Windows 11 is out now. Microsoft officially released its new operating system on October 5, but warns that most people will be waiting a while to get a free upgrade from Windows 10. Indeed, if you are running the software Older hardware is still supported, possibly mid-2022 before the update arrives on your device.
However, there is no reason to wait that long. Windows 11 is currently available for download as an ISO file directly from Microsoft, while the most recent version can also be installed through the Windows Insider Program. Both methods are completely free and should take no more than a few minutes.
Before proceeding, you should clarify what we mean by ‘final version’. This is any version that has been released since October 5, but Windows 11 will continue to receive updates throughout its life. That’s usually ten years – Windows 10 was first released in 2015, but will continue to receive updates through 2025.
However, this is not the easiest way to upgrade to Windows 11. Microsoft is gradually rolling out the update to all compatible devices – this is expected to take several months, but the company said know is now “accelerating deployment faster than we previously anticipated”. You should check in Settings if it arrives on your device before following the steps in this article.
Check if your laptop or PC is compatible
If you haven’t checked, the first step is to make sure your Windows 10 device will be compatible with Windows 11. Microsoft has updated the hardware requirements, which means that much older hardware will not be officially supported. .
The easiest way to find out is to download Microsoft’s updated PC Health Check app – it’s free and only takes a minute or two to install. It’s much more reliable than the first iteration, although you may need to manually enable TPM 2.0 or Secure Boot, both of which are required.
Learn more in our separate guide: Is my PC running Windows 11?
However, even on unsupported devices, the workaround means you can still download Windows 11.
Once done, you can proceed with the installation.
How to Download Windows 11 Now: ISO File Download
The easiest way to download Windows 11 right now is to download it from Microsoft’s website. There are two options, both of which will keep all your files and settings intact.
We recommend most people to choose ‘Windows 11 Setup Assistant’, which will guide you through the process. However, the device you download to must also have:
- Windows 10 license (if the operating system came pre-installed when you purchased the device, it will have one)
- Running version 2004 (updated May 2020) or later
- At least 9GB trống free disk space
If it meets all these criteria, you can proceed with the installation:
- Under ‘Windows 11 Installation Support’ click ‘Download Now’
- A small .exe file will be downloaded. Double click it to open
- Click ‘Yes’ to confirm that you allow the changes to be made
- A pop-up window will appear, guiding you through each step.
If you plan to install Windows 11 on multiple PCs, you should download the ISO file instead. It’s a much larger file, but contains all the information needed to install Windows 11.
Just make sure you have at least 8GB of space everywhere you transfer it, including secure external storage. Each PC you install it on must also meet the hardware requirements of Windows 11, have a 64-bit CPU, and match your current language.
How to Get Windows 11 Now: Through the Insider Program
Until the above is released, the only way to install Windows 11 ahead of time is through the Insider Program. The almost final version is available in the Release Preview Channel.
For this method, you’ll need to sign up for the Windows Insider Program if you haven’t already. Go to the landing page on the Microsoft website and click ‘Sign Up’, then follow the steps to connect your account.
Once they’re processed, here’s what you need to do from your Windows 10 device:
- Go to Settings > Update & Security and select ‘Windows Insider Program (or Programs)’ from the left pane
- Click ‘Get Started’ and link the same account you used to sign up for the Insider Program
- Follow the steps on the screen, making sure you select ‘Release Preview Channel’
- Agree to the terms and conditions, then reboot your device when prompted to apply the changes
- Once it’s back up and running, go to Settings > Update & Security. Provided you have all previous updates installed, you should now see the option to get Windows 11
- Click ‘Download and Install’ to begin the upgrade process. Your device will stop working for a while, so make sure you’re careful this time
If you have an early version of Windows 11 installed, you can simply change which channel of Insiders you are a member of:
- Open Settings > Windows Update
- Under ‘More options’ select ‘Windows Insider Program (or Program)’
- Click ‘Select your Insider settings’ and select ‘Release Preview Channel’
- Return to the main Windows Update page and click ‘Check for updates’
- This may take a few minutes, but you should eventually see the update available. If not, you are running the latest version
If you don’t want access to early future builds, just select ‘Stop loading preview builds’ from the same Windows Insider Program settings menu. Make sure you select ‘Deregister this device when the next version of Windows comes out’, otherwise you will have to wipe the Windows 10 installation again.
Get the heavily discounted Windows 10 Pro now and upgrade to Windows 11 Pro for free
There is another option to get Windows 11 Pro at a great discount. Assuming your hardware is compatible, you can buy Windows 10 Pro at a discounted price now and upgrade to Windows 11 for free when it’s released on October 5.
You can buy the Windows 10 Professional edition for $49.99 (or £59.99) in the PCWorld.com software store. That’s 75% off the retail price. And you’ll be able to upgrade to Windows 11 Pro for free – yes, the more powerful Pro version of Windows 11, not Home.
it is designed to be installed on a new or clean PC – does not support upgrading from an older version of Windows.
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