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Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine

How to install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine (VM)? Let’s say you like to install Windows 11 on VMware ESXi. It means you need to create a Virtual Machine and install Windows 11 on top of that. In our example, we will install Windows 11 on a Virtual Machine running on VMware ESXi.

Windows 11 system requirements

These are the minimum system requirements for installing Windows 11 on a PC, according to Microsoft.

Processor1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
RAM4 GB
Storage64 GB or larger storage device
System firmwareUEFI, Secure Boot capable.
TPMTrusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
Graphics cardCompatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
DisplayHigh definition (720p) display greater than 9″ diagonally, 8 bits per color channel

Create Virtual Machine with system requirements

Create a new Virtual Machine in VMware ESXi. Go through the steps in the wizard. Ensure that you create a hard disk that has a minimum of 64GB.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine ESXi Virtual Hardware

We always recommend using VMXNET3 as a network adapter type. Select the Windows 11 ISO file, and checkboxes connect and connect at power on.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine ESXi Virtual Hardware settings

Boot Windows 11 from ISO file

Start the Virtual Machine and press any key to boot the Windows 11 installation.

Boot Windows 11 from CD or DVD

Give it a little bit of time to load all the files.

Windows 11 installation loading

Select the language and other preferences. Click Next.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine enter language

Install Windows 11

Click on Install now.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine Install now

Do you have a Windows key? Insert the Windows key in the field. In our example, we will activate Windows 11 at a later stage. That’s when you click on I don’t have a product key.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine Activate Windows

Select the operating system you want to install. For example, Windows 11 Pro. Click Next.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine Select operating system

You will get the message:

This PC can’t run Windows 11
This PC doesn’t meet the minimum system requirements to install this version of Windows. For more information, visit https://aka.ms/WindowsSysReq.

Read more: This PC can’t run Windows 11 – Bypass/Fix »

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine this PC can't run Windows 11

Accept the Microsoft Software License Terms. Click Next.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine license terms

Click Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine custom install windows only

Click on the drive with Unallocated Space. Click Next.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine where to install Windows

Windows 11 installation will go through the steps:

  • Copying Windows files
  • Getting files ready for installation
  • Installing features
  • Installing updates
  • Finishing up
Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine  installing Windows

Windows needs to restart to continue with the setup.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine Windows need  to restart to continue

The Windows 11 installation restarts a couple of times and gets everything ready.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine getting ready

Just a moment.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine just a moment

Set up Windows 11

Click on the country and click Yes.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine country or region

Click on the keyboard layout that you want to use. Click Yes.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine  keyboard layout or input method

Do you want to add a second keyboard? Click on add layout. Otherwise, click Skip.

Windows 11 add second keyboard layout

There is no network connection. That’s because we choose for VMXNET3 adapter, and it will get active after installing VMware Tools.

Click on I don’t have internet.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine connect to network

Click on Continue with limited setup.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine continue with limited setup

Enter your name. Click Next.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine enter your name

Enter a password. Click Next.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine create memorable password

Confirm your password. Click Next.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine confirm your password

Select the first security question from the dropdown menu and add an answer. Click Next.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine add security question

Select the second security question from the dropdown menu and add an answer. Click Next.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine add security question

Select the third security question from the dropdown menu and add an answer. Click Next.

Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine add security question

Choose your privacy settings for the device. In this example, we uncheck all checkboxes. Click Accept.

Choose privacy settings

Windows 11 will initialize the last steps.

Finalizing installation

Windows 11 is almost there.

Keep PC on and plugged in

Windows 11 installation on Virtual Machine completed. But, there is no internet connection. Let’s install VMware Tools.

Windows 11 installation completed

Install VMware Tools

Mount the VMware Tools ISO and run the VMware Tools Setup. Click Next.

VMware Tools Setup welcome

Choose setup type Typical. Click Next.

VMware Tools Setup type

Click Install to start the VMware Tools installation.

VMware Tools Setup ready to install

The Setup Wizard installs VMware Tools.

Installing VMware Tools

Vmware Tools Setup Wizard completed. Click Finish.

VMware Tools Setup completed

Restart the system for the configuration changes made to VMware Tools to take effect. Click Yes.

VMware Tools Setup restart

The icons start to show up in the applications section because the internet fetches the information.

Network adapter type active

You did successfully install Windows 11 on a VM. In this example, it was a Virtual Machine hosted on VMware ESXi.

Windows 11 post-installation configuration

Go through the Windows 11 post-installation configuration:

  1. Activate Windows
  2. Search for Windows Updates
  3. Configure a static IP address
  4. Join the Windows 11 computer to a domain
  5. Install a security product

Keep reading: Turn off Windows Defender in Windows 11 permanently »

Conclusion

You learned how to install Windows 11 on a Virtual Machine. The same steps will work on physical machines. Microsoft made the Windows 11 setup easy with two phases, which are collecting information and installing Windows. Remember to have a network connection to finalize the installation.

Did you enjoy this article? You may also like Convert thick provisioned disk to thin on VMware ESXi. Don’t forget to follow us and share this article.

ALI TAJRAN

ALI TAJRAN

ALI TAJRAN is a passionate IT Architect, IT Consultant, and Microsoft Certified Trainer. He started Information Technology at a very young age, and his goal is to teach and inspire others. Read more »

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