The wait is over for the users who have been eagerly waiting for Windows 11 to get their hands on it. Microsoft has finally released the ISO file for its latest Windows 11 Insiders Preview. Previously, for installing Windows 11, the users had to upgrade the existing Windows 10 by signing up for the Insiders Program. But now, you can directly download the Windows 11 ISO image and install it on a dedicated PC, a dual-boot system, or a virtual machine depending on your preference.
The following article is a complete guide to downloading and installing Windows 11. So are you ready to explore what Microsoft has introduced with its newly released Windows upgrade?
Windows 11 Minimum System Requirements
It’s more of a prerequisite to ensure that your computer system meets the requirements crucial for running Windows 11.
- Processor: 1GHz or faster system with at least 2 cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or SoC
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 64GB or larger
- System Firmware: UEFI with Secure Boot enabled
- TPM: Trusted Platform Module version 2.0
- Graphics: DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
- Display Resolution: 720p, 8-bit per color channel, at least 9-inch diagonal
NOTE: when you are dealing with an early build of a Windows upgrade, always proceed with caution. As of now, we don’t recommend clean installation of Windows 11 on your main PC because it may contain a variety of bugs and errors we aren’t aware of yet, and that can be risky. It also means that you won’t be able to go back to the existing Windows using the recovery partition of your PC. However, if you have a spare PC, you can clean install Windows 11 on it.
Preferably, you can create a dual-partition and test Windows 11 on it. Or you can use a virtual machine for that reason.
How to Download Windows 11 ISO File
If you have gone through the system requirements section, now you know if your computer is compatible with the installation of Windows 11 or not. If it meets the benchmarks, let’s not wait and directly get into the method.
Step 1: Join the Windows Insider Program
In order to get access to download the Windows 11 ISO image, Microsoft requires the user to register for the Windows Insider Program. It’s an easy-peasy process; all you will need is a Microsoft account. You can use your personal or business (organization) account for that purpose.
First, log in to your Microsoft account in your web browser if you haven’t already. Next, open Windows Insider Program, and check the box for terms & conditions, then click on “Register now.” On the following webpage, click on the “Flight now” button.
You can also directly update your existing Windows to version 11 by following the instructions under the Installation section. But since in our case, we are using the ISO file method, click on the “download a Windows Insider Preview ISO” link in the Preparation section.
Step 2: Download ISO File
Once you are at the Windows Insider Preview Downloads page, scroll down to the “Select edition.” Click on the drop-down menu and choose either Dev Channel or Beta Channel for downloading Windows 11 ISO image.
Dev Channel is more oriented towards technical users where the latest features are introduced for initial testing. That means it can be unstable at times, and the probability of you stumbling across bugs is relatively high. On the other hand, Beta Channel is technically a more reliable build suitable for early adopters. Here, you will get more polished features that have been already tested and improved, thus, few bugs and low risk for Windows crashes. So if you don’t consider yourself “tech-savvy,” your safe bet would be to go for Windows 11 Insider Preview Beta Channel.
Once you’ve selected the channel for the ISO image you intended to download, click on “Confirm.” Next, choose the product language and click on “Confirm.” Lastly, hit the “Download” button and take a back seat while it gets done.
How to Install Windows 11 Insider Preview Using ISO File
Now, once you have downloaded the ISO image for Windows 11 Insider Preview, you have to decide how you want to install it on your system. To be on the safe side, when you are testing early Windows upgrades, you may not want to go for a clean installation (option 3), especially on your primary PC. However, if you own a spare computer, you can feel free to use it as a testing environment for Windows 11 Insider Preview. Or it would be best if you install Windows 11 either on a virtual machine or dual boot your PC for some time, and then decide if you want to switch permanently to it.
Option 1: Set up a Virtual Machine
For testing newly launched operating system upgrades, doing it via virtual machine is probably the easiest and safest way there is.
VMware Workstation Player and Oracle VM VirtualBox are currently 2 of the best virtualization software in the game. Both are free to use and come with a user-friendly interface making it easy for laymen to use and install Windows upgrades.
You can download either of the suggested software from the respective official website. And the best thing about setting up a virtual machine is that it allows you to directly install the ISO image without having to perform any extra steps.
It’s an easy-to-do task and would barely take you 20-30 minutes to get Windows 11 up and running.
Option 2: Dual Boot your PC
Dual booting allows you to use two Windows or even two operating systems concurrently on the same computer. So if you want to continue using your existing Windows alongside taking a test ride of Windows 11 Insiders Preview, this is the method you should go for.
Setting up a dual-boot is a relatively time-consuming process, but having the right instructions to follow through, should not take much of your time.
- 8GB USB Drive
- Windows 11 ISO
- 64 GB free space on your computer
Step 1: Create a Bootable USB Drive
Before proceeding, make sure that your USB drive doesn’t contain any important data, as you will require to format it.
- First, go to rufus.ie and download the latest version available and once the app is installed, launch it.
- Next, connect the USB drive to your computer.
- On the Refus app interface, click on Device and select your USB drive from the drop-down menu.
- In Boot Selection, click on “Disk or ISO image” and tap on Select to choose the Windows 11 ISO file.
- In the Partition Scheme, select “GPT” if your BIOS mode is UEFI or MBR if your BIOS mode is “Legacy.”
How to check your PC’s BIOS mode? Using the Windows search bar, look for “system information” and open it. Locate the “BIOS Mode” option on the right, and then select the partition scheme accordingly.
- In the Windows label, you’ve to give a name to the boot file, so type “Windows 11.”
- Next, leave the rest of the settings default, and hit the Start button.
- You will get a pop-up on your window with a data deletion warning; click on OK to continue.
- Now, at this point, you will have to wait for a while until the completion.
Step 2: Create a Separate Volume for Windows 11
Once you have successfully created a bootable USB drive, the next step would be to create a separate partition for Windows 11 installation. For that, go to “This PC” and look for the drive, which has at least 70 GB of free space available. Although the storage space requirement for Windows 11 is 64 GB, it’s always a good practice to leave some wiggle room.
- To get started, right-click on the Start button and select “Disk Management.”
- Right-click on the drive you want to create a partition and select “Shrink Volume.”
- Next, you’ve to enter the amount of space to shrink in MB. It is essentially the size of the partition to install Windows 11, for which the bare minimum is 64 GB, but you keep it higher than that.
- Once done, you will see an unallocated volume right next to the drive. Click on it and select “New Simple Volume.”
- Click on Next and then again. Assign a drive letter to the new volume or better to keep it default and click on Next.
- In the Volume label, type “Windows 11,” and click on Next, and then hit the Finish button.
Now, go to your File Manager or This PC, and make sure the new volume you have created is showing there.
Step 3: Boot the PC
By now, we have a bootable USB drive and a separate partition created for installing Windows 11, so it’s time to boot your computer.
- First of all, insert the USB drive into your computer, and restart the system.
- While your PC is rebooting, press the BIOS key.
The dedicated key to open BIOS setup is different for manufacturers. For you, it could be F10, F2, F1, Esc, or DEL.
- Next, click the Boot tab, and there you have to change the Boot order by making the USB drive the first option in the list.
- To save changes, press the BIOS key and select “Yes” on exit.
- Now, press any key on your keyboard to boot from the USB drive.
Step 4: Perform the setup
This is the last part of dual-booting, where you have to do the basic setup for Windows 11 Insiders Preview.
- First, you have to select your preferred Language, Time Format, and Keyboard Method and click on Next.
- Tap on “Install Now.”
- Next, you will be asked to enter the Windows Activation key, so if you have, simply provide the input or click on “I don’t have a product key” to continue without it.
- Check the “Microsoft Software License Terms” box and click on Next.
- You will be asked to select the installation type, so click on “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).”
- On the following screen, you will find a list of your system drives and partitions. Here you have to carefully select the volume you created in step 2 for Windows 11 installation.
- Sit back while the Windows installation takes place. Your PC will restart automatically once it’s completed.
- You will be asked to choose an operating system. Select Windows 11 and hit Enter.
Now all you have to do is simply follow the onscreen instructions to get through the initial setup. And there, you have Windows 11 Insiders Preview successfully installed and ready to go.
Option 3: Perform a Clean Installation
So if you’ve chosen to clean install Windows 11 on your PC, keep in mind that you won’t be able to go back to your previous Windows if you wish to.
To get started, you have to backup the data from your computer because everything will be erased from the hard drive as you go for a clean installation.
- When you are done creating the backup, download the ISO file of Windows 11. For steps, you can refer to the second section of this article.
- Next, you have to burn the Windows 11 ISO image in a USB drive (8GB) to make it bootable. We have already discussed how-to-do in “Step 1” of Option #2. You have to follow the exact steps mentioned.
- Now restart your computer, and as it boots up, hit the BIOS key. For you, it could be F1, F2, F3, F10, F12, Esc, or the Delete key.
- Navigate to the Boot option, change the boot order starting with the USB flash drive and save the changes.
- You will be asked to press any key on your keyboard to boot from the USB drive. Do the required!
- On “Windows Setup,” click on Next.
- Click on the “Install Now” button.
- Enter the product activation key if you have otherwise hit the “I don’t have a product key” option.
- Select the Windows 11 edition (if applicable) and click Next.
- Check the “I accept the license terms” box and click Next.
- For installation type, click on “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).”
- Now you have to select the hard drive you want to install Windows 11 and click Next.
Usually, it’s “Drive 0,” but there are no hard and fast rules for that. You can choose any partition having at least 64GB of free space available. And if the drive you have selected for the installation contains multiple partitions, select and delete each partition as it will allow Windows 11 to use the entire drive and have more room.
- While the Windows installation process gets completed, you can sit back and relax.
- Upon completion, your PC should restart automatically.
Lastly, you have to complete the OOBE (out-of-box experience), which is basically a Windows 11 setup from where you can customize the operating system to your preference. It’s self-explanatory. You just have to follow the onscreen instructions.
That is all for this comprehensive guide on how to install Windows 11 Insiders Preview. We hope you like this article, and if you have any additional queries, feel free to comment them down.