How To Get The Windows 11 Beta Now

The following article was written before Windows 11’s release on October 5, 2021. Microsoft’s new operating system is now available for anyone to download and no need to join the Windows Insider Program to access – here’s how to do it.

However, that’s still where you’ll find the new features first. Microsoft regularly releases upcoming builds for the Insider Program, allowing members to test new functionality and provide feedback. If that’s what interests you, then this article may still be of interest, although we don’t recommend subscribing to the Test Dev Channel on your primary device.

Original article below.

Windows 11 went from abstract concept to official announcement in a few weeks, and now you can try out the new operating system for yourself.

Just four days after the big reveal of Windows 11, Microsoft has released the first public beta (or Insider Preview, as it’s called) to members of the Windows Insider Program. This testing phase offers an important opportunity for the company to refine the Windows 11 experience following user feedback, ahead of the full launch expected in October.

The Windows Insider program is open to everyone with a Windows PC and a Microsoft account, which means you can try Windows 11 for yourself right now. However, this is an initial build – some features may be missing and there may be bugs. Therefore, we recommend that you do not install it on your main PC.

However, if you have a spare device on hand, this is a great opportunity to try out Windows 11 ahead of time. Without further advice, here’s how to download Windows 11 beta right now.

Check if your PC meets the hardware requirements

There’s no point in following all of these steps if your PC is ultimately ineligible for the free Windows 11 upgrade. While the majority of current Windows 10 hardware will be supported, that’s not the case for all devices.

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That’s because Microsoft updated the hardware requirements for Windows 11. Notable changes include the need for a processor that supports TPM 2.0 (though there’s an alternative), along with at least 4GB of RAM and 64GB of on-device storage.

This takes into account a lot of older hardware, including Surface computers from 2018 and earlier. Learn more and see the full list of hardware requirements in our separate article: Will my PC run Windows 11?

Microsoft didn’t enforce the hardware requirements when initial builds were available in the Development Channel, but that’s changed now that it’s an official beta.

How to download Windows 11 beta: Join the Windows Insider Program

The Windows Insider Program (or Program known in the UK) is the only way to gain access to this initial version of Windows 11. As long as you already have an active Microsoft account, signing up is a simple process:

  1. On your Windows 10 PC, open Settings
  2. Go to Update & Security and select ‘Windows Insider Program’ from the left pane
  3. If you are not registered, click the ‘Get Started’ button
    Windows 11 beta
  4. From the pop-up that appears, click ‘Link Account’
    Windows 11 beta
  5. Choose from a signed in account or sign in with new details
  6. On the next screen, choose either ‘Development Channel’ or ‘Beta Channel’, although we recommend choosing the later option if stability issues or device failures occur. Windows 11 is not yet available in the ‘Release Preview Channel’
    Windows 11 beta
  7. Press ‘Confirm’ on this and the next screen, indicating that you agree to the terms and conditions
    Windows 11 beta
  8. To complete the registration process, you need to restart your PC. Choose to do it now or later
    Windows 11 beta
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It’s a bit of a chore to do – now you just need to install the beta just like you would with any other update.

How to install Windows 11 beta: Download the update

Once you’re a member of the Insider Program, installing the Windows 11 beta couldn’t be easier:

  1. Go to Settings > Update & Security
  2. From the Windows Update tab, select ‘Check for updates’
    Windows 11 beta
  3. After a few seconds, the update called ‘Windows 11 Insider Preview’ will automatically start downloading
    Windows 11 beta
  4. Once done, you will be prompted to restart your PC. Click ‘Reboot Now’ to do it right away

That’s it! Once your PC has installed the update, the Windows 11 beta will be ready to use. Don’t worry, all your apps and files will remain intact.

How to switch from Development Channel to Beta Channel

Until July 29, the Dev Channel is the only way to get access to preview builds of Windows 11. Microsoft acknowledges that these early versions may have “raw edges,” recommends them for “highly technical users”.

However, with the latest version now available in the more stable Beta Channel, many people will want to make the switch. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From any Windows 11 build, open Settings
  2. At the top right of the window that appears, select ‘Windows Update’
  3. Under ‘More options’ click ‘Windows Insider Program’
    Windows 11 switches Insider channel
  4. You should now see an option to ‘Choose your Insider settings’. Click on it and then select ‘Beta Channel (Recommended)’
    Windows 11 switches Insider channel

Your Windows 11 PC will now be moved to the Beta Channel. This is a much simpler process than usual, but Microsoft has indicated that it won’t last long:

How to stop downloading future versions of Windows Insider

If you signed up for the Windows Insider Program just to download the Windows 11 beta, you probably won’t want every new release in the Development Channel. Luckily, there’s an easy way to turn them off right away:

  1. From the new look Windows 11 screen, click the Settings gear icon in the middle of the taskbar
    Windows 11 beta
  2. This now opens automatically in System settings. From the left pane, select ‘Windows Update’
  3. Click ‘Windows Insider Program’ (or Program), one of the four main options on the screen
    Windows 11 beta
  4. From the next screen, click ‘Stop loading preview build’ and then ‘Unenroll this device immediately’.
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For this option to work now, you need to clean install Windows 10 back to your PC. We recommend against doing this, so only download the Windows 11 beta if you know you’ll want to keep it.

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