How to Install Windows 11 from USB? – Step by Step Guide

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What is Microsoft?

Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology corporation that produces computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Wikipedia.

Microsoft has published the official ISO files for Windows 11, meaning you can install it quickly from a USB or other flash drive. Here’s how

Introduction to Windows 11

Windows 11 was officially declared back in June, but it’s now finally available to download. There are already a handful of new devices with the Operating System pre-installed, with plenty more on the way shortly.

If you have a fit Windows 10 device, you can install Windows 11 now. The Windows 11 download page is now live, with the Installation Assistant creating it easy to get up and running.

That’s also where you will find the official ISO file. It’s the most comfortable way to transfer it to a USB stick or other flash drive and install it on as many eligible devices as you wish.

Despite it being officially supported by Microsoft, the process is still very complicated. Here’s what you want to know.

Check you have enough space

Before the process, it’s worth making sure you won’t run out of space at any stage. The Windows 11 ISO file is 5.1 GB in size, so you will require that extra capacity on the device where it’s being downloaded, each flash drives you’re using, and the target devices.

If this is proving difficult, the tips in our guide to freeing up space in Windows 10 could be useful. If there are files you do not require quickly, it’s worth backing them up and then performing a factory reset. You can then choose what you require back on your PC at a later date.

Download the ISO file

Previously, the download process involved signing into a Microsoft account and registering for the Windows Insider Program. It’s much simpler now:

  • Head to the official Windows 11 download page
  • Following ‘Create Windows 11 installation media, Hit ‘Download Now.
  • Media Creation Tool 3: The Media Creation Tool will now download. Once finished, double-click to run it
  • 4: Follow the step-by-step guide to download the ISO file

If you want to keep every one of your existing files and data, make sure you select this choice. Once installed, this will run Windows 11 as if you have just got the device out of the box.

However, the process of installing it from a USB is a bit more complex.

Move it to a USB

The first stage is very simple. The ISO file will look in File Explorer (or Finder, if you were using a Macbook), just like any other download. Just plug in your USB stick or other flash drive and transfer it as you normally would – it’s a heavy file, so this may take a minute or two.

Once it’s on the USB, make sure you remove it before unplugging.

Run Windows 11 from the USB

This is where things get tricky. That USB stick you’ve just used needs to be made bootable for it to run Windows 11 once it’s plugged in. Microsoft recommends using Rufus for this:

  1. Download and run the latest version of Rufus (3.15 at the time of writing) to the device where Windows 11 has also been downloaded
  2. Insert the USB on which the ISO file will be mounted on. Make sure it has at least 8 GB free and all other files have been removed
  3. From the main Rufus window, Select the relevant USB under ‘Device’
  4. Select ‘NTFS’ under ‘File system’ and ‘MBR’ under ‘Partition scheme’
  5. To the right of ‘Boot selection’, click ‘SELECT’ and choose the ISO file
  6. Click ‘Start’ to initiate the process – how long this takes depends on the speed of your USB stick

Rufus Once complete, you now have a USB stick that can be used for a clean installation of Windows 11 on any compatible device.

  1. Plug the USB stick into the target device
  2. Restart the device
  3. Before the Windows logo seems, hold the F8 key to enter Safe Mode
  4. From here, choose ‘Use a device’ and select the USB stick

Your PC should now boot running the Windows 11 ISO file you downloaded. If not, you may want to turn off Safe Boot in the BIOS settings.

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