Windows 11

How to Download the Windows 11 ISO

windows 11 iso download

In this quick guide, I’m going to show you how to download the Windows 11 ISO image file, which you can use to install Windows 11 in a virtual machine (VM) or use to create your own installation media.

If you want to install Windows 11 in a VM or create your own installation media, then the best option is to download the ISO file directly from Microsoft.

Windows 11 ISO Download

To download the Windows 11 ISO, there are four easy steps:

  1. Go to the Microsoft Software Download page and click Windows 11.
  2. On the Windows 11 download page, scroll down to Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO) and select Windows 11 in the dropdown menu. Now click Download.
  3. Under Select the product language, select your language from the dropdown menu and click Confirm.
  4. Below Download, click 64-bit Download to begin downloading the Windows 11 ISO file.

Microsoft's Software Download page
Microsoft’s Software Download page

What is an ISO file?

An ISO file is an image file that contains all the information required to write information to an optical disk or bootable USB drive. For example, instead of Microsoft shipping Windows 11 media as physical optical disks to customers, it can provide an ISO image file to download.

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Customers can then choose to either create their own media using the provided file or mount the file directly in virtualization software, like Hyper-V and VMWare, for the purposes of installing Windows 11 in a virtual machine.

How to verify your Windows 11 ISO file

To check the integrity of your Windows 11 image file, use PowerShell to generate a file hash and then compare it to the list of hashes on Microsoft’s Software Download page for Windows 11.

  1. Open File Explorer by pressing the Windows key (WIN) and press I on the keyboard at the same time (WIN+I).
  2. In File Explorer, find your downloaded ISO file.
  3. Hold the SHIFT key and right click the file. Now select Copy as path from the context menu.
  4. Press the Windows key (WIN) and then type powershell. Select Windows PowerShell from the search results.
  5. In the Windows PowerShell window, run the PowerShell command below, replacing <path> with the path of your ISO file. You can paste the full path of your ISO file by pressing CTRL and V at the same time (CTRL+V).
Get-FileHash <path>
Verify your downloaded image using PowerShell
Verify your downloaded image using PowerShell
  1. You will see the hash for your ISO file in the command output.
  2. Make sure the hash in the PowerShell command output matches the hash for the version of Windows 11 you downloaded from Microsoft’s Software Download page. You can find the list of hashes by expanding Verify your download under the 64-bit Download

Check your file hash on Microsoft's Software Download page
Check your file hash on Microsoft’s Software Download page

How to create Windows 11 installation media?

If you want to create installation media for Windows 11, the best option is to use Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool for Windows 11. The Media Creation Tool is a wizard driven application that takes you through the steps required to create bootable Windows 11 media. You can then attach your media to a physical device and use it to install Windows 11.

Download the Windows 11 Media Creation Tool to easily create a bootable USB disk image
Download the Windows 11 Media Creation Tool to easily create a bootable USB disk image

How to download an evaluation version of Windows 11

If you don’t have a license for Windows 11, then the best option is to download an evaluation version. Microsoft lets you test Windows 11 for 180 days.

To download the evaluation version of Windows 11:

  1. Go to Microsoft’s Evaluation Center.
  2. Scroll down to Get started with evaluating a product and click Windows.
  3. In the list of options, click Windows 11 Enterprise. Other editions are not available for evaluation.

Download an evaluation version of Windows 11 Enterprise
Download an evaluation version of Windows 11 Enterprise

  1. Below Windows 11 Enterprise, ISO is the only option. Click Continue.
  2. Enter your personal details in the form and then click Continue
  3. Select a language from the Please select your language dropdown menu and then click Download. Your download will begin.

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IT consultant, Contributing Editor @PetriFeed, and trainer @Pluralsight. All about Microsoft, Office 365, Azure, and Windows Server.
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