Now that Windows 11 is available for Insiders, many are curious to see just how much of a difference the newest upgrade is, and are looking into how to download it.
After rumors were abound of an October release date, it was finally confirmed by Microsoft, with a release date of October 5.
There was a leaked build before Windows 11 was official, but we strongly advise to follow the Insider program that has the testing build available, ready to go.
With features such as Widgets, a new start menu, a big focus on gaming alongside much more, there's plenty to like from this new Windows release even before we've seen the final build.
What's more, the Windows 11 download is going to be a free upgrade if you have Windows 7 and above, so there's no reason to try and find a pirated version of an incomplete operating system.
However, if you only have the one PC, we do recommend holding off from installing it, or at least installing it on a partition if you really want to give it a try.
We know, waiting sucks, but when it is released next month you'll know how to download Windows 11 by following this handy little guide.
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Windows 11 Minimum system requirements
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with at least two cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or SoC
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 64GB
- System Firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- TPM: Trusted Platform Module 2.0
- Graphics Card: DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
- Display: 720p, 8-bit per color channel, at least 9-inch diagonal
- Internet Connection and Microsoft Account: Windows 11 Home requires an active internet connection and a Microsoft Account to complete initial, first-use setup of the operating system, or when switching a device out of Windows 11 Home in S-mode.
For a complete list of additional, non-essential requirements, check out Microsoft's Windows 11 specification page.
What are the features?
If you're still prepared to try out the build, there's other features to consider even if you've read through our rundown of the upgrade.
Windows 11 now features a more detailed health-check app, which can recommend certain tasks to better prolong your PC, regardless of whether it's a desktop or laptop.
The newest Insider build also has better support for more than one monitor, so you can easily sort the taskbar when needed, alongside more snap layouts available when in portrait mode on a touch-display.
Make sure to 'Check for Updates' when a new build is released to have the latest fixes and features of Windows 11.
How to download Windows 11
Before you begin, make sure your PC meets the Windows 11 minimum specifications listed above. If it does, you should then back up your PC before continuing.
This ensures that if anything goes wrong – and updating to an early version of a new operating system is full or risks – your important files and settings can at least be restored.
Once done, you'll need to sign up to the Windows Insider Program.
1. Join the Windows Insider Program
To do this, open up the Settings app and click on 'Update & Security', then 'Windows Insider Program'.
You may need to turn on optional diagnostic data to see this option. To do that go to Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics & feedback and choose 'Optional diagnostic data'.
In the 'Windows Insider Program' window, click 'Get started' to join. From the window that appears, click 'Link an account' and pick your Microsoft Account and click 'Continue'.
2. Join the Dev Channel
At the moment, the Windows 11 Insider build is only available to people using the Dev Channel. This is meant for app developers, and gives people access to very early versions of Windows 11. Again, make sure you are happy to install what is likely to be quite an early build with various issues included.
If you just want a PC that works as normal, we'd avoid Windows 11 for now. However, if you really want to try out Windows 11, in the 'Pick your Insider settings' page that appears, select 'Dev Channel', then 'Confirm'.
Another window will appear with an explanation of what you can expect from this early build. As long as you are happy to proceed, click 'Confirm'.
You'll then need to restart your PC. Make sure everything is saved, and click 'Restart Now' on the window that appears.
3. Install the Windows 11 Insider Preview build
Once you've restarted, open up the Windows Update app. You can do this by searching for 'Windows Update' in the search bar in the taskbar of Windows 10.
You can also open it by going to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
In the window that appears, click 'Check for updates'. The Windows 11 Insider Preview build should appear, and you can download and install it as if it was a regular Windows 10 update.
4. Perform a clean install of Windows 11
The above steps upgrade your Windows 10 PC to Windows 11. However, if you want to install Windows 11 from scratch, you can download the Windows 11 Insider Preview ISO.
Make sure you are signed up to the Windows Insider Program and are in the Dev Channel (shown in steps 1 and 2 of this guide), then scroll to the bottom of the page.
Under 'Select edition' pick Windows 11. Once the ISO is downloaded, you'll need to make a bootable USB or DVD with it.
Follow our how to install Windows 10 via USB or DVD guide for more information. Although it is for installing Windows 10, the process for Windows 11 will be the same.
Should I install Windows 11 Beta on my main PC?
We strongly recommend against this, as it could be prone to bugs that could crash your PC, or even wipe your files. If you have enough space for a new partition on your hard drive, install the Insider Build version there.
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