Windows 11 Insider Preview ISO

Downloading a Windows 11 ISO and Creating a UEFI Bootable USB Flash Drive

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Windows 11 Elevated System Requirements

Windows 11 System Requirements are substantially elevated with respect to Windows 10 System Requirements. Microsoft have released an updated Windows 11 PC Check here:

The main requirement listed by the PC Check is the processor requirement:

  • An 8th Generation Intel Processor or Later (a limited selection of High End 7th Generation Intel Processors are also supported).
    • Microsoft have backtracked on the Processor System Requirements for the Windows 11 Insider Preview.
    • While they still recommend only Intel 8th Generation Processors and Higher. 6th and 7th Generation Intel Processors work and have all the additional Security Requirements outlined above and the WDDM 2.0 graphics driver requirement. However there is a warning in Settings stating that your Device may not perform as expected.
  • A UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot patched to address the Mid 2020 GRUB2 Security Exploit.
  • A Trusted Platform Module (TPM) Version 2.0 or Later.
  • 4 GB of DDR3 RAM or superior.
  • A 250 GB SSD Boot Drive or superior. Microsoft state HDDs are compatible but the slow access time of a HDD will result in a stalled system with continuous 100 % Disk Usage making it rather unusable with Windows 11.
  • A Windows Display Driver Model of 2.0 or Later.

Downloading a Windows Insider Preview Installation ISO

Official: Windows 11 Insider Preview ISO

Microsoft have released the Windows 11 Disk Image ISO (third option). Alternatively a Windows 11 Insider Preview ISO can be downloaed:

Log into your Microsoft Account and then select your Edition from the dropdown menu.

The dropdown gives a selection of the Standard (OEM and Retail) Editions or Enterprise Editions for each Windows Insider Channel.

  • The Dev Channel is recommended only for highly Technical Users and the Updates have not had time to be validated by Microsoft before release. Users should be prepared for bugs and instabilities.
  • The Beta Channel is recommended for Early Windows 11 Adopters and the Updates given to this Channel will be more reliable as they have been validated by Microsoft before release.
  • The Release Preview Channel is essentially the final Windows 11 Build released a couple of weeks for additional testing before it is rolled out to the Mainstream Channel. Neither of these Channels exist yet.

Next select your Language. For the English Language, Microsoft refer to English (United States) as "English". Take care to avoid selecting "English" by accident if you stay in a Commonwealth Country which uses International English. Microsoft refer to International English as English (United Kingdom). It would be more consistent if they labelled both accordingly:

  • English (United Kingdom)
  • English (United States)

The Architecture is 64 Bit only for Windows 11 and your download link will be generated for up to 24 hours:

Unofficial: UUP Dump Script

The Windows Updates Unified Update Platform Dump (UUP) is a project (not affiliated with Microsoft) that essentially tracks the downloads being downloaded by each Windows Insider Build and compiles a download script which will download all the files that correspond to a Windows Insider Preview Build. The download script then uses Disk Image Servicing and Management (DISM) commands to slipstream all these updates into an install.wim file creating an up to date Windows Insider Preview installation image. The UUP also downloads the rest of the files required to create installation media and builds an ISO from these files.

The DISM commands can be very time-consuming and at present there is little to gain by using the ISO generated by the UUP Dump over the Insider Preview ISO provided by Microsoft.

Creating a Windows 11 UEFI Bootable USB

Mounting the ISO

Right click the ISO and select Mount to Mount it as a Virtual Drive that can be explored within Windows Explorer:

Go to the sources folder:

Look at the install.wim:

Note the install.wim exceeds 4.0 GB and this has a consequence when it comes to making a Bootable USB:

  • The upper file size for the FAT32 File System is 4.0 GB.
  • The NTFS File System can store files larger than 4.0 GB.
  • A USB with a GPT Partition Table and FAT32 Partition is required to Pass Secure Boot on most UEFI Systems.
  • A USB with a GPT Partition Table and NTFS Partition is rejected by Secure Boot on many UEFI Systems.

To get around this we can create a USB with a GPT Partition Table that has a 1 GB FAT32 Boot Partition which will pass Secure Boot and a NTFS Install Partition which will contain the Windows 11 Installation Files.

The instructions in the rest of this guide assume the Bootable USB is being Created within Windows. To Create a UEFI Bootable USB in Linux we need to instead use GParted. This is documented here:

Creating a USB with a GPT Partition Table using Rufus

Although the Installation ISO can be loaded within Rufus and a Bootable USB can be created from it. The Bootable USB Created will not Pass Secure Boot on all Systems. The Bootable USB Created directly by Rufus passed Secure Boot on my XPS 13 9365 (7th Gen), 9305 (11th Gen) but was rejected on my OptiPlex 7040 (6th Gen), OptiPlex 7050 (7th Gen) and OptiPlex 7060 (8th Gen). All systems had their latest UEFI BIOS Update Installed.

We will therefore only use Rufus to create a Non-Bootable USB with a GPT Partition Table and NTFS Partition. We will then use the inbuilt Windows DiskPart and Disk Management utilities to Delete the Partition and Create our own Partitions.

This may seem a bit convoluted but is done this way as DiskPart or Disk Management cannot change the Partition Table on a USB from MBR to GPT.

Insert your >8 GB USB Flash Drive:

Accept the User Account Control Prompt:

Your USB Flash Drive should be listed. Under Boot Selection, select Non Botoable and select GPT under Partition Scheme. Select a BIOS or UEFI Target System. Type USB under Volume Label and select a FAT32 File System. Select Start:

Accept the Data Loss Warning to change the Partition Table on your USB:

When Rufus is done it will say Ready, you can now close Rufus:

Remove All Partitions on USB Using DiskPart

Right click the Start Button and select Windows Terminal/Windows Powershell:

Accept the User Account Control Prompt:

Type in:

diskpart

To list the disks type in:

list disk

Your disks will be listed, use the file size of each disk to determine what disk is your USB flash drive:

Select the disk which corresponds to your USB flash drive in this case disk 1 type in:

select disk 1

To clean the partitions from the USB type in:

clean

Create USB Partitions using Disk Management

Right click the Start Button and select Disk Management:

You should now see Disk 1 (or the number of Disk corresponding to your USB) as Unallocated Space:

Right click this Disk and select Properties:

Under Volumes you should see the Partition Style and it should be set to GPT.

If it is MBR:

  • Unfortunately Disk Management doesn't have the capability to change this directly.
  • You have not used the correct settings with Rufus (see above),

Boot Partition

Right click the Unallocated Space and select New Simple Volume:

Select Next:

Change the File Size to 1024 MB:

Assign a Drive Letter so the Partition Displays as a Drive within Windows Explorer:

Change the File System to FAT32 and the Volume Label to Boot:

Select Finish:

You now have a Boot Partition:

DiskPart has a bug and sometimes formats the Partition using a RAW File System opposed to a FAT32 File System. In such cases, right click the Partition and select Format and make sure the File Format is FAT32 with a Volume Label Boot.

Install Partition

Right click the remaining Unallocated Space and select New Simple Volume:

Select Next:

The default Volume Size will span the rest of the USB. Select Next:

Once again Assign a Drive Letter so the Partition Displays as a Drive within Windows Explorer:

Change the File System to NTFS and the Volume Label to Install:

Select Finish:

The Partitions are now created on the USB Flash Drive:

Copy Installation Files Over from ISO

Boot Partition

Copy all the files/folders from the Windows 11 Insider Preview Installation ISO to the BOOT Partition except for the sources folder.

In its place create your own sources folder:

Copy the boot.wim from the sources folder of the installation ISO to the sources folder of your BOOT partition:

The Boot Partition is now ready:

Install Partition

Copy all the files/folders from the Windows 11 Insider Preview Installation ISO to the INSTALL Partition.

Wait for the files to copy across (it may take a few minutes for the large install.wim to copy fully across):

Your Windows 11 UEFI Bootable USB is now ready:

Slipstreaming the Dell Driver Pack (Optional)

Dell provide a Driver Pack for Dell Business Models (OptiPlex, Latitude, XPS). This driver pack can optionally be slipstreamed into the install.wim which will result in Windows 11 having preinstalled Dell System Drivers. This is only required if your hardware is bleeding edge and Microsoft don't have basic Device Drivers included already in the Operating System (which is very rare nowadays) and only recommended if you want to save time when deploying a Windows 11 Image to a fleet of Matching Computers found for example in a school library or office. Use this updated install.wim in place of the install.wim found in the sources folder of your INSTALL Partition:

Dell UEFI BIOS Settings for Windows 11

Entering the Dell UEFI BIOS Setup

Insert your Windows 11 Insider Preview Bootable USB. To enter the Dell UEFI BIOS Setup, Power Up your Dell and press [F2]:

System Information

Expand General to the left hand side and highlight System Information:

In the following screen you should observe your system date of manufacture. Systems deemed Windows 11 compatible by Microsoft are manufactured in Mid 2018 or later for example my OptiPlex 7060 is manufactured in Mid 2018. The processor type is also listed, in this case an i7-8700T meaning it is an 8th Generation Intel Processor.

In contrast my OptiPlex 7040 is manufactured in Late 2015 and has a i5-6500 meaning it is a 6th Generation Intel Processor. This system is deemed incompatible by Microsoft but runs the Windows 11 Insider Preview without an issue. Any system older than this will likely not perform well enough to run Windows 11.

In this screen you also get the BIOS Version/Date. You should check for the latest UEFI BIOS Update from Dell on your systems drivers and downloads page. The release date of the BIOS Version can be seen on Dells Website and must be newer than Mid 2020 in order to have a patched Secure Boot. The Latest BIOS Update can be copied over to a FAT32 formatted USB Flash Drive and Updated using the Dell UEFI BIOS Boot Menu before Windows 11 Installation.

The system information will also give details about the drive in your system, alongside the Video and Audio controller:

Drives

Under System Configuration, select SATA Operation. Makes sure it is set to AHCI which is the setting used when each Drive in the system acts as an independent drive:

Selecting Drives to the left hand side will give you details about your Drives. Windows 11 essentially won't run well unless you are using a single large capacity SSD of 250 GB or superior. In my case I have swapped for a lower capacity SSD for this test installation. This drive will fit Windows 11 on it and a handful of Apps but not too much else:

Boot Options

To the left hand side select Advanced Boot Options and make sure Legacy Option ROMS and Legacy Boot Settings are Disabled:

Select Boot Sequence and uncheck your Windows 11 Bootable USB:

Select Delete Boot Option to Delete all Old Boot Entries:

Now only your Windows 11 Insider Preview Bootable USB should display:

Security Settings

Windows 11 requires Secure Boot to be Enabled:

The Secure Boot Mode should be Deployed Mode:

Windows 11 also requires the TPM 2.0 Security to be On and Enabled:

Dell Data Wipe

We can use the Dell Data Wipe Setting to Securely Erase all Internal SSDs. Select Dell Data Wipe and then Wipe on the Next Boot:

Select OK at the warning:

Select No at the Warning:

Apply Settings

Once you have Applied your UEFI BIOS Settings, select Apply:

Then select OK:

Then select Exit:

Dell Data Wipe

The Computer will reboot and the Dell Data Wipe routine will be initated:

Select Continue:

Select Erase:

The internal drives will be wiped which will take a few minutes for a SSD as all the data is wiped simultaneously and there is a fast access time on a SSD.

On a HDD, the data is sequentially wiped byte by byte, this combined with the HDD slow access time means the Data Wipe will take several hours and is essentially an overnight job. A HDD has too slow an access time to be used comfortably with Windows 11 and will lead to continuous 100 % Disk Usage making the system pretty much unusable. It should be swapped out for a SSD.

The progress bar will indicate the progress of the Data Wipe:

You will be informed when the Data Wipe is complete. Select OK:

Your system will reboot:

You will be informed that the Data Wipe was successful. Hold down the Power Button to turn off your PC:

Windows 11 Insider Preview Installation

Booting from the Windows 11 Insider Preview Bootable USB

Power up your Dell and press [F12] to get to the UEFI BIOS Boot Menu:

Ensure that the Boot Mode is set to UEFI and Secure Boot is ON. Select your Windows 11 Insider Preview Bootable USB:

You will see the Dell loading logo:

On the next screen you will be given language installation options. The defaults will match what you specified when using the UUP Dump website.

Select next:

Windows OEM Product Key

Select Install Now:

Windows 11 Installation Media will scan your systems for an embedded Microsoft Digital Marker (MSDM) which contains a 25 digit Windows Product Key.

If found you will be taken straight to the License Agreement screen:

The handful of 6th Generation Intel systems sold with Windows 7 Pro used OEM Downgrade Rights meaning they all have a Windows 8.1 Pro OEM or Windows 10 Pro OEM Embedded Product Key. Therefore all Dell compatible systems should have came with an embedded Product Key.

All systems that came with a Windows 7 OEM License with a printed Code of Authenticity have a Processor older than a 6th Generation Intel Processor and are therefore incompatible with Windows 11 as they are below the minimum system requirements. This Product Key might be accepted by Windows 11 Installation Media but it doesn't really matter because the Device is incompatible.

Drive Options

Select Custom Install:

Select your SSD Boot Drive which should be listed as Unallocated Space following the Data Wipe and select Next:

Installing Windows

The Windows 11 Insider Preview Installation Files will be copied to your OS Boot Drive and prepared for Windows Installation:

You computer will reboot:

You will then see a Dell Logo with a spinner stating Getting Ready:

Windows Out of the Box (OOBE) Setup

The Windows OOBE setup screens will now load:

You will see the Windows logo:

You will be asked for your region:

Then be asked to select your keyboard layout:

Then be given the option to select an additional keyboard layout:

Then be prompted to connect to a Wireless Network. Select your network and then select Connect:

Input your Wi-Fi password and select Next:

Once connected select Next:

The Windows Setup will then check for Updates:

You will then be prompted to input your Computers Name which was an option Microsoft missed in the Windows 10 Setup. Input your computers name and select Next:

The Windows Setup will load for a moment and take you to User Account Creation:

Note Microsoft are pushing harder for Microsoft Account Enforcement. A Local Account is now a Pro only Feature however a Local Account can be forced on a Home Install by not connecting to the internet. It is useful to use a Microsoft Account for the Windows 11 Insider Preview to enrol in the Windows 11 Insider Preview and to leave Feedback to Microsoft using the Feedback App.

Select Set up for Personal Use:

Then input your email and select Next:

Input your Password and select Sign In:

Select Create Pin:

Input and confirm your Pin and select OK:

You now will have the option to copy Settings and Preferences from an Existing Device or to Setup the Computer as a New Device with unique Settings and Preferences:

If you plan to use Apps etc you'll need to enable the Location Settings:

For a laptop, tablet or mobile Device you may want to Enable the Setting to Find your Device. This is typically not necessary for a Desktop:

Since this is an Insider Preview it is recommended to Include Optional diagnostic data:

You can optionally share your keysrokes with Microsoft to improve inking and typing:

I would recommend selecting the option to receive tailored diagnostic responsed from Microsoft as it is once again an Insider Preview and this will mean you will receive tips relevent to your specific device and problems you specifically encounter:

You can optionally share an Advertising ID across Applications. This will be associated with the Microsoft Edge Browser if the default Bing Search Engine is used and Microsoft Store Apps and in essence will help Microsoft maximise their advertising profit from you:

In the next screen you will get the option to customize your experience. The personalised tips and recommendations you'll receive will be dependent on the options you selected for example Family Safety Tips if Family is selected.

In Windows 10 Microsoft forcefully preinstalled unwanted Games on Business Machines with Pro Licenses such as Candy Crush. This does not seem to happen on Windows 11 if only Business is selected. Perhaps you will only get these preinstalled Games and Advertisements if you select Gaming as an option:

You can then optionally integrate your User Profile with OneDrive which is recommended only if you are using Office 365 with a One Drive subscription:

The Windows 11 Setup will check for Updates:

Then it will take you to the final loading screens where it sets up your User Account in the background:

You will now reach the Windows 11 Desktop and the Windows 11 Insider Preview is now Installed:

Dell Command Update

Right click the Start Button to get to the Power User Menu and select Device Manager:

All the System Drivers are installed because the Dell Driver Pack was slipstreamed into the Windows Installation Media:

We can use Dell Command Update to search for any additional drivers or firmware updates.

Download Dell Command Update and launch it:

Accept the Windows 11 User Account Control:

Then select install:

Then select Next:

Next Accept the License Agreement and select Next:

Since this is a Windows 11 Insider Preview, I would recommend Participating in the Improvement Program. Select Next:

Select Install:

Select Finish:

Then select Close:

Now right click the Start Button to open the Power Users Menu and select Sign Out or Shutdown and then select Restart:

Launch Dell Command Update from the Start Menu. Dell Command Update can be found in All Apps:

The Dell Command Update Splash Screen will display:

Select Yes, run automatically with default settings and then OK:

If you have not slipstreamed the driver package into your Windows 11 Insider Preview Installation Media, select Click here to Download and Install a Complete Driver Library:

Otherwise select Check:

Updates will be detected and listed, select Install:

Select Restart to apply any Updates and initiate any Firmware Updates:

My system has a UEFI BIOS Update which is now applied:

When finished, the system will reboot.

All Dell System Drivers are now installed.

System

Right click the Start Button and select Settings:

Scroll down and select About:

You will see your Device Specifications and Windows Specifications. The Windows Product ID ends in AAOEM indicating that it is an OEM License:

You can check your Product Activation:

Windows Update

To the left hand side, select Windows Update and select Download Now to Download the latest Windows Updates:

Select Restart to Finish installing the Updates:

Windows Insider Channel

Right click the Start Button and select Settings:

Select Windows Update and then Windows Insider Programme:

Select Get Started:

Select Edit:

Select your Microsoft Account:

Then select Beta Channel:

Select Continue:

Restart your Computer to Apply the Changes:

You are now enrolled in the Beta Channel.

Feedback Application

You can launch the Feedback App from the Start Menu:

Ensure that you are signed in with your Microsoft Account:

Select your Microsoft Account:

Select OK:

You can optionally view user submitted Feedback and official announcements as well as Reporting a Problem or Suggesting a Feature:

Emoji Panel and Paste Clipboard

Press [⊞] + [.] to open up the emoji panel:

The emoji panel is a useful addition that contains animated GIFs, emoji symbols and currency, mathematical symbols and Greek characters. Unfortunately the search feature of it is crippled and gives only animated GIFs instead of the far more commonly used symbols:

One has to manually scroll through to language symbols to get the Greek characters:

Personally as a scientist, I would prefer the symbols which I frequently use to be more accessible at expense of the animated GIFs which I never use.

Press [⊞] + [v] to open up the Paste Clipboard. Select Turn On to allow Copying and Pasting of multiple items:

Office

If you have an Office 365 subscription, Office can be downloaded and installed from:

Alternatively if you want a Free Office Suite with high compatibility to Microsoft Office and a similar ribbon interface to Microsoft Office, you can install Only Office:

Note Only Office takes a long time to load upon its first launch however it loads up relatively speedy on subsequent launches.

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