annoying MS or pretty everything you blithering on about there.

        Pretty funny really considering you started your reply by saying you found it funny how people read into “this” when you’ve obviously not read what you were replying to, maybe next time try addressing what someone actually said rather than some imaginary argument you’ve constructed in your head.

        Just in case your comprehension skills let you down again i said “Using a workaround doesn’t negate the fact that it’s being enforced, do you really expect normal user to know how to bypass such a requirement?”

    2. ULBoom said on February 18, 2022 at 3:48 pm

      Sympathy for having to do this 300 times.

      1. Facts said on February 18, 2022 at 4:19 pm

        Yeah, it’s a living hell making a decent living sipping on coffee and chewing on a bagle while clicking a few times on a keyboard a couple times per day. We are open 6 hours 5 days a week. Free healthcare, free dental. My daily commute to work is a 3 minute walk since I live nearby, drives me mad every day. One time we ran out of coffee and sent a guy to the store next door to buy more, it was a catastrophic 2 minutes for the whole company and one we still talk about to this day at our monthly sauna/spa get togethers where the company pays for everything. My life is a nightmare and I can’t wake up.

        Thanks for the headsup on the insider builds! We now have stocked up on .iso’s that do not feature this retarded requirement.

    3. Sol Shine said on February 18, 2022 at 8:29 am

      That is workaround that should not be needed.
      Workarounds do not always work.

      Quote: ‘But it’s a frustrating change for people who regularly set up new Windows installations for development or testing or anyone trying to set up a new PC in a place without an Internet connection. There are some hacky workarounds available, usually involving connecting to and then disconnecting from the Internet during setup, but my experience with these has been hit or miss.’

      Another problem is that Microsoft may later also demand that you first verify your Microsoft account with your phone before you can install Windows.
      They may do this because it fits the pattern of their behavior.

      I have already move to Linux and LibreOffice for most of my computers.

      I actually hope Microsoft keeps making these dumb decisions, so that finally a large group of companies decides to work together to invest in opensource and creat a free stable standardized user friendly Linux distro, and other software (Office, email, video chat, etc).
      Then they can ditch Microsoft software that is getting filled with spyware and adware and getting slower and bloated.

    4. Anonymous said on February 18, 2022 at 7:43 am

      afaik according to mdl users that workaround was “fixed” by m$ in the latest insider builds, so i wouldn’t necessarily call it “false information” lol

  25. Boro Natural said on February 18, 2022 at 7:14 am

    Microsoft is clamping down Windows with boneheaded decisions like these. First they made changing the default browser a headache, and now this. I finally understand why people hated MS so much. During the XP and Seven days they delivered a solid product. With 8 and Metro everything started going downhill. 11 is bloated and a slow mess. There are bugs everywhere. Opening the calendar takes 10 seconds on my machine that passes all checks and 16 gigs of ram. Switched to Linux already.

    1. Anonymous said on March 18, 2022 at 12:28 pm

      Microsoft always release a good/bad/good/bad product.
      95 good
      98 bad
      98 SE good
      NT bad
      XP good
      Vista bad
      7 good
      8 bad (and 8.1 didnt make it good but better than bad)
      10 good

    2. Dumbledalf said on February 18, 2022 at 9:30 am

      That’s because Windows is a monopoly. Microsoft know that very well and they believe they can release half-assed sloppy products, because they know people will buy them and use them regardless.

      Do you think if Windows 12 had the following “features”:

      – you simply cannot use it without a Microsoft account (no workarounds)
      – you simply can’t log in if you have no internet connection (no workarounds)
      – it outright says it spies on you and you can’t turn it off in any way
      – it limits greatly what you can do and does not allow you to choose your default programs for handling file types, right now in Windows 11 it’s very difficult, but not impossible, I’m talking about completely impossible

      that people will not buy it and not use it if Windows 10 and 11 have already been discontinued and unsupported?

      The people will buy it and use it regardless. They will use it, they may complain, but will use it, because there is nothing else. Mac is like a more expensive version of Linux and Linux lacks support for most things required for daily use.

      Microsoft has to require people to some device that’s connected by USB to the computer in order to make Windows 12 work and that device must periodically kick you in the groin and poke your eyes in order for Windows 12 to work. This is will be the straw to break the camel’s back.

      Users have masochistic tendencies and they don’t mind being bullied by Microsoft, some even devolve into fanboys and actually start enjoying it and praising Microsoft for their BS.

      You must hope that Steam Deck is successful and causes a resurgence in Linux so that it gains more mainstream support and most importantly better drivers, then and only then Linux may become a desirable alternative to the Windows monopoly.

      But you have to also keep in mind that Microsoft will try to retain its users, it can be like in the 1990s with how they sabotaged Linux, because it was sold with computers by Intel or IBM, not sure and it was a real problem for Microsoft to have actual competition by a better and free OS so they simply killed it.

      I’m afraid the same thing might repeat itself if Linux gains popularity if Steam Deck turns out to be a massive success.

      1. Peterc said on February 20, 2022 at 5:47 am


        “Linux lacks support for most things required for daily use.”

        I don’t think that statement is true for most computer users.

      2. Beta said on February 28, 2022 at 12:28 pm

        I agree. Instead of waiting for Windows 10 to crash in 2025, I installed Linux Mint on an old laptop. It works well and has everything I need.

      3. Anonymous said on February 19, 2022 at 5:00 am

        “devolve into fanboys and actually start enjoying it and praising Microsoft for their BS.”

        Most of those guys are IT trained and certified for MS software. They’re the guys in office who blame the user and third party software for everything.

      4. Anonymous said on February 19, 2022 at 12:53 am

        Windows is not monopoly, because it’s better and people know it. You know how every year is linux desktop.

      5. Anonymous said on February 19, 2022 at 11:52 pm

        12.53, windows is the definition of a monopoly. our goverments should force microsoft to open source the win32 api in order to finally have the competition in desktop operating systems.

      6. Gui said on February 18, 2022 at 10:24 am

        that is how they might start falling from their top spot, every empire crumbles eventually and if they keep doing anti consumer decisions, their market share might suffer. It is a big opportunity for apple and for whatever comes from Steam OS and Chrome OS, also big tech companies like Amazon might want to fill the gap and do what Microsoft refuses to do (a true pro OS that respects the user)

  26. Anonymous said on February 18, 2022 at 6:55 am

    I was able to clean install Windows 11 Home with local account, I simply plugged in an ethernet cable to ungrey out the ‘Next’ button. Clicked Next. Unplugged ethernet. I was then prompted to create a local account. Of course this was back when Windows 11 was released so I can’t say for sure if they gimped that loophole since then.

    1. Frankel said on February 19, 2022 at 12:02 pm

      The entire point of the article is they modified the ISO to prevent this.

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