You can now run Windows 11 from a live disk -- no installation required -- here's how

flash drive and laptop

Linux live disks provide a convenient and versatile solution for trying out various distributions without the need for installation. These bootable USB drives or CD/DVDs allow users to run a fully functional operating system directly from the removable media before committing to a full installation.

If you prefer Microsoft's operating system, it is now possible to create a live disk for Windows 11 -- fantastic news for anyone uncertain about whether the new OS will suit their needs and would like to try it first.


The developer behind this breakthrough -- NTDEV -- previously created Tiny11, a majorly stripped-back, bare-bones version of Windows 11 Pro, and has now produced an optimized version called Live11 which is designed to run in RAM.

Announcing the new release, NTDEV says:

Live11 is an optimized tiny11 image that was designed to fit on a 4GB VHD, and that it runs completely on RAM. Since it's only 4GB, this means that it can fit on DVD, making this possibly the first Windows 11 live DVD.

This was made possible thanks to the grub4dos project, as well as the SVBus driver.

While this is a great idea, it’s not without issues. NTDEV describes it as a "proof of concept" and warns there are several issues to be aware of, including:

  1. It only boots on legacy MBR/BIOS devices. This is to be fixed on a later release.
  2. Virtualbox VMs don't work, because it reboots after the "installing devices" phase. And because this is a non-persistent image, all the progress is lost, and as such, it's on a boot loop. VMware and Hyper-V, however, do work.
  3. It requires 8GB of RAM. Although the image only uses 4GB of RAM, it needs twice of that to load.

You can download the ISO directly from the Internet Archive, and there’s also a torrent version available from there if you want to grab it that way.

Photo Credit: Mario Lopes/Shutterstock

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