How to Download and Install Windows 11 From an ISO File Guide

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Check How to Download and Install Windows 11 From an ISO File

Now that Windows 11 has passed the beta stage, you can upgrade to an official release version of the operating system without joining the Windows Insider program. But what if you’re still waiting for the Windows update, a process that can take months? What if you just want to launch Windows 11 on an older or experimental PC, without first installing an activated copy of Windows 10? Or what if you want to start fresh without removing all your previous programs and settings?

What you need is a Windows 11 ISO file that you can boot and use for clean installs or in-place upgrades. Fortunately, there are a few ways to get one. First of all, you can download Windows 11 ISO directly from Microsoft. Second, you can use tools from a site called UUP Dump to download a file from Microsoft’s update server and create a custom ISO that’s fully up-to-date with an internal build that’s even newer than the release build. Finally, you can use Aveyo’s open source Universal MediaCreationTool to create an ISO that bypasses the Windows 11 TPM requirement.

Whichever method you choose, you’ll use your Windows 11 ISO file to create a bootable USB flash drive or install Windows 11 in a virtual machine. You can even get away with giving up the product key so you can run the new OS completely free (at least for now).

Sign up for the Windows Insider Program

Getting access to the Windows 11 ISO file requires you to be part of Microsoft’s Windows Insider program, so you’ll need to sign up if you haven’t already. To join this program, you will need to use a Microsoft account. Open the Windows Insider page and sign in with the Microsoft account you want to use. On the registration page, check the box to accept the terms of this agreement and click Register Now. On the next page, click the Fly Now button to learn more about the Insider Program.

Download ISO file

Your next step is to download the actual ISO file. Go to the Windows Insider Preview download page and sign in with the Microsoft account you used for the Insider program. Scroll down to the Select Edition section. Click the dropdown menu for Select Edition. Here, you can choose Windows 11 Insider Preview (dev channel) or Windows 11 Insider Preview (beta channel). The Dev channel contains the latest features and updates for Windows 11, but can be more unstable. The Beta channel contains features and updates that have already been polished by Microsoft and is more stable.

If you plan to use Windows 11 in a test environment, want the latest features, and don’t mind a few bugs, the Dev channel is the way to go. Otherwise, the Beta channel may be more appropriate. (You can also download two copies of the ISO file, one for the Dev channel and one for the Beta channel if you want to test both in different environments.) Either way, select the channel you want and then click Confirm. Next, select the product language and then click Confirm. Click the Download button for the build and language you chose and save the file to your PC. Once the file has been downloaded, you can work with the ISO file in different ways.

Set up a virtual machine

If you plan to install Windows 11 on a virtual machine, you can use the ISO file directly. I tried two free VM products with Windows 11 VMware Workstation Player and Oracle VM VirtualBox. VMware Workstation accepted the preview edition of Windows 11 with no problems; Oracle VM VirtualBox had a few hiccups, though I was able to get it to work with a few tweaks.

For that reason, you’ll likely have an easier out-of-the-box experience with VMware Workstation Player. When you create your virtual machine, VMware Workstation Player prompts for the location and name of your installation disk image file. Browse and select your downloaded Windows 11 ISO file. Click Next, and then follow the steps to set up the virtual machine and install Windows 11.

Install the file directly

If you want to install Windows 11 directly on your current PC from the ISO file, you must first mount the file to access the install command. Open File Explorer in Windows 10 or 8.1, right-click the Windows 11 ISO file, and select Mount from the pop-up menu. Sometimes a third-party program disables the built-in mount command so it doesn’t appear in the menu. In that case, you will need to reset your default program to revive the command. In Windows 10, go to Settings > Apps > Default apps and scroll to the bottom of the page. Click the Set Defaults by Application link. In the list of applications, click Windows Disc Image Burner and click Manage.

Go back to File Explorer and right-click on the ISO file again. The Mount command should now appear in the menu. Running the Mount command opens a virtual drive visible in the File Explorer sidebar, from which you can install the software. That virtual drive contains the setup.exe file. Double-click that file to install Windows 11. When you’re done, right-click the virtual drive and select the Eject command. That deletes the virtual drive, although its ISO file remains intact. Click on the current default app for .iso and change it to Windows Explorer.

Burn the ISO file to a disc or USB drive

Another option is to burn the ISO file to disc to install Windows 11 on any computer. However, the Windows 11 ISO file is over 5 GB in size, which means it won’t fit on a standard DVD. Instead, you’d have to use a double-layer or double-layer (DL) DVD, which can store 8.5 GB of data, as long as your drive supports such discs. Another option is to use a Blu-ray disc, if your PC is equipped with a Blu-ray drive.

Insert a blank DVD or Blu-ray disc into your PC’s disc drive. Open File Explorer and right click on the ISO file. From the pop-up menu, select the Burn Disc Image command. The Windows Disc Image Burner tool will appear and should point to your DVD or Blu-ray drive. Click Save. Depending on your installation setup, you can install your program from disk automatically by placing it in a PC drive or by double-clicking the installation file on the disk as displayed in File Explorer.

An efficient way to burn the ISO to a disc or copy it to a USB is through a free tool from Microsoft called the Windows USB/DVD Download Tool. This prog
ram copies the contents of the ISO file to a disc or USB drive, which is then it becomes bootable. This method is useful if you want to install Windows 11 on a clean computer or as part of a dual-boot setup. Microsoft no longer offers this utility on its website, but you can still find it on other sites such as FileHippo and Major Geeks.

After downloading the Windows7-USB-DVD-Download-Tool-Installer.exe file, right-click on it and choose the Run as administrator option. Once the installation is complete, launch the tool and then browse and choose the ISO file you want to burn or copy. Click Next, then choose USB or DVD device. If you choose USB, the next screen will ask you to insert the USB device. If you have more than one USB drive connected to your PC, make sure you choose the correct one. Click Start Copy to copy the file to the drive.

If the USB drive still contains data, it will be erased. Click Erase USB Drive to make room for Windows files. Once the files have been copied, the tool will tell you that the bootable USB device was successfully created. You can then use your USB stick to install the program. If you choose a DVD, insert a blank dual-layer/dual-layer DVD or Blu-ray disc into your drive and click Start Burning. The tool will inform you once the DVD has been burned successfully. Now you can use your bootable DVD to install the program.

Final remarks: How to Download and Install Windows 11 From an ISO File

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