Those of you who want to try out the current Insiders preview edition of Windows 11 can easily work with the new operating system through an ISO file. Having such a file gives you the flexibility to install the operating system wherever you want: a dedicated PC, a dual-boot system, or a virtual machine. Now that Microsoft has finally released an ISO file for Windows 11, Insiders Preview, you can download and store it for easy access. Here’s how.
If you’re having trouble trying to install or run Windows 11, be aware that Microsoft’s system requirements have increased. You now need a TPM chip installed on your computer to run the new operating system, which may or may not require you to dig into your PC’s BIOS to turn it on.
Sign up for the Windows Insider program
Accessing the Windows 11 ISO file requires that you be part of Microsoft’s Windows Insider program, so you’ll need to sign up for it 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 on 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 Downloads page and sign in with the Microsoft account you used for the Insider program. Scroll to Select edition section. Click the drop-down menu to Select edition.
Here you can choose Windows 11 Insider Preview (Developer Channel) or Windows 11 Insider Preview (Beta Channel). The Dev channel contains the latest features and updates for Windows 11, but can be more choppy. The beta channel contains features and updates that have already been tweaked by Microsoft and is more stable.
If you are planning to use Windows 11 in a test environment, want to get the latest features, and don’t worry about 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 another for the beta channel if you want to try both in different environments.) In any case, select the channel you want, and then click To confirm.
Next, select the product language, then click To confirm. Click it To download for your chosen version and language and save the file to your PC. After the file is downloaded, you can then work with the ISO file in various ways.
Option 1: Configure a virtual machine
If you plan to install Windows 11 in a virtual machine, you can directly use the ISO file. I tried two free VM products with Windows 11: VMware Workstation Player and Oracle VM VirtualBox. VMware Workstation accepted Windows 11 Preview edition without any problem; Oracle VM VirtualBox had some issues, although I was able to get it to work with a few tweaks. For this reason, you will likely have an easier out-of-the-box experience using VMware Workstation Player.
When you create your virtual machine, VMware Workstation Player prompts you for the location and name of your installation disk image file. Find and select your downloaded Windows 11 ISO file. Click on Next then follow the steps to configure the virtual machine and install Windows 11.
Option 2: install the file directly
If you want to install Windows 11 directly on your current PC from the ISO file, you need to mount the file first to access the configure command. Open File Explorer in Windows 10 or 8.1, right click on the Windows 11 ISO file and select Rise in the context menu.
Sometimes a third-party program disables the built-in Mount command so that it does not show up on the menu. In this case, you will need to reset your default program to restart the command. In Windows 10, go to Settings> Apps> Default apps and scroll to the bottom of the page. Click it Set default values per application connect. In the list of applications, click on the one for Windows Disc Image Burner and click Manage.
Go back to File Explorer and right-click 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. This virtual drive contains the setup.exe file.
Double click on this file to install Windows 11. When finished, right click on the virtual drive and select the Eject order. This removes the virtual drive, although your ISO file remains intact. Click on the current default application for .iso and change it to Windows Explorer.
Option 3: Burn ISO file to disc or USB stick
Another option is to burn the ISO file to a disc to install Windows 11 on any computer. However, the Windows 11 ISO file is over 5GB, which means it won’t fit on a standard DVD. Instead, you’ll need to use a double-layer or double-layer (DL) DVD, which can store 8.5GB of data, as long as your drive supports these types of discs. Another option is to use a Blu-ray disc, if your PC has a Blu-ray drive.
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Insert a blank DVD or Blu-ray disc into your PC’s disc drive. Open File Explorer and right click on the ISO file. In the context menu, select the Burn a disc image order. The Windows Disc Image Burner tool appears and should point to your DVD or Blu-ray drive. Click on To burn.
Depending on your installation settings, you can then install your program from the disc automatically by placing it in the drive of a PC or by double-clicking the installation file on the disc as it appears in the file explorer.
An efficient way to burn ISO to disc or copy it to USB drive is by using a free Microsoft tool called Windows USB / DVD Download Tool. This program copies the contents of the ISO file to a disk or USB stick, which then 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 it Execute as administrator option. Once the installation is complete, launch the tool and then locate and choose the ISO file you want to burn or copy. Click on Next, then choose either usb device Where DVD.
If you opt for USB, the next screen will ask you to insert the USB media. If you have multiple USB drives plugged into your PC, make sure you choose the correct one. Click on Start copying to copy the file to the player.
If the USB flash drive still contains data, it will be erased. Click on Erase the USB stick to make room for Windows files. After the files are copied, the tool will tell you that the bootable USB device has been created successfully. You can then use your USB device to install the program.
If you choose DVD, insert blank double layer / double layer DVD or Blu-ray disc into your drive and click Start engraving. The tool will notify you once the DVD has been burned successfully. You can now use your bootable DVD to install the program.
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