How to clean install Windows 11, no product key required


Many people move their PCs to Windows 11 by upgrading an existing installation of Windows 10. However, to do so, you must first have an activated copy of Windows 10 with its own product key on the computer. But what if you just want to run Windows 11 on an older or experimental PC, without having to install an activated copy of the previous operating system first?

Using tools from a site called UUP dump, you can download an ISO file of the latest version of Windows 11 and use it to create a bootable installer USB drive or install Windows 11 directly into a virtual machine. You can even ignore the product key so you can run the new OS for free (at least for now).

Note that this method may also allow Windows 11 to be installed on PCs that do not meet the minimum requirements of the new operating system (4 GB of RAM, TPM, Secure Boot). In testing, we used this installation method on two different VMs, both of which only had 2GB of RAM, no TPM, and no secure boot. We did not receive any warnings and the installation worked without problems. We did not have a physical PC that did not meet the testing requirements.

How to clean up Windows 11 installation

1. Move towards

2. Click on the most recent version Windows 11 Insider Preview for amd64 (even if you have an Intel chip). The arm64 version is for non-x86 computers and can be used to install Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi.

Select the amd64 version

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3. Click on Next.

Click Next

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4. Select Windows edition you want. and click on Next. We chose Windows Home.

Select Windows edition

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5. Select “Download and convert to ISO” and check “Include updates” so what Click on Create a download package. ”A small zip file will be downloaded to your PC.

Select download options

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6. Unzip the file and place its content in a dedicated folder.

7. Double click on uup_download_windows.cmd in the folder containing the downloaded files.

Double click on the uup_download_windows.cmd file

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8. Click on “Run anyway”, if Windows 10 warns you that it is an unrecognized application.

Click on Run anyway

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A Command Prompt window will open, running a batch file that downloads all the necessary files from Microsoft and creates the ISO file for you. This process will take several minutes or maybe more, depending on your internet connection.

UUP Download

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9. Press 0 to exit when the script finishes downloading.

Press 0 to exit

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An .ISO file will appear in the folder where you placed uup_download_windows.cmd.

Creating a bootable Windows 11 installation disc

Unless you are just installing Windows 11 in a virtual machine, in which case you can skip to step 19, you will need to create a bootable Windows 11 installation disc. For this you will need a USB drive. at least 8 GB empty.

One thing that makes this process tricky is that if you use a popular flash drive “burning” program such as Rufus, it will create an NTFS-formatted boot drive because the main installation file is over 4GB and therefore cannot live on a FAT32 partition. The problem with an NTFS drive is that you have to disable Secure Boot (in your BIOS) to boot from it, and Windows 11 requires Secure Boot so that the installer can tell you that you are not responding to commands. requirements.

To resolve this issue and create a USB drive that can both hold your files and boot to a Secure Boot compatible PC, follow these steps.

ten. Connect your USB stick. Please note that you will erase all the data it contains.

11. Open the Disk Management app. You can find it by searching for “partitions” and clicking on the first result.

open disks management

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12. Delete all partitions from your USB drive by right clicking on each one and selecting “Remove Volume.”

Delete all partitions on the USB stick

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13. Create a new 1 GB partition and format it to FAT32. You initiate this process by right-clicking the unallocated space and selecting New Simple Volume. You can name it whatever you want. This will be the partition that contains the files you need to boot.

Create a 1 GB FAT32 partition

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14. Create a second partition and format it as NTFS. It should take up all the remaining disk space.

Create an NTFS partition

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15. Mount ISO file by right-clicking on it and selecting Move Up. This will allow you to browse the ISO as if it were a physical disk and copy files from it.

Mount ISO

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16. Copy all files and folders, with the exception of the “sources” folder, to the FAT32 partition of the USB key.

Copy all files and folders except the sources folder

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17. Create an empty folder called “sources” on the FAT32 partition of the USB key and copy only the boot.wim file in the original “sources” folder.

copy boot.wim

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18. Copy all ISO files and folders, including the ones you copied before, to the NTFS partition on the USB flash drive.

copy all files to NTFS partition

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You should now have a USB drive that can boot on a computer with Secure Boot enabled.

Installing Windows 11 on the target PC

19. Start your target PC out of the USB install drive. You may need to press a key or rearrange the boot order to boot from USB.

20. Choose your language (if it is not already selected) and click on Next.

Click Next

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21. Enter a valid product key or click on “I do not have a product key”. Then click on Next.

Enter your product key or click I don't have a product key

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22. Accept the license agreement and click on Next.

accept the license agreement

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23. Select the custom installation.

select custom installation

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24. Choose the installation drive and click on Next.

choose the installation drive and click Next

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The installer will copy some files and can restart at this point.

25. Select your country or region (if not selected) and click Yes. Too, select your keyboard layout when prompted.

Choose location

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26. Name your PC and click on Next.

Name your PC

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27. Log in with your Microsoft account.

Sign in with your Microsoft account

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28. Create a PIN code for fast connections.

Create a PIN code

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29. Click on “Configure as a new device” (or you can restore a previous configuration).

configure as new device

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30. Enable or disable privacy settings and click on Next.

Privacy settings

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31. Select your interests to help customize Windows 11 recommendations or, better yet, click Ignore.

Select your interests

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32. Set up OneDrive or select Store files only on this device.

Set up OneDrive

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Windows will now take a few minutes to complete the installation process.

Windows 11 completes the installation process.

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When it’s done, you should see the Windows 11 desktop. You can now play with Windows 11 or change some settings. For example, you can move the Windows 11 taskbar to the top or recover the old Windows 10 file explorer in Windows 11.


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