Full Guide: Clean Install Windows 11 without US

When you need to clean install Windows 11 without a clear idea, you can refer to the below full guide with clear images!


By Maggie Updated on October 10, 2023

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Why do you clean install Windows 11?

At one point, I faced a unique problem: a Windows tablet refused to upgrade from Windows 10 at the Anniversary Update. To complicate matters, the tablet's only USB port was broken and didn't recognize any USB flash drives. I didn't have any SD cards available, and even if I did, Windows installation can't be booted from an SD card. Moreover, to increase storage space, I removed the factory restore partition and extended the C: drive into that freed space.

To conclude: how can I clean install Windows 11 without using flash drives like USB?

A clean install involves erasing and formatting the computer's hard drive, allowing for a fresh installation of the operating system. It's like starting anew with a brand-new Windows OS.

Windows 11

Reinstalling Windows can resolve system issues, but it carries a risk of data loss. People often use USB drives or CDs to minimize this risk. However is USB is not available, how to clean install Windows 11 without USB? Here is the full guide for your reference.

How to clean install without USB

It's important to note that this process will remove all system files, settings, registry entries, and installed applications. Therefore, it is crucial to backup your important files before proceeding with the clean install.

Stage 1. Preparations

Step 1. Download the Windows 11 ISO file from the Microsoft Support website.

Step 2. To create a partition for storing the Windows ISO image.

  • Proceed to shrink the C: partition. Press Windows key + X and choose Disk Management, then right-click the C: partition and choose Shrink Volume...

Shrink Volume

  • Shrink C: with 6 GB (6,144 MB) and click on Shrink button to confirm.
  • Right-click the new partition, and select New Simple Volume.

New Simple Volume

  • The New Volume Wizard will open. Simply click Next four times, accepting all defaults. Then, create the new volume (partition) by clicking Finish.

Completing the New Simple Volume Wizard

  • New partition will be created and formatted:

Create and Formatted the New Simple Volume

  • On the new partition, create a folder named ISO_Files.

Step 3. Mount the downloaded ISO image as a virtual DVD by double-clicking it. Open the mounted ISO in File Explorer, select all files and folders using CTRL + A, copy them with CTRL + C, and paste the ISO content into the ISO_Files folder on the new partition you just created.

Copy ISO content:

Copy the ISO Content

Paste to ISO_Files folder:

Paste to the ISO Folder

Stage 2. Boot to Command Prompt

Step 1. Open Run window by pressing Windows + R and enter shutdown /r /f /o /t 0 command to restart Advanced Startup Options.

Step 2. On Advanced Startup Options, select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Command Prompt.

Command Prompt

Step 3. Select one of the listed administrator accounts. In this scenario, since there is only one admin account, select it and enter your password on the next screen to open Command Prompt.

Account Passwords

Stage 3. Run Windows Setup from the partition on the same PC

✍Tip: Drive letters might change when booting into Command Prompt. To confirm, we will check the drive letter for the added new partition containing the Windows 10 ISO and downloaded driver installers. This can be done using the DISKPART command.

Step 1. Enter the following commands and hit Enter after each command:


list vol


Step 2. I can now launch Windows Setup from the ISO_Files folder with following command, which is located on drive D: with following command in my case:


Step 3. In the pop-up window to install Windows 11, click on Install and prompt to choose the required info.

Windows Setup

Step 4. Normally run the setup step-by-step. Select I don't have a product key in the below window.

Product Key

Step 5. Then in the drive options, select and delete each partition one by one except the additional partition containing Windows ISO files to perform a clean install Windows 11 without USB.

Delete Drivers

Step 6. When you have only unallocated space and the partition with ISO files left, select the unallocated space and click Next to start installing Windows 11. Windows Setup will automatically repartition the HDD during the installation process.

Select Drive or Partition

Step 7. Once the installation is done, you need to restart your computer by clicking Restart now. This way is okay to clean install Windows 10 without USB as well.

Restart Now

Full guide to backup system in case of data loss

Clean install Windows 11 lies potential risks when performing it, especially for non-technical uses. Some errors like Download Error - 0x800f0806 occur, and incorrect operation brings irreversible data loss without a backup in advance.

Therefore, in order to avoid any problems that may lead to data loss or system crashes during the update process, it is recommended that you make a backup of your computer before updating. AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free computer backup software. In just a few steps you can create a system or disk backup

☞This software allows you to back up individual files, partitions, the entire system, or even the whole disk effortlessly.
☞The software saves you from manual tasks by offering scheduled backups on a daily, weekly, or monthly and more.
☞Using incremental and differential backup, the software only backs up changed files, reducing the risk of running out of backup disk space significantly.
☞You have the flexibility to adjust compression levels, split backup images, utilize Microsoft VSS service, and employ intelligent sector backup according to your preferences.
☞It supports multiple Windows operating systems, such as Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista.

Now download this software and install it on your PC.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Launch this free backup software, click the Backup tab on the main page, and then choose System Backup.

System Backup

Step 2. The system-related partitions will be selected by default. Select a destination location to receive the backup image. You can backup to any location (folder) that Windows detects, including external hard drive, NAS network location, local storage, etc.

Select Destination

Step 3. In the left bottom, click Schedule Backup to configure scheduled backup settings if needed. After that, click Start Backup to start the operation.

Start Backup

✍Bonus tip:
►If you are worried about the irreversible damage to your computer, you can create a boot device in advance. Thus, you can restore from bootable CD/USB when your PC fails to boot.
►Upgrading to AOMEI Backupper Professional or higher editions allows you to create a special recovery environment for backup and restore operations without booting Windows. Simply navigate to Tools > Recovery Environment to enable this feature.

Recovery Environment

To sum up

Clean install Windows 11 without USB is beneficial for you. You can follow the above instructions to do. Warmly note that backup your system before carrying such an operation is needed. Using AOMEI Backupper to create a system backup image in advance will benefit you if you are doing something incorrect or you want to recover everything backup to its original.

Additionally, this software can migrate your whole system, disks, and selected partitions to other devices while keeping the original allocations intact by using its ghost copy hard disk technology, which is embedded with hot clone technology enabling you to run the operation even when using the computer.

Maggie · Editor
Maggie is a technical editor from AOMEI and troubleshoots technical problems against data protection. She has received professional and systematic technical training. With a focus on user experience, security, and problem-solving, she always puts herself in the readers' shoes and provides them with valuable technical insights.