Windows 11 released: here’s how to skip the queue and get it now

Someone at Microsoft has pressed the big red button labelled ‘launch Windows 11’ and it’s now being pushed to PCs around the world. Eventually, assuming it means a whole host of requirements, it will come to your PC, and Windows Update will tell you that it’s time for you to enjoy all the new features.

That could take a while though, with Microsoft saying that priority will be decided based on “hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors”. That means you could be waiting until mid-2022, when Microsoft reckons it will have delivered Windows 11 to all, like a slightly tardy Santa Clause.

But why wait patiently like a chump, when you can cut in line and get Windows 11 today? Unlike with Windows 10’s slow roll out, Microsoft has made it very easy for you to skip the queue and get Windows 11 right now — in fact, I’ve done it on both my desktop and laptop, which gives you an insight into how busy a Tuesday I’m having. 

Here’s how to upgrade to Windows 11 right now.

How to upgrade to Windows 11

  • Backup your important files. You can never be too careful, after all.
  • In your browser of choice, visit Microsoft’s Windows 11 download page
  • Now you have three options based on how you want to install Windows 11:
    A) The easiest, if you’re on the computer you want to upgrade, is the first: “Windows 11 Installation Assistant.” Download that, double click and — provided your PC is up to snuff — your PC will be upgraded to Windows 11 while you wait.
    B) “Create Windows 11 Installation Media” is ideal if you want to have a fresh installation of Windows, as it lets you create a bootable USB drive or DVD. Create the USB or DVD, and then boot from it for a fresh installation of Windows 11 on any PC you choose.
    C) “Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO)” is for bootable media, or for virtual machines.

For me, the upgrade — option A — was done in around an hour, though your pace may vary, especially if you’re using an older, slowed hard drive rather than a more modern SSD.

One thing to note: if the installer says you’re not Windows 11 ready due to a lack of TPM chip, all may not be lost. I initially got this message, but was able to enable it in the BIOS via a reboot. Once turned on, Windows 11 installed quite happily. More details on how to do that here.

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