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How to install Windows 11: Your complete guide to Windows Update, ISOs, and more
Windows 11 is here, and it comes with a lot of questions. Windows upgrades are usually no-nonsense, but Windows 11 has brought along a higher standard for hardware compatibility. This means that actually installing the Windows 11 update, while free of charge, is a little trickier. There is some flexibility to the hardware requirements though, even if you may not have a system that looks eligible on paper. Here is our complete guide on how to install Windows 11 right now.
See also: Should you upgrade to Windows 11?
JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS
Windows 11 system requirements: Will my PC run Windows 11?
Windows 11 has a stricter set of minimum requirements for eligibility than Windows 10. Microsoft has updated the Windows 11 system requirements a couple of times, and it will likely provide some more flexibility to them. It will not stop you from manually installing Windows 11 on older systems as long as they meet these system requirements, but the bar is set higher for updates via Windows Update.
For now, here are the absolute minimum system requirements needed to install Windows 11.
|Windows 11 system requirements|
1GHz or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
64GB or larger storage device
UEFI, Secure Boot capable
Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
Compatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
High definition (720p) display that is greater than 9” diagonally, 8 bits per colour channel
Internet connection and Microsoft account
Windows 11 Home edition requires internet connectivity and a Microsoft account
Current Windows version
Windows 10, version 2004 or later
If you want the official upgrade via Windows Update, you’ll still need to have an 8th gen or newer Intel CPU, or a Zen 2 or newer AMD CPU, UEFI secure boot, and TPM 2.0. You will also need at least 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Microsoft has a couple of apps to help with the compatibility and installation in case you’re unable to get the update via Windows Update. More on that in the next section.
Also read: How to stop the Windows 11 update
How to install Windows 11
If you have a PC running Windows 10, Windows 11 is available to eligible PCs via Windows Update. If your system meets the minimum requirements listed above, you can go ahead with the update. There is a way to double-check whether your system is eligible for this upgrade, just to be sure.
Additionally, your system needs to have an activated Windows 10 license and run on Windows 10 (version 2004 or higher). You will also need 9GB of free disk space to download the update.
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to install Windows 11:
Head over to the official Windows 11 website, and download the PC Health Checker app.
Once downloaded, open the installer file, and install the PC Health Checker app.
Open the PC Health Checker app. It may ask you to sign in to your Microsoft account, in case you’re not. Proceed to check your free upgrade eligibility by clicking Check now.
The app will show you your system’s eligibility for the free Windows 11 upgrade. You can check the details by clicking See all results.
If your system is eligible, head over to Windows Update. Open it by heading over to the Settings app, and clicking Update & Security. If you’re due to get the update, it should show up when you check for updates.
If the update doesn’t show up, you can bypass the waiting period by downloading Microsoft’s Windows 11 Installation Assistant. Run the app. It will check the system requirements again, and then present you with the license terms.
The update will begin downloading. Wait for the Windows 11 update to finish downloading, and then installing.
After the installation bar is full, you will get a prompt to restart your PC to finish the installation. If you ignore the prompt, the assistant will restart your system automatically, 30 minutes after the installation process percentage hits 100, so make sure you pay attention and save your work, or at least click Restart later.
After the restart, the process will go on like any other new recent Windows OS boot setup. It will take some time to install the update, and your PC will restart a few times. Follow the process, and congrats, you’ve successfully installed Windows 11!
How to install Windows 11 on unsupported PCs with an ISO
The process of installing Windows 11 from an ISO image actually has three steps. First, you’ll need to get a Windows 11 ISO, then you need to create a bootable USB drive, and lastly, you’ll need to perform the actual installation. We’ve split up the process to make it easier.
Downloading the official Windows 11 ISO
Head over to the official Windows 11 ISO web page.
Under Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO), click the Select Download dropdown menu, and select Windows 11.
Click the blue Download button underneath. A language selection dropdown menu will pop up.
Hit Confirm. The download link will appear embedded in a blue button that reads 64-bit Download. Click it to start the ISO download. Note that this link will be valid for 24 hours from the time of creation.
Downloading a Windows 11 ISO with TPM bypass
Trusted Platform Module aka TPM is one of the key requirements that Microsoft is enforcing for Windows 11. Newer systems may require you to bypass this, and there’s a way to do that with Windows 11 ISOs as of now.
Download AveYo’s Universal MediaCreationTool from Github. It’s a compressed zip file.
Extract the zip file. Run the MediaCreationTool BAT file in the extracted folder by double-clicking it. Windows will flag it as a potentially suspicious file, but click More info and then Run anyway.
The app will run and give you a pop-up to pick the version you want for the ISO download and creation. Click 11.
Another pop-up will appear. Click Create ISO.
Give permission to Windows Powershell when requested. The ISO download and creation process will begin. Note that this procedure uses the old Windows 10 media creation tool, so the progress window will say Windows 10 instead of 11. You can ignore that, as the end ISO will be Windows 11, without the TPM checks. Also note that you can click Create USB if you want to skip the hassle of using another app.
Related: How to factory reset your Windows 11 without reinstalling
Create a bootable Windows 11 USB drive
Now that we have our ISO, we can create the Windows 11 bootable to install the OS. You can do this by using the Windows 11 Media Creation tool. Here are the steps.
- Download Rufus. Pick the latest version.
- Click the SELECT button next to the Boot Selection label. Navigate and select your saved Windows 11 ISO file.
- Make sure the Partition Scheme label says GPT, and the Target system label says UEFI (non CSM).
- Click the Start button, and then the OK button to confirm. Rufus will finish creating a bootable Windows 11 USB.
You can then use the bootable USB to install the update by opening the setup file from it, or booting off of the drive by using boot options when your computer is starting up, with the drive plugged in.
As this is an unofficial solution, we recommend that you stick to Microsoft’s official methods in order to get the best experience and avoid any issues. If you do choose to follow the other options you do so at your own risk.