How to Install Windows 11 on Your Computer
Windows 11 can be a great operating system because of the emphasis on the next generation user experience. While the official release is still a few months away, developers can get a glimpse of insider releases. If you are one of those who manage to get your hands on a copy of the Windows 11 ISO, you can install Windows 11 on your computer by following this guide.
WarningA: Microsoft does not support leaked versions of Windows 11, and even the developer version is unstable. Do not install them on equipment that you would use regularly at work. There are currently no beta releases, just pre-releases. Keep your Windows 10 recovery drive handy if you’re having trouble installing.
Observe: This article assumes that you have already obtained a copy of the Windows 11 ISO.
1. Download and install the official Windows 10 ISO
First you need the official version of the latest Windows 10. Microsoft host it here as an executable file called “Windows 10 Media Creation Tool”. Download and install it so you can make your own copy of the official Windows 10 ISO.
There is a license agreement that you must accept.
In the next step, you will be asked what you want to do with the installation media. Select “Create installation media via USB drive, DVD or ISO file”.
In the Multimedia Format section, select the ISO file that is on the same Windows device that you plan to use Windows 11 with. Do not select the USB flash drive option.
Sit down and wait a moment for Windows 10 to load. The result is a huge ISO file that is about 4-5GB.
2. Move the Windows 11 ISO
Use Windows 11 ISO to move it to a new folder right next to the Windows 10 ISO device you created in the previous step. I have created a folder on my computer called “Win 11” to host both versions of the operating system. You should also create a subfolder shown here, such as “Win 11 2”. This subfolder plays an important role in creating a working copy of Windows 11. (Learn more about this below.)
3. Make a small change to the Windows 10 ISO folder
Select the Windows 10 ISO file and double-click to install it on your computer.
After the Windows 10 drive is installed, copy the entire contents of this folder.
Paste the contents of the Windows 10 ISO folder into the subfolder created above, which will be displayed as “Win 11 2”.
Browse the “Sources” subfolder to find a large file called “install.esd” or “install.wim”. This is the largest file in the folder, about 3-4 GB in size, so you can’t miss it.
Our trick is to remove the installation file from the Windows 10 ISO and replace it with the corresponding installation file in the Windows 11 ISO.
Install the Windows 11 ISO and copy it from the “Sources” location to the “install.wim” or “install.esd” file in the subfolder above.
4. Convert the edited folder to ISO format
After changing the folder where we want to create a bootable Windows 11 disk, the next task is to convert the folder to an ISO file using ImgBurn. You need to install it from a secure website for Windows software downloads. Open the application from the search box or the Start menu.
Select the “Create image file from files / folders” option.
ImgBurn has two panels. In the left panel, select the source folder created in the previous section.
Go to the right panel and make the image bootable in “Advanced -> Bootable Disk”. You should also select the startup image that is located in the custom Windows 11 installation folder.
Select the “etfsboot” file from the “boot” subfolder. This is your startup image.
When you’re done, select an item for the ISO file to boot, preferably to the same folder you’re working from. Click “Burn” to start burning the image.
You will get a dialog box that shows the number of files and folders. Click “Yes” or “OK” to proceed to the next steps and wait a few minutes for the Windows 11 installation folder to be converted to ISO. There is dull background music that shows that the ISO is ready.
5. Create a bootable “Windows 11” installation
A USB drive is required to create a bootable installation of Windows 11 from the above ISO standard. Rufus is one of the best software for creating a bootable USB drive. To use Rufus, follow the instructions provided here.
You can also rename the disc to a new name or another.
Once the Windows 11 USB installation device is created, you can preview it on your computer. It is now ready for installation.
6. Install Windows 11 on your computer
To install Windows 11 on your computer, you must restart it by inserting a bootable USB media. Depending on the manufacturer of your computer, you will need to find the startup keys that you may have exit, F12, or whatever. In this example, your small startup keys F12 which resulted in unique boot parameters.
Be sure to enter the startup keys as soon as the system restarts. If you do not press them in time, the computer will start up in normal mode. From the available options, select the USB drive as the boot device.
You will notice the Windows 11 installation screen and you will need to select the language, time and currency format, and keyboard / input method.
In the next step, click “install now” to continue installing Windows 11.
You must sign the applicable declaration and license.
Select “Windows Custom Installation Only (Advanced)” from the installation type you select. Do not select the Update option.
Select the disk on which you want to install Windows 11. You can try to install it on a virtual machine if your copy of Windows 11 supports virtual installations. Otherwise, there is no choice but to replace the original Windows 10 installation.
You receive a warning message from Microsoft that you can no longer use an earlier version of Windows 10 after you replace it with a new operating system. Make sure this is not your production / daily operating system.
When you click OK, Windows 11 will start installing on your hard drive. Sit down and wait for the updates to finish as it will take a little time.
After a few restarts, the new Windows 11 operating system will be installed on your computer. Since this is just a pre-release, you can expect a lot of mistakes. Keep the recovery drive handy if you ever want to go back to Windows 10.
Because Windows 11 does not yet have an official version, this installation is more of a workaround. When Microsoft officially releases Windows 11 ISO to the public, the installation method is similar, minus Windows 10. For some, unless you are a pioneer or developer, we recommend that you wait for the official release. For now, check out some questions about Windows 11.