Since Windows 11 has been released to Insiders, many are eager to find out how much it differs from Windows 10 and are looking into how to download it on their PCs and laptops.
While Microsoft has scheduled the software for “Holiday 2021”, there is talk of it debuting in October based on screenshots released since its announcement in June.
Even before we’ve seen the final build, there’s plenty to like about this new release of Windows, including Widgets, a new start menu, a large focus on gaming, and much more.
Furthermore, if you have Windows 7 or above, you will be able to download the free Windows 11 upgrade, so there’s no reason to try and obtain a dangerous pirated version of the system.
We do recommend leaving it to install on a partition or hold off on it for a bit if you have only one computer as the system is still in its testing stage and might cause unexpected issues with your device or loss of important data.
However, if you’re ready to proceed and explore the new features of the upcoming Microsoft’s Windows 11, continue by the guide below.
Windows 11 Minimum system requirements
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with at least two cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or SoC
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 64GB
- System Firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- TPM: Trusted Platform Module 2.0
- Graphics Card: DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
- Display: 720p, 8-bit per color channel, at least 9-inch diagonal
- Internet Connection and Microsoft Account: Windows 11 Home requires an active internet connection and a Microsoft Account to complete the initial, first-use setup of the operating system, or when switching a device out of Windows 11 Home in S-mode.
How to download Windows 11
Firstly, check that your computer meets the Windows 11 minimum requirements (above) before you proceed any further. If yes, then you should then create a backup of your PC before proceeding.
By doing this, if something goes wrong – and updating to a new operating system in the beta can be full of risks – at least your important files and settings can be restored.
Once you safely back up your previous system, sign up for the Windows Insider Program.
1. Join the Windows Insider Program
To join the Windows Insider Program, open the Settings app and navigate to Update & Security, then click on Windows Insider Program.
For some, this option may only be visible if optional diagnostic data is turned on. To turn the function on, go to Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics & feedback and choose ‘Optional diagnostic data‘.
To join, click ‘Get started‘ in the Windows Insider Program window. Click ‘Link an account‘, then select your Microsoft Account and click ‘Continue’.
2. Join the Dev Channel
Currently, only those using the Dev Channel can download the Windows 11 Insider build. This preview is tailored for app developers, enabling them to use very early previews of Windows 11. Ensure that you are comfortable with installing what is likely to be a fairly early build with possibly numerous issues.
If you are happy to continue installing the Windows 11 beta, when the ‘Pick your Insider settings‘ page appears, select ‘Dev Channel‘ and ‘Confirm’.
There will be another window that explains what you can expect from this early build. Click ‘Confirm’ if you are happy to proceed.
At this point, you’ll then need to restart your PC – make sure you save all your previous work and click on ‘Restart Now’ in the window.
3. Install the Windows 11 Insider Preview build
After restarting your PC, open the Windows Update app either via Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update or by searching Windows Update in the taskbar search bar at the bottom of your screen.
Click on ‘Check for updates‘ when the window appears. The Windows 11 Insider Preview build should appear there, which you can then download and install as if it was a regular Windows 10 update. You may need to restart your PC or Laptop once again after successfully installing the Windows 11 Insider Preview build ‘update’.
How to do a clean install of Windows 11
Following these steps above, you will easily upgrade your Windows 10 to Windows 11 while all your files should stay where they are. For those who wish to install Windows 11 from scratch, you can download Windows 11 Insider Preview ISO here.
You will need to sign up for the Windows Insider Program and be in the Dev Channel (described in steps 1 and 2) to access the official Windows 11 Insider Preview ISO download page. After logging in, scroll to the bottom of the page and pick Windows 11 under ‘Select edition’.
Your next step will be to make a bootable USB or DVD once you have downloaded the ISO.
1. Creating your install disk / USB
Now that you have your ISO file, it’s time to create your install disk. You may need any of the ISO burning tools available on the internet, for example, Rufus, ImgBurn, or DAEMON tools.
If you wish to put the Windows 11 onto a USB flash drive, insert the USB drive into the computer’s port and open Rufus. On the main screen, select your USB flash drive under the ‘device’ option. Choose your ISO and click on ‘start’ to launch the process of creating a bootable disk. The process usually takes about 10 – 15 minutes.
If you wish to burn the Windows 11 onto a DVD disc, you may use the ImgBurn app. Insert your DVD disc into your optical drive and select ‘write image file to disc‘. Double-check that your DVD drive is selected as the destination. Next, under the “source” header, select the Windows 11 ISO file and click the start icon. This process might take a bit longer to finish, depending on your optical drive speeds.
Install the Windows 11 from USB or DVD
If you have previously installed it from a USB or DVD, this part should be fairly straightforward. A bit more attention to certain steps may be required for beginners, but don’t worry, the whole process is not as complicated as it may look at the first sight.
- As a first step, restart your computer with the USB drive or DVD inserted.
- When your laptop’s or desktop’s manufacturer logo shows up on the screen during the BIOS loading (during the first couple of seconds), press F12 or F2 (this varies by manufacturer) which will open the boot menu. That’s the place where we can instruct the computer to boot the system from your boot DVD or USB, rather than loading from the internal memory as usual.
- Select whether your computer will boot from USB or DVD when the boot menu appears. The menu often varies, depending on the computer’s/bios brand, so there might be other steps in the menu to open the selection. Once you find and change the loading preference, Save and Exit. Your computer will then restart and load from the disk you chose.
2. Begin the clean installation
- The most important part is behind you now. After the Windows installer loads up, you will be able to select your language settings and click ‘Next’ following click on “Install Now“.
- Once you have accepted the licensing agreement, you will be shown options to either upgrade or perform a clean installation. If you wish to keep everything from your current Windows installation, simply click upgrade and follow the steps. This will override the Windows system data but keep all your documents.
For a fresh installation or if you are on a newly built computer, select custom. Your disk partitions will appear on the following screen.
If you’re installing the new Windows on a freshly built computer, you can just click the “unallocated space” partition and click next. However, if you’re just going to perform a clean installation on your current computer, you’ll need to delete your old partitions, then click on “unallocated space” and then click Next. This will erase all the data from the disk and you can then begin a fresh Windows installation.
The installation process will copy all the necessary files from your USB disk or DVD while restarting your computer a couple of times during the process. After a couple of minutes, a Setup Wizard/Guide will show up where you can choose which Windows edition you’d like to choose, connect to the internet, log in to the Microsoft account, and set up the basic settings such as languages or privacy.
Please note that in some cases, you may be prompted to enter your product key after the installation, especially after installing new Windows onto a brand-new computer.
After successful installation of fresh Windows, your first step (for security and system stability reasons) should be to go to Settings > Updates and perform necessary updates to the latest version of the system.
Congratulations! That’s it, you did it! You can now enjoy the new Windows 11!