Windows 11 has a lot of new features but I wanted to try it out first before upgrading from Windows 10. So, I decided to download the free trial from the Windows Insider program. In this walkthrough I’ll cover some of the new features of Windows 11, potential reasons not to upgrade, and then the steps to Install Windows 11 on VM Ware Workstation Player.
What’s new in Windows 11
You may be wondering why upgrade to Windows 11 when Windows 10 works great and won’t be end of life for several years. Below are just a few of the new features to get excited about. Here is a more detailed list about the new features.
- Redesigned user interface: Windows 11 has a fresh and modern look with new icons, a centered Start menu, and more fluid animations.
- Improved performance: Windows 11 promises faster boot times, improved battery life, and better performance on modern hardware.
- Enhanced gaming experience: Windows 11 includes several features that could improve gaming, including support for DirectX 12 Ultimate, DirectStorage, and Auto HDR.
- Better virtual desktop experience: Windows 11 comes with a new feature called Snap Layouts, Snap Groups, and Desktops that enable users to quickly organize their workspaces and optimize their workflow.
- Built-in Microsoft Teams integration: Windows 11 comes with Microsoft Teams integrated directly into the operating system, making it easier to join virtual meetings, chat, and share files.
- Improved touch and pen support: Windows 11 promises to improve touch and pen support, with better integration with Windows Ink and more natural handwriting recognition.
- Security improvements: Windows 11 comes with several security features, including improved protection against ransomware, more robust encryption, and a new feature called Windows Hello that allows users to log in using their face or fingerprint.
Reasons to not upgrade to Windows 11
It is worth noting that upgrading to Windows 11 may not always be best solution for you. Be sure to use the Windows PC Health Check before upgrading. Here are 3 considerations for not upgrading.
- Hardware requirements: Windows 11 has more stringent hardware requirements than Windows 10 such as Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM), which means that some older devices might not be compatible with the new operating system.
- Compatibility issues: Some software and hardware may not be compatible with Windows 11, particularly legacy applications or peripherals that require specific drivers.
- Learning curve: Windows 11 has a redesigned user interface that may take some users time to get used to, particularly those who are accustomed to the classic Windows layout.
Download Windows 11 Preview
To download the Windows 11 preview, you can follow these steps:
- Ensure that your device meets the minimum system requirements for Windows 11. You can check the system requirements here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-11-specifications
- Join the Windows Insider Program by visiting the Windows Insider website: https://insider.windows.com/en-us/register
- Sign in with your Microsoft account, and choose the Dev Channel for Insider builds.
- Once you have enrolled in the Windows Insider Program, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program and click “Get Started.”
- Follow the instructions to link your Microsoft account, choose the Dev Channel, and restart your device.
- Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and check for updates. You should see the Windows 11 preview available for download.
Installing Windows 11 on VM Ware Player
WM Ware Workstation Player 17 is free for personal use and has been specifically designed to work with Windows 11 . If you’re not sure how to install WM Ware Player please checkout my other blog post.
The New Virtual Machine Wizard will guide you through creating the new virtual machine. Select the Windows 11 .iso file and click Next.
Because of Windows 11’s Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM) requirement you will then be prompted to choose Encryption type and enter a password.
Enter the physical disk space you want to allocate to your VM.
Click Finish after reviewing the settings or click Customize Hardware to configure additional options such as CPU and RAM.
Confirm EFI Secure boot settings in VMK File
Once the virtual machine has been created Windows 11 installation will attempt to run however you may get an error.
Open the virtual machine .vmk configuration file and make sure the two parameters below are set and then reboot the virtual machine.
firmware = "efi" managedVM.autoAddVTPM = "software"
Windows 11 Setup wizard
After rebooting the virtual machine you should see the Windows 11 Setup wizard open.
During my install I saw the error below about “No device drivers were found. Make sure the installation media contains the correct drivers, and then click OK”. Fortunately just rebooting and starting the setup wizard again resolved the issue.
Next you will be prompted to Activate Windows so enter the license if you have one otherwise click I don’t have a product key and then click Next.
Select the version of Windows 11 you want to install. I choose Home edition.
Select the disk drive where you want to install Windows
Next you’ll see the familiar Installing Windows status screen.
Configuring Windows 11
Once Windows finishes installing you’ll next configure the local settings for your PC by selecting the Country or region where you live.
During my virtual machine installation I experienced the OOBYEYBOARD error which refers to “Out of Box Experience keyboard” which is related to selecting the keyboard layout for your PC but it was easily resolved by just clicking the Try Again button.
The next step is simply entering a name for your computer.
Select your privacy preferences for the Microsoft experience
Installing Windows 11 without a Microsoft account
Windows 11 will try to get you to configure a Microsoft account but it’s not required. The workaround is to enter a generic account like firstname.lastname@example.org and then click Next
You will then be able to advance to the next screen.
Enter a name for a local user account .
Configure 3 security questions.
Choose the privacy settings for your device. Enabling them means less privacy. Disabling means more privacy.
Windows 11 will then finish preparing your new computer.
Finally you will arrive a the Windows 11 desktop.
How to relocate the Start Menu in Windows 11
One of the new features of Windows 11 is that Start menu is in the center of the task bar. Personally I prefer having it on the left side. Fortunately you can switch it easily in the Taskbar Personalization settings. Select the Taskbar alignment menu and click Left. It will now appear on the left side like previous versions of Windows.
Windows 11 has many new features worth checking out and you can do that easily by downloading the Windows Insider Preview and installing it on VM Workstation Player 17. However it not be right for users with older equipment due to Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM) and other requirements so use the Windows PC Health Check tool before upgrading. Thanks for reading.