How to download Windows 11 — get a sneak peek via the preview build

Windows 11
(Image credit: Microsoft)

"How to download Windows 11 preview build" is the question that's blowing up Google search as Windows fans get antsy for the upcoming new OS. The anticipation of Windows 11, officially rolling out to the public this holiday season, has us on the edge of our seats. 

If you, like us, have too much ants in your pants to wait for the end of 2021 for the full Windows 11 experience, don't worry — Microsoft has a solution that will assuage your impatience. The Redmond-based tech giant released a Windows 11 preview build on Monday, but it's only available to Windows Insider members.

How to download Windows 11 preview build

First, you must determine whether your PC meets the minimum requirements of the Windows 11 preview build. Although the Windows 11 CPU requirements page rejects 7th Gen Intel CPUs and AMD Zen 1 processors, Microsoft is backpedaling. 

"As we release to Windows Insiders and partner with our OEMs, we will test to identify devices running on Intel 7th generation and AMD Zen 1 that may meet our principles," Microsoft said in a statement on Monday. In other words, Microsoft is expanding its minimum requirements to include older-generation processors for now; it will review the feedback from the Windows 11 preview build before giving its final say on system requirements.

Typically, prospective Windows Insider members could use PC Health Check to determine their system eligibility, but Microsoft announced that it removed the app temporarily while it irons out the minimum requirements; PC Health Check will be back online this fall.

If you have an Intel 7th Gen or AMD Zen 1 CPU, don't worry. You'll still have a chance to test the Windows 11 preview build and offer your feedback. You can find the revised Windows 11 requirements here.

Join the Windows Insider Program

The Windows Insider Program is a community that beta tests new Windows features that Microsoft is poised to roll out to all users. Keep in mind that some builds released in the Insider Program may be buggy and negatively affect your PC. 

Windows Insider Program

Windows Insider Program (Image credit: Microsoft)

Follow the instructions below to get started.

1. Click here, hit "Register" and sign in with your Microsoft account.

2. Read the "Preparation" section to ensure your laptop is ready for the Windows Inside Program

2. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program > Get Started

3. A window titled “Pick Your Insider Settings” will appear. Click on "Dev Channel" and select "Confirm."

Windows Insider Program

Windows Insider Program (Image credit: Microsoft)

4. A new Window will appear informing you that Microsoft will collect data from your PC. If you agree, click "Confirm." 

5. Click on "Restart Now." When the restart is completed, your PC will be linked to the Windows Insider Program.

Download Windows 11 preview build

1. Navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program

2. Click "Check for Updates." After a minute or two, the Windows 11 preview build download will kick off. Be patient! The installation process is lengthy.

3.  Your PC will eventually reboot to the next-generation OS. Congratulations, you have Windows 11 ready for testing.

The full version of Windows 11 is expected to hit all PCs during the holiday season. For more Windows 11 news, check out our coverage below.

Windows 11 news

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!