DISCLAIMER: Windows 11 is in its last leg of development and is still not available for download from Microsoft’s website. For this reason, the steps in this guide use preview build that is publicly available on the internet. Though the steps for creating a bootable USB drive and using it to install a fresh copy of an OS should be similar across all computers, we are not responsible for any damages or inconveniences that could stem from this process.
For most users, upgrading and updating their operating systems is a momentous occasion; something exciting, after which they will be able to enjoy a wide variety of new features and elements. The upcoming Windows 11 release will probably be the same for many people, what with its numerous aspects to improve the quality of life of its users, as well as all the other interesting features that it’s bringing to the table.
However, for some seasoned users, or for the people who actually work in IT or related fields, installing or updating an operating system is basically just another Monday. And while Windows 11 is definitely shaping up to be an interesting new addition to Microsoft’s lineup of successful releases, which is probably going to be used by over a billion users worldwide, those who work in this field will probably be the ones servicing machines and ironing out the kinks and users issues that may arise from the initial growing pains.
More often than not, most of the issues that come from broken installation, malware attacks, or PC misuse, can be resolved by formatting drives and installing a fresh copy of Windows. However, it’s often the case that, on compromised systems, using the standard Windows recovery features is off the table or otherwise inaccessible. For cases like these, users can opt to format and install a fresh copy of Windows via a bootable USB drive, which can be created by downloading an ISO of the operating system.
Windows 11 probably won’t be an exception to this, as users will likely be able to freely download it from Microsoft’s website and install it on any machine, as long as they have a valid license. To this end, we’ve created this brief guide to show you how to download and install a fresh copy of Windows 11 to any computer, using an . ISO file.
Acquiring a Fresh Copy of Windows 11 from Microsoft’s Website
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a bootable USB drive is simply a USB stick that a PC can boot from, right before booting into the operating system. This is important in infected or compromised computers since it’s possible to reformat and install the OS without ever having to access the damaged copy itself.
The first step in the process is actually acquiring an ISO of the OS we want to install. In this case, it would be the most recent Windows 11 preview, which you can acquire for free if you’re a member of the Insider Program. To download your. ISO from the official website, follow these steps:
- Go to the Windows Insider Preview Downloads site by clicking on this link. You need to log in with a Microsoft Account that has been accepted into the Insider Program to access this page.
- Scroll to the bottom of the site and use the dropdown menu to choose the edition of Windows 11 you want. Click on “Confirm” to proceed.
- Choose the language of the OS in the next dropdown menu and click on “Confirm” once again.
- After the system validates your hardware, simply choose to click on the blue download button that will appear on the page.
After a few minutes, depending on your connection speed, you’ll have the .ISO file ready to be converted into a bootable USB drive.
Acquiring a Fresh Copy of Windows 11 from UUP Dump
In the case where you have a PC that meets the requirements for Windows 11 but are not eligible for the Insider Program, you can acquire any of these preview builds through UUP Dump, a website that serves as a repository of Windows builds, including all the builds from the Insider Program. These builds can also be used for installing the OS on test computers, for experimental purposes, or simply to tinker around with the OS in different environments.
To download from UUP Dump, follow these steps
- Go to https://uupdump.net/ and navigate to the “Downloads” section by clicking on the link on the top left.
- From the list, choose the correct Windows 11 build for your CPU.
- On the download screen, choose the desired language and click on “Next”.
- On the next part, choose the editions of Windows 11 that you want, and then click on “Next”.
- IMPORTANT: Before clicking on “Create download package” and finalizing the selection, make sure to check the option above that says “Download and convert to ISO”. This will ensure that you download the files necessary to create the ISO that you will install later on.
Once your download has finished, all it takes to create your ISO is navigating to your download directory, extracting all the files from the .rar file you just downloaded, and then clicking on the correct executable for your current operating system.
- For Windows: Run uup_download_windows.cmd
- For Mac: Run uup_download_macos.sh
- For Linux: Run uup_download_linux.sh
After a few minutes, your file should be ready in .ISO format. You can find it in the directory where you ran the executable; it should be the only .ISO file in the folder.
Installing Windows 11 From a Bootable USB Drive
With our .ISO file in hand, we can go ahead and create a bootable USB drive. For this part of the process, we’ll need a flash drive with at least 8 GB of capacity. Moreover, while Windows has its own tool for creating bootable USB drives, we’ve had mixed success with it. For this reason, we recommend using Rufus, free software with which you can easily and quickly create bootable drives from an .ISO file.
Once you download and install Rufus, follow these easy steps to create your bootable USB drive:
- Plug your USB drive and run Rufus.
- In the app window, choose the correct device from the dropdown menu, in case you have multiple drives connected.
- On the “Boot Selection” field below, click on “Select” and browse to the .ISO file you just created earlier. Double click on it to select it.
- Leave the other options as is, and click on “START” at the bottom to begin the process.
- After a few minutes, your bootable USB drive should be ready for use.
- With your bootable drive ready, the only thing left to do is restart your PC into your BIOS, and select the option to manually boot from the corresponding USB drive.
- If done correctly, you should boot into the Windows setup process. Follow all the on-screen instructions to install and run Windows 11.
Since you’re running a preview version of Windows 11, you’ll likely run into issues further down the line. For this reason, we recommend installing it into a separate partition so that you can return to your current OS in case something goes wrong.
Keep in mind that the entire UUP Dump part of this process is only necessary if you’re ineligible for the Insider Program, or if for some reason Windows 11 is still unavailable for download from Microsoft’s website. However, once the OS starts rolling out and users get access, they will probably put the full version online for everyone to download, as is the case with Windows 10 currently.
Good luck and happy testing!