The ISO for Windows 11 has been released by Microsoft. With the provided ISO image, you can now perform a clean installation of Windows 11. In the past, Windows 11 could only be installed by upgrading from Windows 10 and selecting the appropriate Windows Insider program.
The use of ISO is increasingly important for testers who wish to test Windows 11 in different scenarios since it is not always possible to upgrade to the new OS.
Windows 11 brings in some exciting changes including a new center aligned Taskbar and the start menu, a completely new OOBE experience, task view, window snap controls, new icons and a lot more. We will discuss these in this article.
The very first thing I noticed was the “11” written on the wallpaper that Microsoft placed on its event page. Here is how it looks:
To learn more about the latest developments in Windows 11, you can follow our Windows 11 Insider Preview tag.
Windows 11 Download and Installation
Download Windows 11
Microsoft provides official ISO files to download and install Windows 11. To download Windows 11 now, follow the steps below:
- Go to Windows Insider Preview downloads page.
- Sign in with your Microsoft ID.
- Under Selection edition, click the dropdown menu and select the appropriate Windows 11 build to download. Press the Confirm button to continue.
There are two builds at the moment:
- Windows 11 Insider Preview (Dev Channel) – Build 22000.132
- Windows 11 Insider Preview (Beta Channel) – Build 22000.132
- Select the product language. Press the Confirm button to continue. Windows 11 is available in the following languages:
- Brazilian Portuguese
- Chinese Simplified
- Chinese Traditional
- English (United Kingdom)
- French Canadian
- Spanish (Mexico)
- On the next screen, you will get a link to Windows 11 ISO. Click on the 64-bit Download button to start downloading. Please note that this link is only valid for 24-hours from the time of creation. That means you need to complete the download process before this limit.
Install Windows 11
- Create a bootable USB using Rufus or Ventoy
- Boot the system using the Windows 11 bootable USB
- Follow the instructions to install Windows 11
The installation process is virtually the same as for Windows 10.
Please note that Windows 11 is still in beta and should not be installed on a production system.
Upon installing Windows 11 and checking the version by going to Run –> winver, you will find that Windows is named Windows 11, which indicates that this will be the next version of Windows.
You can also install Windows 11 on a virtualized system like Hyper-V or VMWare Workstation.
Windows 11 release date and pricing
As speculated before, Windows 11 is a completely separate Operating System than Windows 10. Windows 10 will live as a separate entity and will be supported until 2025.
Windows 11 is not available for download at the moment. Microsoft will make it available for download from July 4th onwards. First, it will be available for Windows Insiders only. You can learn more about the Windows Insiders program and how to download Windows 11 when it is available for Insiders.
Along with Insiders, Windows 11 will be available to eligible Windows 10 PC owners.
Who will be eligible?
People who have recently bought a laptop or computer with Windows 10 pre-installed will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 11 as soon as it is available. The free upgrade option will be available throughout 2021 and will continue into 2022.
It seems like not all users will get a free upgrade to Windows 11. It remains to be seen how much Windows 11 will cost consumers who want to buy a new copy.
To check if you are eligible for a free upgrade, go to Windows 11 page and download the PC health check app.
Windows 11 has identical requirements to Windows 10 with one major exception. Windows 11 requires the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 for installation. It will not even be installed on a system without a TPM 2.0 module.
Other requirements include a minimum of 1 GHz processor with 2 cores and 64-bit compatibility or System on a Chip (SoC), DirectX 12 compatible graphics card, a minimum of 9″ 720p display, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage and Secure boot capable UEFI.
Windows 11 features
While I still don’t have Windows 11 installed on my test system, there are a few features that people are discussing on Twitter and over the web. I will share the screenshots and the features here. To learn more about the latest feature additions to Windows 11, please follow our Windows 11 Insider Preview tag.
Updated OOBE Experience
When you clean install Windows 11, you’ll notice a refreshing change in the Out Of Box Experience (OOBI) UI. Although the process is the same as Windows 10, the UI has been ramped up.
The only thing Microsoft is making it difficult is installing Windows 11 with a local account. Microsoft insists that logging into Windows 11 with a Microsoft ID is more beneficial, but you can install Windows 11 with a local user account.
On the Let’s add your account screen, select the offline account from the sign-in options. Microsoft will keep nagging you about the limited experience you will have with an offline account but you can continue to complete the installation process.
Taskbar and the Start Menu
Windows 11 logs in with a center aligned taskbar and the start menu also opens center aligned. This is a big change because since Windows 3.1, the taskbar and the start menu were always at the bottom left by default.
If you prefer to have taskbar and the start menu on the left hand side, you can do so by changing the option in Windows Settings.
Windows 11 start menu doesn’t come with live tiles. Instead, only icons can be shown. You can also ping apps to the start menu. If you want to see all programs list, you will need to press the All apps button in the top right corner of the start menu.
Alt-Tab switching has become a lot easier in Windows 11. Windows 11 shows a live preview of each open window. You can either tab through each window or select a window of your choice with the mouse.
Apart from this, if you click on the Task View button in the taskbar, you will be able to arrange program windows on multiple virtual desktops. You can also create multiple desktop environments in the task view window.
Window Snap Controls
If you have a large monitor and you work with multiple windows open and active simultaneously, then this feature is a blessing for you. Windows 11 comes with default snap controls.
If you hover over the resizer button next to the close button of the active window, it will show you a list of alignments you can make to cascade the program windows on the screen.
In an interesting move, Microsoft has removed News & Interests taskbar flyout widget on which it has been working for quite a while. The new widgets panel replaces News & interests and it’s pinned to the taskbar by default.
You will need to sign into your Microsoft account to use widgets. It seems like the good old widgets of Windows 7 and earlier are coming back to Windows 11. You can stay up to date with the news and information of your choice using these Windows widgets which seemed impossible with News & interests widget.
The new Microsoft Store
In a surprise move, Microsoft announced a new Microsoft Store which will let developers use their own revenue streams. Third-party app stores will be able to integrate themselves with the Microsoft Store. As a result, a lot of apps that work only on a specific platform will be available to Windows 11 users.
For example, Windows 11 users will be able to download and install Android apps through the Amazon Store which will be integrated with the Microsoft Store. This will open huge opportunities for both publishers and the consumers.
Think about how you’ll be able to play Android games and use Android apps inside your PC without using any virtualization software. It’s definitely a long leap.
These are just some of the features introduced in Windows 11. We’ll keep on adding new features here as we keep experimenting with the new Operating System.
What do you think of the new Windows 11? Was it necessary to launch Windows 11 when Microsoft could release the same features for Windows 10? What is the intention of Microsoft behind the release of Windows 11? Moving to Software as a Service model or something else? Please tell us in the comments below.
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