Microsoft issues DMCA complaint against site hosting Windows 11 ISO, confirms authenticity

Windows 11 Logo
Windows 11 Logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • An alleged copy of Microsoft's next-gen OS leaked to a public forum earlier this week.
  • The unapproved release confirmed the name 'Windows 11,' which is all over the OS.
  • Some conspiracy theorists doubted the leak's legitimacy, thinking it is a diversion or was done on purpose.
  • Microsoft is now issuing DMCA complaints to sites "distributing Windows 11 ISO (copyrighted to Microsoft)", appearing to confirm its authenticity and the name of the OS.

Microsoft has had one heck of a ride this week with an alleged Windows 11 ISO leaking to a public forum. That build of Windows had Windows 11 throughout the WinVer, setup screens, out-of-box-experience, and more along with a completely new UI and some hidden features too.

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

While we never doubted the authenticity of the leak or the OS being labeled Windows 11 (something we strongly hinted at a month ago), some people still thought this was some diabolic ruse by Microsoft. In other words, the leak was purposeful, the Windows 11 logos were a red herring, and later this month the company is going to reveal the real OS and new name.

Yeah, we know. Look, the internet is a weird and fun place.

Throwing water on that inane theory is the news Microsoft issued an official Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint against Google over an article by, based out of India. The protest was first spotted by Fossbytes this morning, and the DMCA complaint is viewable online. The complaint is against Google for listing the article in its search results and filed on June 17. From the complaint's description:'s article is distributing Windows 11 ISO (copyrighted to Microsoft). Please remove their article from the search. It is a leaked copy of the unreleased Windows 11.

It is unclear if other sites directly distributing the leaked ISO are also getting take-down notices, but it would seem likely once they are discovered.

Source: Lumen (Image credit: Source: Lumen)

However, the more important news is Microsoft demolishing the idea that this ISO was purposedly leaked by it, or the name of the new OS is not Windows 11.

Of course, as we noted, the leaked ISO is an early build of Windows 11 from May and is not the completed OS that will ship later in October as a free update.

Microsoft's next-gen OS has many revisions to the current Windows 10, primarily based around a new UI layer. Some of the changes include a new Start menu, new animations, improved touch experience, refreshed icons, novel system sounds, new OOBE, improved Ink Workspace, more Windows Snap options, and a Widget Panel.

Microsoft should fill in the gaps for features, further UI changes, developer news, monetization of apps, and any architectural changes on June 24 giving us the complete picture of Windows 11. Stay tuned.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Microsoft JP issues DMCA Claim and not Redmond. Could that be where the leak came from?
  • I assume it's more of a jurisdiction thing.
  • I wonder if the ISO contains fingerprints, so they know who leaked it?
  • See, this whole leak thing is gonna get serious at some point. It's understandable that MS are pissed off at losing the chance to surprise their audience and control their narrative. This is a big surprise and some hacker or inside scummy guy from the company ruined that. For MS and all of us, mind you, because I want to have all the new things now too, but I enjoy a presentation with surprises. I applaud MS taking legal measures with this. I just wish these things didn't happen at all, but also not so often that nowadays people expect them (even side with the perpetrators which is what I expect to happen right now in replies to my post). Tl;dr: leak and entitlement culture ruined a cool surprise.
  • I'll still say that, at least for some good news, there is a LOT we haven't seen or learned about yet. This is an incomplete build.
  • Just out of curiosity, how do we know this is incomplete build? Judging by the build number how far from feature complete build would you say this is?
  • I think there's going to be a lot of surprises. So I'm going to be watching.
  • Even Linus Tech Tips uploaded his latest video on w11. Maybe that pinched MS to take this step.
  • Yeah, he's a major influencer and moves opinions in the tech space. Thankfully, he had mostly positive opinions.
  • I find it hard to believe that so many people installed a leaked, non-official build hosted on a non-Microsoft site. All the talk about security, viruses etc and people are dumb enough to do this
  • Install through Hyper V with no network connection and problem mitigated
  • @captblaze that's still risky tho as the main o/s is still hosting. Best to use a third party application like Virtualbox or VMware Workstation Player (VMware Player) and then isolate that VM from the network in the O/S and actual application running the VM via settings + a firewall.
  • Thanks. I plan on waiting for it to drop to the insider program then I will give it a spin
  • I'm don't know if they can actually do this if it's a news article all the Indian side saying well they got that information from. Now if the article says go download it they might have a case .
  • "Now if the article says go download it they might have a case "
    That was the issue. The problem was not talking about Windows 11, it was a literal "how to" with a link to the ISO. presumably hosted by them. That article now redirects to a general "Windows 11 what you need to know" page.
  • It really upsets me somebody leaked the new Windows 10 Theme Pack, err Windows 11.
  • It would be hilarious and just plain awesome for Microsoft to announce Windows 12 instead this week. We missed 9, might as well go with Windows 12. Plus Mac is on 12 and they are trying to copy them.