How to Clean Install Windows 11: A Step-By-Step Guide

Are you looking to give your computer a fresh start by installing the latest version of Windows? Installing Windows 11 from scratch can help you resolve all your current operating system issues and improve overall performance. In this article, we’ll show you how to clean install Windows 11 on your PC.

How to Clean Install Windows 11

Before moving forward with the steps, ensure you have taken the backup of your data. In addition to that, check if your PC meets a minimum hardware requirement. You will need at least 4GB RAM, 64GB storage space, and a 1 gigahertz (GHz) processor or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor for fresh installation of Windows 11.

Furthermore, you will need bootable media, which you can create using tools such as Microsoft Media Creation Tool and Rufus to clean install Windows 11 on your PC. Let’s begin.

How to Create a Windows 11 Install Disk with Media Creation Tool

This is one of the most straightforward ways to download and install Windows 11 on your computer. Follow the steps below.

Step 1: Go to Windows 11 download page and click on Download Now under the ‘Create Windows 11 Installation Media’ section.

Windows 11 download page

It will download the Media Creation Tool on your PC. Once downloaded, launch the program.

Step 2: A ‘Windows 11 Setup’ window will greet you with the ‘Applicable notices and license terms.’ Read the terms and click on Accept to proceed.

Media creation tool

Step 3: Select the language and the Windows edition of your choice that you want to install. Once done, click on the Next button.

Note: Optionally, you can check ‘Use the recommended options for this PC’ to select the settings applied on the current PC. 

Select language

Step 4: Select the USB flash drive option on the next screen and click the Next button.

Note: The USB Drive must be formatted and be of at least 8GB.

USB flash drive

Step 5: Select the drive corresponding to the USB flash drive and click the Next button.

Select drive

Step 6: The Media Creation Tool will download Windows 11 onto the USB drive.

Note: This process can take a while, depending on your USB drive’s internet connection speeds and the write speeds.

Download Windows

Step 7: After the download and installation process, you will see a message that says, ‘Your USB flash drive is ready’. Click on the Finish button.

finish button

That is it! Your Windows 11 bootable USB drive has now been created and is ready to be plugged into the PC you want to install Windows 11. If you don’t want to take the Media Creation Tool route and want to make a bootable USB Drive of your own, move on to the next section.

How to Make a Bootable Windows 11 Install Disk

In this method, we will create a bootable USB drive of Windows 11 ISO file with the help of a tool called Rufus. Follow the below-mentioned steps.

Before going forward with Rufus, it is important to download Windows 11 ISO file from Microsoft. Hence, we have divided this method into two parts. If you already have a Windows 11 ISO file, you can skip to the second part.

Part I: Download Windows 11 ISO File

Step 1: Go to Microsoft’s website to download the Windows 11 ISO. 

Microsoft’s website to download the Windows 11

Step 2: Under ‘Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO),’ select Windows 11 (multi-edition ISO) and click Download.

Windows 11 ISO

Step 3: It will validate, and in the next prompt, select the language you prefer. Press the Confirm button. 


Step 4Now, click on the 64-bit Download button.

Download button

With this, Windows 11 will start downloading. Now, let’s proceed to create a bootable drive. 

Part 2: Create a Bootable Windows 11 Install Disk With Rufus

Before moving forward, plug the USB drive into your PC. You don’t have to format the USB drive since the tool we will be using will automatically do it.

Step 1: Download the latest version of Rufus.

Rufus download

Step 2: Once downloaded, open Rufus on your computer and select the path to the USB drive in the Device drop-down.

Rufus device

Step 3: Click on the Select button next to Boot Selection.

Select image

Step 4: Navigate to the Windows 11 ISO file you downloaded. Select it, and click on Open.

Use the File Explorer window

Step 5: Under the Image option section, select ‘Standard Windows 11 Installation (TPM 2.0 + Secure Boot)’ if your PC meets these two requirements.

Standard installation

Step 6: Finally, click Start.

Start button 

Step 7: Click on OK when prompted.

OK option

Step 8: Once the status bar at the bottom turns completely green, your Windows 11 bootable USB is ready.

Once the status bar at the bottom turns completely green

That’s it. Now, let’s move towards installing it on your PC. 

How to Install Windows 11 on the Target PC

If you have created a Windows 11 install disk with a media creation tool or from Rufus, follow the instructions below.

Step 1: Plug the Windows 11 bootable drive (USB) and start your Windows PC. 

Step 2: Press any key to the boot from the device.

Note: This step may be different for different manufacturers. Moreover, you might need to enable secure boot. If not, you will not be able to move forward with installation. 

Step 3: In the Windows Setup window, select your preferred language, time, and keyboard input and click Next.

click the Next button

Step 4: Click the Install now button.

click the Install now button

Step 5: Enter the product key and click Next.

Note: If you don’t have the product key, click on the ‘I don’t have a product key’ option to continue. You can complete the installation and activate Windows using the Settings app.

click on the ‘I don’t have a product key’ option

Step 6: Select the edition of Windows 11 you want to install and click Next.

Note: Ensure you have the product key for the same to activate later. If the product key doesn’t match the correct edition, Windows 11 won’t activate, and you will have to repeat the entire process. 

Select the edition of Windows 11

Step 7: Check the box next to ‘I accept the license terms’ and click Next.

‘I accept the license terms’

Step 8: Click ‘Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)’ option to continue.

click the ‘Custom: Install Windows only (Advanced)’

Step 9: Select the partition with the current installation and click Delete. 

Note: If multiple partitions exist, you must select and delete each partition to allow the setup to use the entire hard drive for the new setup.

Select the partition with the current installation

In the prompt, click the Yes button.

Step 10: Select the Drive 0 Unallocated Space and click Next.

Select the empty drive

There you go. A fresh copy of Windows 11 will be installed on your PC. If this is lengthy, you can choose to Reset the Windows too

FAQs on Clean Installing Windows 11

1. Will I lose my files if I reinstall Windows 11?

Yes, reinstalling Windows 11 will erase the current operating system and all the software installed. Hence, it’s always a good idea to back up your important files before reinstalling Windows.

2. Why is Windows 11 taking so long to install?

There are several reasons why the installation process is taking longer. This includes the speed of your computer, the size of the Windows installation file, and your internet connection. Other factors include a slow installation process, hardware issues, conflicting software, and a lack of available storage space.

3. Does a clean install get rid of viruses?

A clean install of your operating system will remove viruses and give you a fresh start. It is important to note that if the virus has infected the computer’s BIOS or firmware, a clean install may not be able to remove it.

Reprise Your Windows PC

Even though it might seem daunting initially, starting from scratch is relatively easy, considering you have taken a backup of any critical data and all necessary files. Using the instructions outlined in this article, you can successfully install Windows 11 on your computer and enjoy its new features and improvements. You may also want to check these ways to auto-backup files on Windows using Cloud Services.

Last updated on 20 January, 2023

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