Have you ever reached the point where you could not do without Windows 11? No problem – getting your hands on Microsoft’s latest operating system is straightforward.
You can get one of three options: waiting for Windows 10 to push you, triggering a download using an application, or creating installation media. We walk you through each path below.
However, before we begin, we first have to make sure that Your PC is compatible with Windows 11. It may save some time for you if you are stuck with Windows 10. Also, if you start from scratch (or, ahem, running the previous version of Windows inactive), you may also want to snag a cheap Windows 10 license. Because the upgrades are free, it will allow you full access to the Windows 11 versions for a minimum.
Once you have confirmed that your system is ready to go, here’s how to download Windows 11.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Eventually, everyone will have Windows 11 pushing them through Windows Update. You should get notified when it is ready, but if you have not seen one yet, you can check manually. Head to Start> Settings> Updates & Security> Windows Update> Check for updates.
Microsoft recommends this method over others, so taking a lazy route is perfectly acceptable. Some users may run into hardware and software issues when you force an upgrade already. Overall, delays can be beneficial — Windows 11 is constantly receiving new tweaks and additions as time goes on.
Note: This method is the only way to get Windows 11 for PCs with Arm processor (for example, Qualcomm Snapdragon chips.)
Windows 11 Installation Help
Is Windows Update no longer copying Windows 11? For PCs with Intel or AMD processors, you can live with the process using Windows 11 Installation Help.
To get started, download and run Assistant installations. If it has not already worked PC Health Check App as part of your Windows 11 PC compatibility certification, you will be ready to download and install that application. After giving you the green light, you can proceed with Windows 11.
Sometimes you need or want to use a bootable USB or DVD to install Windows 11 — either the Installation Assistant does not work for upgrading Windows 10 to Windows 11. Or maybe a clean installation is needed, because you want to completely wipe Windows 10 or you have a PC that does not have an operating system yet.
For important files to create installation media, head to Microsoft’s Windows 11 download page. Existing Windows users can use Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool, which brings the download for both USB drivers and DVDs. Mac and Linux must download ISO file for Windows 11.
Then, you may need to take some extra steps to create your media. The Media Creating Tool publishes only bootable USB drivers. You have to burn the DVDs yourself after the recording is complete. If you download ISO directly, the process of making a bootable USB or DVD driver is also on it.
After completing the Windows 11 download, you still have to install it. For smooth driving, we recommend that before you start, check Find the Windows 11 upgrade checklist, as well as our guide on how to How to Update Windows 11. If nothing else, back up your PC (as applicable) before installing Windows 11. Even if you plan to keep all your files and applications, a simple upgrade can often few.
Alaina Yee is PCWorld’s resident bargain hunter — when it does not cover home PCs, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, it scouring for the best tech deals. His previous work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Multiplayer PC, and Xbox Official Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.