The wait is finally over, folks! Microsoft recently released its first official Windows 11 ISO. This comes at the back of a new build release for the Insider Preview and has a new out of box experience for users who’re doing a clean installation of Windows. Here’s everything you need to know about downloading and installing the official Windows 11 ISO and all the steps involved in it.
Why download a Windows 11 ISO?
First things first, why should you bother with the official Windows 11 ISO? Sure, there are various channels by which one could acquire Windows 11. There was even a leaked version of Windows 11, well before it was made available for Insiders. But there’s nothing more assuring than the word ‘official’ when it comes to downloading software and OSes. You won’t have to worry yourself over problematic files from the web as they’ll all be directly supplied from Microsoft itself.
But the recently launched official Windows 11 ISO doesn’t just serve a nominal function, it also brings a fancy new Windows 11 setup experience, often called an OOBE (out-of-box experience). Other than the cosmetic changes, the Windows 11 setup lets you name your PC and even gives a marker for the completion of the installation process, two little additions that will help you set up quickly and get going.
Download the official Windows 11 ISO
Microsoft has made the Windows 11 ISO files available for download for anyone who wants to install Windows 11 that way. Well, not just anyone. There are certain requirements that you (and your PC) must meet first.
The first requirement is that you be a part of the Windows Insider program. Windows is very much in the testing phase and, currently, there is no other option but to be a part of either its Dev channel or the Beta channel to access the builds officially.
On top of that, your PC should meet the system requirements for Windows 11, something that’s been a hot topic of debate ever since the documentation was released. Nevertheless, we Windows users have to bite the bullet and make sure the requirements are met.
Step 1: Register for Windows Insider
Now, if you already are a part of the Windows Insider program, skip this step and move to the next one. But if you aren’t, here’s how you can become one today with a few clicks.
Win + I to open Settings. Click on Windows Update on the left.
Then select Windows Insider Program on the right.
Click on Get started. You will be required to register your account in the Windows Insider Program and choose a channel – either Dev or Beta. Get more information on the same through Windows Insider.
Once you’re a member of the Windows Insider Program, you will be able to download the ISO file.
Step 2: Download the official Windows 11 ISO
To download the official Windows 11 ISO file, click on the link given below.
Download: Windows 11 ISO files
On the page, scroll down to the bottom and click on ‘Select edition’ to reveal the available download options.
Select the Windows 11 build that is specified for your Insider channel.
Then select the product language from the drop-down menu, and click Confirm.
On the next page, you will have the final link. Click on it to start the download.
Install the official Windows 11 ISO
Now that we have all the bases covered, it’s time to get started with the installation. There are a couple of ways of going about it.
Method #1: Install on the same PC with setup.exe
This method describes the process of installing Windows 11 from the ISO straight away to the machine that it is downloaded on. To start it off, double-click the ISO file to mount it.
Once it’s mounted, double-click the setup.exe file within it.
This will begin installation immediately.
During the installation, you will come upon the ‘Ready to install’ window. Click on Change what to keep to decide what you want to keep.
If you want to do a clean installation, select ‘Nothing’. If not, choose from the other two, whichever is more appropriate to your needs, and continue on.
Then just follow the on-screen prompts to complete the setup.
Method #2: Install via a USB device (Create Installation Media)
You can also use the ISO to create installation media for Windows 11 and use it to install on any compatible PC. Here’s how to go about it.
First up, plug in a USB device, then open File Explorer (
Win + E). Right-click on your USB and select Format.
With the default settings applied, click on Start.
Now that your USB device is formatted, you will have to create an installation media on it with the ISO. For this, we’re going to use the Rufus tool.
Download Rufus and open it up. It should automatically detect your USB device and show it under the Device menu.
Now, click on Select to choose your ISO file.
Now, select the downloaded ISO file and click on Open.
Once the ISO file is selected, Rufus will update all the formatting options and configure the options for you. All you need to do is to hit Start.
When prompted, just click OK.
Rufus will now format the USB and copy the official Windows 11 to create a portable bootable USB device. Once the process is complete, you will see ‘Ready’ as shown below.
Now, it’s time to get the installation process underway. Plug this USB into the computer on which you want to install Windows 11, and restart the PC into boot mode.
For this process, first up, shut down your PC. Then, turn it back on and press F8 to restart the PC into boot mode.
Once you’re in Boot mode, click on Use a device.
Then select your USB Drive.
The Windows 11 setup should start. Click Next to proceed.
Click on Install now.
Enter your product key. If you don’t have one, click on I don’t have a product key at the bottom.
Select the version of Windows that you want to install and click Next.
Accept the terms and agreements and click Next.
Here’s that choice again – to upgrade or to start afresh. The choice is yours, but we’re going to go for a clean installation and are thus selecting the Custom: Install Windows only.
Select your partition and click Next.
Now, this is where you’ll get the new out-of-box setup experience. Select your country and click Yes.
Choose the input method and click Yes.
For a first, Windows now lets you name your PC from the setup itself. Enter a name and click on Next.
Link your Microsoft account and click Next.
As such, go through all the on-screen instructions until you come to the final installation process. You’ll see the steps remaining and the percentage markers at the bottom.
Once the process is complete, your computer will restart and you’ll have Windows 11 running on your PC.
Method #3: Install on a Virtual Machine
Even if you’re someone who’s going to wait until the final, stable version of Windows 11 is out, whenever that is, you can still think about using it on a virtual machine to try it out. Now, there are various virtual machine programs out there. But for this guide, we’re using Oracle VM VirtualBox.
Download: Oracle VM VirtualBox
Download and install the VirtualBox and open it. Click on New.
Type in a name for the operating system. Then click on the Version drop-down menu.
Select Windows 10 (64-bit).
Adjust the slider to allocate the amount of RAM for this virtual machine. Then click Next.
Choose Fixed size and click Next.
Enter the size of your virtual hard disk and click Create.
VirtualBox will take a while to create the virtual hard disk. Once the disk is created, click on Settings.
Click on Storage in the left panel. Then, next to Controller: SATA, click on the first CD-ROM icon.
Select the downloaded Win 11 ISO and click Choose.
Click on the Empty slot below.
Then click on the CD/ROM icon next to ‘Optical Drive’, and choose your recently created virtual drive.
Now click on Start.
Your Windows 11 setup will now begin on your virtual machine.
Go through the steps as shown in the previous method and start using your Windows 11.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs):
Here we address a few common queries that people have had ever since the release of the official Windows 11 ISO.
Is the official Windows 11 ISO the latest Windows 11 build?
No, the official Windows 11 ISO is not the latest version. As of August 24, 2021, the ISO available is Windows Insider Preview Build 22000.132, while a recent update brought us Build 22000.160. That means you will need to do a quick update once your Windows 11 is installed.
Do you still need TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot?
Yes, the infamous system requirements have persisted and you will have to have TPM 2.0 and Secure boot enabled.
When will Windows 11 release?
Windows 11 is already available as a beta preview. We can expect the final release to be in the fall of 2021 or early 2022.
We hope you were able to download the official Windows 11 ISO from the Windows Insider channels and install it easily. There are lots of things yet to go live on Windows 11 so stay tuned for all the latest news.
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