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How to Clean Install Windows 11 Using DISM on Any HDD/SSD

So Windows 11 is finally here and we all want to install it as quickly as possible. However, Microsoft has put some restrictions about which systems are eligible for installation of Windows 11. If your CPU is not in their list, your system lacks TPM 2.0 or Secure Boot, then you cannot install Windows 11 on your system despite having an otherwise powerful system.

Fortunately, Microsoft developers have themselves described a method to bypass these system requirements. On one of their webpages Ways to install Windows 11, they have given a hint on how system requirement are not checked when deploying the Windows image through DISM. So here is the full method to clean install Windows 11 through DISM on any system, any HDD or SSD bypassing all the system requirements.

Note: This is not an upgrade. This is clean install on a HDD/SSD. All partitions on the target disk will be destroyed in the process. Please backup any data on the target disk before proceeding.

  1. Download official Windows 11 ISO as explained in how to download Windows 11 ISO.
  2. Download and install 7-zip from https://7-zip.org. It is used to extract contents from the ISO.
  3. Using 7-zip extract install.wim from the ISO to any folder on your PC. It is located inside the sources folder of Windows 11 ISO.
  4. Attach your target HDD/SSD to your Windows 10 PC (it must be Windows 10). All the contents of this disk will be destroyed since it is clean Windows 11 install. We can attach the disk using SATA to USB connector on a laptop or connect directly to a SATA port on the motherboard for a desktop computer.
  5. We are going to use diskpart for removing and creating partitions:
    • Launch administrator command prompt by pressing Win+X and then A.
    • Give diskpart command to launch diskpart.
    • Find out your target disk, by giving command LIST DISK, notice the disk number (in my case it was 1). Then select the target disk by giving the command SELECT DISK 1.
    • Ensure that we have a GPT disk (GPT * will be displayed against it). If it is not GPT then give command CONVERT GPT.
    • Check if it already has any partitions, if yes then delete them all. For checking partitions, give command LIST PARTITION. For each partition number, give command SELECT PARTITION 0 (replace 0 with partition number) and then DELETE PARTITION. Keep doing this until you have no partitions left.
    • Now we will create boot partition. For this give command, CREATE PARTITION EFI SIZE=100. In order to format the created partition give command FORMAT FS=FAT32 QUICK. Finally, assign a letter to this partition by giving command ASSIGN LETTER J.
    • Similarly, create a primary partition. We give command CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY then format it with the command FORMAT QUICK and then assign a letter ASSIGN LETTER K.
    • At this stage we have two partitions J: and K: on the target drive. K: is the partition on which Windows is installed and J: is our boot partition. Exit Diskpart by giving command EXIT.
  6. Check the various editions of Windows 11 available from install.wim (step 3) by giving the command: DISM /GET-IMAGEINFO /IMAGEFILE:INSTALL.WIM and note down the INDEX number of the edition that you want to install. In my case Windows 10 Pro is at index 6. If install.wim is in a different folder then specify the full path in the command.
  7. Finally deploy the image to install Windows 11 by giving the command: DISM /APPLY-IMAGE /IMAGEFILE:INSTALL.WIM /INDEX:6 /APPLYDIR:K: where index number and drive letters should be as found out in the previous steps.
  8. One final command to make the disk bootable, BCDBOOT K:\WINDOWS /S J: /F ALL.

This is it. You have clean installed Windows 11 on the target disk. When you boot from that disk, it will boot into Windows 11. Now you can start using Windows 11 as usual. Beauty of this method is that everything is done in a few minutes, you do not have to boot using DVD or USB drives to install Windows 11, and you can install using official Windows 11 ISO.