How to get the first Windows 11 Preview builds

Microsoft took the wraps off Windows 11 officially today, and as well as revealing the new OS will be a free upgrade from Windows 10, it also announced that it will be issuing the first test builds to Windows Insiders shortly.

If you’re already a Windows Insider that’s great news (if you’re not you can sign up here), but Windows 11 has updated hardware requirements and there may be other roadblocks that prevent you from testing out the new OS.

Writing on the Insider blog, Brandon LeBlanc and Amanda Langowski say for those new to the Insider program you will need to go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program and opt-in your PC to flight Insider Preview builds via Settings.

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If you’re already flighting Insider preview builds, you will need to check your PC’s eligibility. See the chart at the bottom of the page.

While Microsoft recommends all PCs meet the full hardware requirements for Windows 11, it is allowing some limited exceptions:

All Windows Insiders who have already been installing builds from the Dev Channel on their PCs up through June 24, 2021 will be allowed to continue installing Windows 11 Insider Preview builds even if their PC does not meet the minimum hardware requirements. Insiders with PCs already in the Dev Channel have been installing and giving feedback on builds with Windows 11 features since last year. Our way of saying thanks is to go ahead and give them the opportunity to see everything come together. However, this comes with some important tradeoffs we want to call attention to:

  • Because these devices do not meet the new hardware requirements, there may be issues and bugs that impact the experience of Windows 11 on these PCs that may not get fixed.
  • If at any point something goes wrong on one of these PCs that requires having to go back to Windows 10, you can use the media creation tool here to go back to the Windows 10. These PCs will not be given another exception and not allowed to upgrade to Windows 11 Insider Preview builds again. They will be treated as a new PC and the minimum hardware requirements will be enforced as highlighted above.
  • Once Windows 11 is generally available, these PCs will be opted out of flighting and will not be able to receive future Windows 11 Insider Preview builds. These PCs must clean install back to Windows 10 with the media (ISOs) that we provide and can then join the Release Preview Channel to preview Windows 10 updates. 

The first Dev Channel Windows 11 Insider builds will arrive next week (likely on Wednesday).

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