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How to get the Windows 11 final release before anyone else

Windows 11 final release preview
Windows 11 final release preview (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft is expected to begin the slow rollout of Windows 11 on October 5. However, since the new version has already been finalized, you can download it early using the Windows Insider Program.

The Windows Insider Program is a testing program designed for developers to explore new features and prepare their apps for the latest version. But it's also open to anyone who wants to provide feedback and help shape the future of the OS. The program is available in three different readiness levels (Dev, Beta, and Release Preview Channels) to get hands-on with the improvements and submit feedback. However, since the final version has to pass through all the channels, you can use the Release Preview Channel to upgrade a compatible computer before it is generally available.

In this Windows 11 guide, we will walk you through the steps of downloading the final release of the new version of thge OS ahead of the October 5 release.

How to install Windows 11 using Insider Program

The Release Preview Channel always features the final release of a new update for Windows. However, since this is still a pre-release, there is a small risk of issues that Microsoft usually patches before making the new version generally available.

Warning: This is a friendly reminder that modifying an installation of Windows can negatively impact your current setup. We recommend creating a temporary backup before proceeding as a precaution.

To enroll a computer in the Windows Insider Program to upgrade to Windows 11 before anyone else, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Insider Program.
  4. Click the Get started button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Link an account button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select your Microsoft account from the list.
  2. Click the Continue button.
  3. Under the "Pick your Insider settings" section, select the Release Preview Channel option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Confirm button.
  2. Click the Confirm button one more time to agree to the terms.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Restart now button.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Click on Update & Security.
  4. Click on Windows Update.
  5. Click the Check for updates button.
  6. Click the Download and install option to trigger the upgrade.

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)
  1. Click the Restart now button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows 11 will install on your computer.

Switch to the Beta Channel

If the final version is already available in the Release Preview Channel, but it does not appear on Windows Update, you can try to switch to the Beta Channel to download the update. However, if you receive a message that your computer won't run Windows 11 in the Windows Insider Program settings, you won't be able use these methods to upgrade.

To change the Windows Insider Program settings, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Insider Program.
  4. Under the "Pick your Insider settings" section, click the current option (Release Preview Channel).
  5. Select the Beta Channel option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Restart the device.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Click on Update & Security.
  4. Click on Windows Update.
  5. Click the Check for updates button.
  6. Click the Download and install option to trigger the upgrade.

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)
  1. Click the Restart now button.

After you complete the steps, your device should now download and install the new feature update.

Opt-out from the Windows Insider Program

After the upgrade, you can unenroll the device from the program to stop future preview downloads for the next update of Windows.

To stop receiving Windows 11 builds, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Windows Update.
  3. Click the Windows Insider Program page on the right side.
  4. Click the "Stop getting preview builds" section setting.
  5. Turn on the Unenroll this device when the next version of Windows release toggle switch.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Once you complete the steps and the new version is generally available, the device will no longer download previews automatically. However, it'll receive maintenance updates for as long as the release is supported.

Although you can use these instructions to upgrade as soon as Windows 11 is ready, usually, it takes months before a new version becomes fully available, and this version won't be fully available until the second half of 2022. As a result, to avoid problems, it's recommended to wait until the update to Windows 11 becomes available automatically through Windows Update.

More Windows resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

15 Comments
  • Wait, is the Release Preview channel build already out????
  • Microsoft releases first Windows 11 build for Release Preview Insiders with eligible PCs.
    https://www.onmsft.com/news/microsoft-releases-first-windows-11-build-fo...
  • Thanks for the link, and sure, the update was out and live (I already updated to Windows 11 with it). My point was that the article doesn't mention anywhere explicitly that in fact the Release Preview build was already out. It said everything else (probably a template for these articles), but it left out the exact new bit of info, so if you read only this article, which is the one that caught my eye, you lacked that info.
  • Yeah exactly. First thing I did was searching for release preview information. Would be useful if articles contained the full package.
  • My laptop has been on the Beta channel all this time and it has now the "22000.194 co_release". Is this the build that this article is talking about? Switching to "Release Preview Channel" does not find any updates.
  • Is there any way to skip the w11 update, if I get it under Windows Update?
  • I wonder if you turn off/disable TPM in the bios if that'll block it from giving you the update. I don't recommend that, but I wonder if that'll be a little work-around. Or if that'll be another way to say no. Either way, I am looking forward to Win11.
  • I won't disable TPM but have 6th gen intel CPU. That won't be the problem. Is w11 offers better read/write over w10 while using laptop HDD ?
  • You probably can change something under regdit / Services but that is currently being figured out at XDA. Not everyone wants win11 even if it's via the official route
  • read this topic from Askwoody forums, ads13:
    https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/upcoming-changes-to-windows-update... there are registry entries and updated group policies that should prevent the Win11 upgrade offer from showing up in Windows Update
  • What if you're in Dev Channel? There is no way out right now, without reinstall everything. :/
  • How can Microsoft even think about releasing the final version of Windows 11 when there is so much wrong with it. I, and many others, have sound issues. At present, my sound card is not recognised plus my Bluetooth headphones, though connected, are not picked up in the settings and therefore, no sound.
  • Other than in recent years this time I'll wait 3-6 months minimum I guess.
  • Well, none of my system had passed PC health check. I asked the MS Support team and the support assistant asked me to install w11 via ISO and forgot about PC health check app. 🤷‍♂️
  • I downloaded the latest ISO, 22000.194. I see I cannot install it via clean install on virtual machine using gen 1 or is it cause they blocked virtual machines as well now with this build? Will we not be able to use the ISO to install it on unsupported hardware as well now?