Is Windows 11 virtual machine free
Microsoft provides free Windows 11 Enterprise virtual machine (20 GB) for free download from official website or Windows Insider Program, and it also offers free download of Windows 11 ISO image file (5 GB) that can be used to create a new Windows 11 virtual machine.
Windows 11 has changed the interface and internal features including the new menu, taskbar and support for Android apps. It allows installing free Windows 11 for the Windows 10 users.
Prerequisites of Windows 11 virtual machine free download
Windows 11 virtual machine is now available for free from Microsoft website. Before you download the free Windows 11 virtual machine, you need to make sure of the following things.
1. Download the Windows 11 .iso file/ virtual machine to a computer, USB or external drive with sufficient storage space.
2. Network connection.
3. Check CPU: Only available for devices with x64 processors (a 64-bit CPU). Go to Settings >> System >> About.
4. Check the system requirement: Windows 11 device specifications
How to download Windows 11 virtual machine
If you downloaded the installation package of Windows 11 Enterprise from official website or Windows Insider Program, you will get Windows 11 virtual machine files after unzipping it.
Besides, it’s an efficient method to download Windows 11 ISO image file to create a virtual machine. Next, I will introduce the detailed procedures about how to install free Windows 11 VM.
How to install free Windows 11 VM
You can create a free Windows 11 virtual machine directly by mounting the ISO file, or use the ISO file to create a new virtual machine.
Mount the ISO file to launch Windows 11 virtual machine
1. Download the ISO file of Windows 11. Then locate it and right-click the file, select Properties.
2. On General page, select Change and specify Windows Explorer to open it. Click Apply.
3. Right-click on the ISO file and select Mount.
4. This will create a “virtual” bootable disc. Open the files and double-click setup.exe to start Windows 11 setup.
How to create a Windows 11 virtual machine
In this section, all the following steps are based on VMware Workstation to create a free Windows 11 virtual machine.
Create a virtual machine on Workstation:
1. Access to Workstation, click File >> New Virtual Machine.
2. Choose the Typical or Customed type of configuration as you want. Then check the hardware compatibility.
3. Select Install disc image file (iso). Then select Browse to open the ISO file.
4. Select guest operating system as Microsoft Windows and its version as Windows 10 and later x64.
5. Type the VM name and specify a location to store VM files. Then select firewall type as BIOS or UEFI. Specify the number of processors and memory size (at least 4 GB) for the virtual machine, 8 GB is more recommended.
6. Select the Network connection such as NAT, and choose the recommended options for I/O controller and disk.
7. Select Create a new virtual disk for this new VM.
8. Specify disk capacity (at least 64 GB) or more.
9. Then check the Customized Hardware, and click Finish.
Install free Windows 11 on virtual machine:
1. Restart the VM and fill in the basic details such as your preferred language, country, and input methods to install Windows 11.
2. If you don't have a product key, just click I don’t have a product key. Then select the version of Windows 11.
3. Then select Custom Installation when prompted to choose between Custom and Upgrade and then select your disk. It may take several minutes to finalize the installing process.
If your machine does not meet minimal requirements for Windows 11 installation, it will show a message: This PC can't run Windows 11. But if you still want to install Windows 11 on virtual machine, so set up the following settings.
Go to VM >> Settings >> Options >> Access Control >> Encrypt VM.
Back to Hardware >> Add >> Trusted Platform Module.
How to keep Windows 11 VM safe for free
Data security is very necessary for any business. After the successful installation of Windows 11, it can run your workloads efficiently. For the important VM data, I recommend you to make backups, especially for businesses.
The built-in features seem to be inefficient for example exporting VM, cloning VM or manually copying VM files. As a result, many users would turn to professional virtual machine backup software for better protection. But if you don't have a considerable budget on this, you'll find the available options are very scarce. So how can you protect Windows 11 virtual machines for free? I will provide some ideas here.
☛If you are runnning Windows 11 VM on VMware Workstation, or VMware ESXi free edition
Then there is no way for you to use agentless backup solution for centralized management of your virtual machines. Instead, you will need agent-based backup solution to back up your virtual machines as if they were physical machines.
To do this, you can pick a free backup software that supports Windows 11, AOMEI Backupper Standard, for example. It contains complete options to help you perform file backup/partition backup/system backup/disk backup as you like. And most importantly, it's free.
☛If you are running Windows 11 VM on Hyper-V, or VMware ESXi paid editions
Then you can use agentless backup solution to protect your VMs without install Agent on each VM. Here you can use the professional and free backup software AOMEI Cyber Backup. It can back up multiple virtual machines automatically through the central console and perform flexible schedule backups with easy steps.
This article introduces the solution to create a free Windows 11 virtual machine that requires more complex system and hardware settings. After you have successfully created Windows 11 virtual machine, it’s important to backup virtual machine timely that ensures the security of your business.