How to clean install Windows 11? Can you clean install Windows 11 for free? What do you need to prepare for the Windows 11 clean install? If you are still trying to figure them out, this post from MiniTool is worth reading.

With the release of Windows 11, more and more users want to install this new version of the operating system because of its new Start Menu, improved features, Settings, and so on. However, most of them are unclear about how to do a clean install of Windows 11. Don’t worry. Here we will explain almost everything related to the Windows 11 fresh install. Let’s start reading.

About Windows 11 Clean Install

In fact, a lot of users still don’t know what Windows 11 clean install is and confuse it with Windows 11 upgrade. So, here we want to explain the definition of Windows 11 fresh install and other related information.

What Does Windows 11 Clean Install Mean

What is Windows 11 clean install? A clean install, also known as a fresh install, is a process of installing an operating system on a PC where the hard drive is formatted and wiped completely. Since it deletes everything on the hard drive, all compatibility issues with your apps or drivers will be fixed.

A Windows 11 clean installation will start from scratch and create a clean Windows registry, which can fix many performance, system, battery, and compatibility issues. So, it would be a good choice if you want to solve some system crashing issues completely or get a clean Windows OS.

Can You Clean Install Windows 11 for Free

Can you fresh install Windows 11 for free? Of course, yes! Windows 11 provides a free upgrade for Windows 10 users. As long as you have your current Windows 10 activated, you can perform a Windows 11 clean install or upgrade for free using your existing Windows 10 product key. But you need to make sure the Windows 11 edition you are installing corresponds with your Windows 10 edition.

What Would Happen After Windows 11 Fresh Install

Another important thing to figure out is what would happen after you fresh install Windows 11. Windows 11 clean installation will wipe out everything on your hard drive, including personal files, settings, drivers, and apps. So, you need to back up all important data on your computer beforehand.

Before You Do a Windows 11 Fresh Install

Windows 11 clean installation is a relatedly complex and time-consuming process. Here are some important things you should prepare before you do.

Make Sure Your PC Meets Windows 11 Minimum System Requirements

The first important thing before you clean reinstall Windows 11 is to check if your PC meets the basic system requirements. If you don’t know how to check your system specs, refer to this guide. Here are the Windows 11 minimum system requirements:

  • Processor:1 GHz or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB or larger
  • System firmwareUEFI, Secure Boot capable
  • TPM: TPM version 2.0
  • Graphics card: compatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver or higher
  • Display: HD 720p display that is greater than 9” diagonally, 8 bits per color channel

If your computer doesn’t meet the hardware or software requirements of Windows 11, you can refer to the following posts to upgrade them:

Make a Full Backup of Your PC

As mentioned above, all data on the hard drive will be erased after you fresh install Windows 11. So, we highly recommend you make a full backup of your computer before proceeding. This can help you restore your system to its working state if the Windows 11 clean install failed accidentally.

How to back up your hard drive on Windows 10/11? MiniTool Partition Wizard is a good choice that can easily migrate OS to SSD/HDD without reinstalling OS, copy an entire disk, and back up partitions. Besides, this powerful partition software can help you convert MBR to GPT, recover data, test hard drives, extend/resize partitions, and more.

MiniTool Partition Wizard DemoClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 1. Launch the program to enter its main interface, select your hard disk, and click Copy Disk from the left panel.

Step 2. In the pop-up window, select the target disk and click on Next.

click Copy Disk on MiniTool

Step 3. Select copy options based on your needs and click on Next to continue.

select Copy Options on MiniTool

Step 4. Read the information and click the Finish button in the pop-up window. Finally, click on Apply to execute the pending operations.

back up hard disk using MiniTool

Once done, you can clean reinstall Windows 11 without any concerns.

How to Clean Install Windows 11

How to do a clean install of Windows 11? After analyzing extensive user reports and posts, we summarize 5 common ways to clean reinstall Windows 11. Let’s start trying.

Option 1. Clean Install Windows 11 Using an ISO

The first and most common way for Windows 11 fresh install is to utilize its official ISO file. You can download the Windows 11 ISO file and install it on your PC. Here’s how:

Step 1. Download Windows 11 ISO file from Microsoft

  1. Open your default web browser and visit the Microsoft Support website.
  2. Select Windows 11 under the Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO) for x64 and click on Download Now.
  3. Select your desired installation language and click on Confirm. Then click Download and select a location to save the Windows 11 ISO file.
select Windows 11 install language

Step 2. Fresh Install Windows 11 Using the ISO file

  1. Right-click the downloaded ISO file and select Mount. Thendouble-click the setup file to start the Windows 11 installation.
double click the Windows 11 setup file

2. Wait for the Windows 11 setup to prepare and click on Next. If you don’t want to install Windows 11 updates, drivers, and optional features, click Change how Setup downloads updates and select Not right now.

click Change how Setup downloads updates

3. Click Accept to accept the license terms. Then Windows 11 setup will check for updates. When it ends, click Next to continue.

accept Windows 11 license

4. In the Ready to install window, click Change what to keep,select Nothing and click Next to clean install Windows 11.

click Change want to keep
select Nothing in Choose what to keep

5. Click Install and select the hard drive that you want to install Windows 11 on, and click Next.

6. Wait patiently for the installation to finish. Then process may take you some minutes or even hours.

7. When the installation is complete, follow the on-screen prompts to set up your Windows 11, such as country region, keyboard layout setting, computer name, and more.

select country region on Windows 11 setup

Option 2. Clean Install Windows 11 Using a USB

Another common way for Windows 11 fresh install is to use a USB flash drive. You can create a Windows 11 bootable media using the Media Creation Tool, command prompt, Rufus, or certain third-party software. Here’s how to fresh install Windows 11 using a USB.

Step 1. Create a Windows 11 installation media using the Media Creation Tool. If you don’t know how to do that, refer to this post “How to Create Windows 11 Installation Media on PC”.

create a Windows 11 installation media

Step 2. Start your computer with the Windows 11 installation media. When started, press any key to continue and click on Next.

Step 3. Click on Install Now to continue.

Step 4. Choose I don’t have a product key. If you have Windows 11 previously activated, it would reactivate Windows 11 later automatically.

click I don’t have a product key

Step 5. Select the edition of Windows 11 that your product key can activate if applicable. Then tick the checkbox beside I accept the license terms and click Next.

Step 6. Select Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) and select the partition where you want to install Windows 11, and click Next.

select Custom Install Windows only

Step 7. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the Windows 11 fresh install. The procedure is similar to the step 2 of the above method.

Option 3. Clean Install Windows 11 Using the Reset This PC Feature

If you have already run the same operating system, the Reset this PC option can help you fresh reinstall Windows 11. To do this work, follow the steps below carefully.

If you just want to upgrade your computer from Windows 10 to Windows 11, then you have to use one of the above 2 methods.

Step 1. Press Win + I keys to open the Settings window and select System.

Step 2. Select Recovery from the right panel and click Reset PC in the Reset this PC section.

click Reset PC

Step 3. Click Remove everything to do a fresh install of Windows 11.

select Remove everything

Step 4. Select Local reinstall.

select Local reinstall

Step 5. Click Change settings and you can configure the Windows 11 reinstallation, and click Confirm. Once confirmed, click Next.

click Change settings in Reset this PC

Step 6. Click on Reset to start reinstalling Windows 11. Similarly, you can select the hard drive you want to install Windows 11 and configure other settings as we explained above.

Ready to reset this PC

Option 4. Clean Install Windows 11 Using Cloud Download

You may find the “Cloud Download” option in the Reset this PC feature. This can also reset your computer with a clean install of Windows 11. It will download the Windows 11 installation file from the Microsoft server. If the local image cannot work, you can choose this option.

Make sure you have a stable network connection while using the Cloud Download option. This method will download the same version you already have installed on the PC, which means you cannot upgrade to a new version via this method.

Step 1. Follow Step 1 to Step 4 in Option 3 and select Cloud download to continue.

select Cloud download

Step 2. Click on Next. If you want to set additional settings, click Change settings and configure the settings, such as Clean data and Download Windows.

change settings on Reset this PC

Step 3. Click on Reset and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the reinstallation. Here the procedure is the same as the Option 3.

Option 5. Clean Install Windows 11 in WinRE

As you might know, Windows provides you with a way to reset this PC even if your computer can’t boot normally. You can use the “Reset this PC” option to clean install Windows 11 in WinRE. Let’s follow the guide below:

Step 1. Restart your computer and keep holding the Shift key to enter WinRE.

Step 2. Click Advanced options in the Automatic Repair screen.

Step 3. Select Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.

select Reset this PC in WinRE

Step 4. Select Remove everything.

select remove everything in WinRE

Step 5. Then you can select Cloud download or Local reinstall according to your needs.

select Local reinstall in WinRE

Step 6. Select the Only the drive where Windows is installed option. Or, you can also select All drives to delete all data on the hard drive.

select Only the drive where Windows is installed

Step 7. Select Just remove my files. If want to wipe the hard drive securely and clean install Windows 11, select Full clean the drive. This process may take several hours.

select Just remove my files in WinRE

Step 8. Click on Reset and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the fresh install of Windows 11.

How to do a clean install of Windows 11? This post shares 5 simple ways to fresh install Windows 11 with detailed steps. It’s worth reading.Click to Tweet

We Need Your Feedback

How to fresh install Windows 11? Now, I believe have known the answers. If you have more accessible ways to clean install Windows 11, please share them with us in the following comment zone. Besides, you can contact us via [email protected] if you have any confusion or feedback about MiniTool Partition Wizard.

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