If you’re looking to download and install Windows 11 on your device, we’ve made it extremely easy for you. This guide covers all the current methods of installing Microsoft’s latest operating system, along with detailed steps.
How to Install Windows 11
Installing Windows 11 on your own is much easier than installing Windows 10 or past Windows versions, as you don’t even need a USB (or CD/DVD) drive in most cases.
There are six methods to install Windows 11, with the last optional for only Windows Insiders:
- Windows 11 update checker available with eligible Windows 10 devices
- Windows 11 installation assistant
- Microsoft’s official media creation tool for Windows 11
- Official Windows 11 disk image ISO
- Cloud download option available in Windows 11 reset
- Windows 11 Insider Preview edition (optional)
1. Windows 11 Update Checker
It’s quite easy with the Windows 11 update checker to update to Windows 11, since all eligible Windows 10 devices will be receiving the free invitation.
- Keep checking your latest Windows 10 device for new updates until you see a feature update for Windows 11.
- Click the “Get Ready for Windows 11” option to see if your PC’s hardware makes the cut for Windows 11.
- You will see a status that reads your PC can run Windows 11.
- If you meet the minimum system requirements for Windows 11, Microsoft will offer you a free upgrade option through a normal feature update. Click “Review the license terms” to proceed.
- You will see “Pending download” and “Pending installation” statuses. After finishing them, restart your PC, which will install Windows 11 on your device.
- There will be a few blue/black screens and multiple restarts during the transition between Windows 10 and Windows 11. Be patient, as the whole process can take several hours.
2. Windows 11 Installation Assistant
Don’t want to wait for an update invitation? You can also use Microsoft’s installation assistant for a free cloud migration from Windows 10 to Windows 11.
- Go to the Windows 11 download page, where you will find download links for Windows Installation assistant, media creation tool, and disk image (ISO).
- Click “Download Now” for the installation assistant and save it to a PC location on your Windows 10 device.
- When you launch the assistant, it will ask you to check your PC eligibility for Windows 11 with the PC Health Check app. It can be downloaded here under “Check for compatibility.”
- The PC Health Check app will confirm that your device can run Windows 11. After it’s been confirmed, refresh the previous screen.
- You will be asked to accept a licensing agreement for Windows 11 install. Accept it to proceed.
- Sit back and wait for the Windows 11 download and installation to complete. It can take anywhere from under an hour to several hours.
- Once the installation assistant steps are complete, your PC will automatically restart. After the installation is completed, you will see a new Windows 11 screen.
3. Windows 11 Media Creation Tool
You can also use Windows 11 Media Creation Tool but will need a USB drive.
- Download Windows 11 installation media from the official Windows 11 download page.
- As soon as you launch the media creation tool, a pop-up screen will open. Wait a few moments while it prepares.
- You will be greeted with an “Applicable notices and license terms” document. Accept to proceed.
- Select the language and Windows 11 edition, then click “Next” to proceed.
- Choose the USB drive option as the media you will use to burn the media creation tool. (The ISO option will be covered later in this tutorial.)
- Insert a USB drive into your laptop/PC. It will be selected as the USB drive where the Windows 11 media creation tool will be installed.
- Sit back and wait for Windows 11 to download and install.
- Once done, you can view the contents of the bootable Windows 11 media in a Windows 10 folder.
- Boot the Windows device using your boot key, which, depending on the manufacturer, can vary: F2, F12, Esc, etc. You have to press the boot key very quickly during a restart, for it to take you to a blue installation screen.
- Follow the on-screen instructions until you arrive at a screen where you are required to allocate space for the Windows 11 drive on your PC.
- The Windows 11 installation starts as soon as you select a partition. You don’t have to do anything else, as the installation is fairly automatic from here.
- If the system asks you for a Windows license key, save it from the Command prompt, then use:
wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey
4. Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO)
You can also use a Windows 11 disk image (ISO) to boot a virtual machine file.
- Go to the official Windows 11 download page and select “Windows 11” as the download.
- After selecting the language, you will be asked to verify the download. It is nothing but a download link that remains active for 24 hours.
- Click 64-bit download to proceed.
- The ISO file is approximately 5 GB file. You could have also created it using the Windows 11 media creation tool (covered earlier in this tutorial).
- Once the ISO is downloaded, double-click it to mount the file. You can also use a right-click followed by “Mount.”
- A bootable folder is opened. Click “setup” to proceed.
- Wait a few minutes for the Windows 11 installation to prepare.
- You will be led to a Windows 11 setup screen. Click “Next” to initiate the setup.
- Accept the “Applicable notices and license terms.”
- Wait for the updates to finish. This will trigger the installation, which will take many more hours. Click “restart” when done.
5. Windows 11 Reset Option (Cloud Download)
For those who like cloud-based installations, there’s a hidden option available through a reset. To work with this option, you need to already be in a Windows 11 version. This will guarantee a clean installation for you if your device came pre-installed with Windows 11 or there are problems while updating from Windows 10 to Windows 11.
- On your Windows 11 device, go to “Settings -> System -> Recovery -> Reset this PC.”
- After a few simple on-screen steps, select “cloud download” as your new Windows 11 download source. This will ensure that the most up-to-date version of Windows 11 is installed on your PC via the cloud.
- The PC will reset and download the latest Windows 11 version.
- Your PC will restart several times for the reset to complete and Windows 11 to install.
6. Windows 11 Insider Preview (Optional – Not for General Users)
If you’re a developer, here’s how you can download and install the Windows 11 Insider Preview build. It is used to get an advanced sneak peek into the latest Windows versions before they are launched.
Enroll in Windows Insider Program
For each of its latest operating systems, Microsoft runs Windows Insider programs to enable free downloads and testing. Many years ago, you had to be a Microsoft developer/partner or affiliated in some way to get early-bird access.
Today, this is no longer the case, and anyone can become a Windows 11 insider. You only need an Outlook (or Hotmail/Live) email account, and your device has to be currently running an official version of Windows 10.
- The process of getting onboard with a Microsoft insider channel is called “flighting,” and once you click “Flight now,” you will be redirected to your PC’s Windows Insider menu. Alternatively, connect from your Windows 10 PC’s Windows Insider Program feature by clicking “Get Started” on the “Get Insider Preview build” option.
Use an email account registered in the Windows Insider program to access these preview builds. Ideally, the email account should be the one you used to register the device where you wish to install Windows 11.
- After you sign in with the registered account, wait a few minutes for the Insider registration to complete. You should see the status message: “You’re good to go. Thank you for registering for the Windows Insider program. Now let’s get your device set up.”
- Go back to the Windows Insider program settings. They can be accessed from the Start menu.
- The next step is very important. You can opt for a developer channel, which is supposed to be “for highly technical users” but will work on anyone’s PC as long as they can manage a few performance lags. Don’t run it on the PC you use daily, just in case.
- If you don’t want the rough edges on performance, click on the “dev channel” option and select the Beta or Release Preview channel from there. The remaining installation procedure is the same.
You can also unregister from the Windows Insider program on the page to stop getting new builds.
Check for Windows Updates to Access Windows 11 Insider Build
- Once the Dev (or Beta) channels have been saved in the Windows Insider settings, go to the Start menu and select “Check for updates.”
- Refresh the update screen a few times to see the option to download the Windows 11 Insider preview with build number (22000, etc.). If you have other pending Microsoft updates, finish them first before saving your channel settings. Otherwise, it can affect the download time for the Windows 11 update.
- Unfortunately, Microsoft does not provide an estimated time on when the installation should finish. Keep the device plugged in and leave it for a few hours. If you have a very high speed Internet connection, the installation should happen much faster. Make sure to use an unmetered Wi-Fi connection.
Finish the Windows 11 Insider Preview Updates
- Once you restart the system, it will install the Windows 11 insider preview build. You will be greeted by a blue screen: “Updates are underway. [number] % complete, please keep your computer on.”
This part of installation should not take very long, unlike the previous section’s preview build installation. However, you may have a different experience based on system RAM and any other settings. If the screen is stuck at a given number, do not worry, as it will clear on its own. It doesn’t take a long time to reach 100%.
- After the blue screen clears, the next step may be a bit more challenging. It’s Microsoft’s dreaded “black screen of death,” which takes an unusually long time. You have to be very patient. My system was stuck at 0% for nearly an hour. Only after that time did the needle start moving. In any case, it’s nothing to worry about, as long as you keep your device plugged in.
- Your system will restart a few times. The latter parts of the installation may finish very fast, leading to the Windows 11 launch screen.
If you don’t want to stick to Windows 11, you can easily go back to Windows 10, as it doesn’t take as long to downgrade as it does to upgrade. If you’d like to find out whether Windows 11 is the right fit for you before your upgrade, find out the top ten improvements in Windows 11.
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