Later Windows operating systems like Win8, Win10, and Windows 11 have a built-in feature to run installation files through a virtual drive by mounting it within an existing Windows operating system. This makes it easier to install compatible Windows to an existing system.
To mount an ISO file means to access its contents as if it was recorded on a physical medium and then inserted in the optical drive. If you downloaded software as an ISO image and want to install it, mounting it will be faster and easier than recording it on a disc or creating a bootable USB media installer.
This process cuts down the step of making another bootable USB installation media by downloading an ISO image. Moreover, this type of installation is very useful when you have installed a different Edition of Windows 11/10 on your computer. For example, you installed Windows 10/11 Home instead of Pro. Or if you do not have a USB or CD/DVD to record the installation file.
Before you proceed, you need to download an ISO from Microsoft’s download server. Select which Windows operating system are you looking to install.
In this section, you will learn how to install an ISO image for Windows 11. You can also use this procedure in installing Windows 10 using the Mount feature. The process is identical.
Downloading Windows 11 ISO from Microsoft
Windows 11 ISO file which you can download free of cost from Microsoft’s official website. The Windows 11 ISO file should have the same language as your current Windows 11 installation. You need to download the Multi-edition ISO for Windows 11.
Moreover, you also need to log in to the administrator account on your system to perform this method. Make sure your system is fully charged or you can let your system connected to a power source during the process.
Scroll down to Download Windows 11 Disk Image, click the dropdown arrow, and select Windows 11 (multi-edition ISO for….)
Select the default language of Windows 11 you want to install on your computer
Click Download. Microsoft’s download center does not offer other system architecture versions for Windows 11
Note: The download links are only available within 24 hours from the time of creation. In the event that you are unable to download the ISO within the allotted time, please try again by starting from step 1.
Installing Windows 11 using ISO
The ISO file for Windows 11 is 5.4 GB and may take about 10-15 minutes depending on your internet speed.
Navigate through the Downloads folder and double-click to Mount the ISO.
You can also right-click to open the contextual menu and select the option to Mount.
After Mounting the ISO file, you would need to Open the file, this will then create a virtual drive allowing you to access Windows Setup.
The drive could be labeled as DVD Drive E or whichever name format is available.
After double-clicking the file, locate Setup and double-click it to run the installing file for Windows.
Click Yes in the User Account Control confirmation prompt. After this, Windows will start preparing for Windows 11 Setup. This may take a minute or less.
Windows installation Wizard will then appear.
Here, you can select whether you want to get updates during this repair upgrade. If you do not want any updates, you can click on Not right now. If you like, you can uncheck I want to help make the installation better option here. Click Next.
Note: If you are installing Windows 10, Setup may require you to place the product key before it continues with the installation.
To make the installation faster, you can select the option not to download the updates. It is also recommended to install the updates after the installation.
In the next screen, Accept the licensing terms to continue.
After a few moments, the Ready to Install screen will appear. In this Window, you can click on Change what to keep. Under Choose what to keep, you can select either to keep personal files and apps or keep personal files only or keep Nothing. Click Next after your selection.
Selecting “Nothing” is recommended when you have installed the wrong edition of Windows. For example, you installed Windows 11 Home instead of Pro or vice-versa.
Important: When selecting this option, Windows will remove all applications and data pre-installed on the machine. It will also remove User accounts, files, and everything else so make sure to backup your system by following the steps here, Things you Need to Backup and Prepare Before a Clean/Custom Windows Installation.
Finally, hit the Install button on the Ready to Install screen.
Now you’ll see Installing Windows 11 screen. This may take a while to complete, depending on your system.
Follow through the installation step if you need to install a different Windows 11 Edition How to install Windows 11.
This method will also work if you are facing multiple issues with your Windows 11 installation, you can perform a repair install with an in-place upgrade aka repair upgrade to fix such issues at once.
Using the repair upgrade, you can install Windows 11 over an already installed Windows 11 system. For installation, you can use Windows 11 ISO file available free of cost to everyone from the official Microsoft website.
After the repair upgrade, the broken system files will be fixed and the multiple issues you were facing should be resolved. Since repair install is an upgrade process, your data will not be affected and also, you have options to keep your data or remove it, as per your need. In this method, you need to select the option to Keep personal files and apps.
You can also install Windows applications such as MS Office without creating a USB or CD/DVD by using an ISO/IMG, though, there are a few steps you need to follow.
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