If you want to try Windows 11 on your PC, but don't want to risk replacing a stable version of Windows 10 with a new operating system you may not like, you can use a virtual machine. Virtual machines allow you to simulate a PC but run it in a window on top of your main OS.
Below, we'll explain how to install Windows 11 in a virtual machine, step-by-step. There are several different VM applications available and below we'll show you how to install on VMWare Workstation Player, a free application. However, unlike the $99 VMWare Workstation Pro, Player doesn't support TPM, a requirement for Windows 11. Oracle VirtualBox, another free option, is going to add TPM support but doesn't have it now.
While earlier builds of Windows 11 would allow you to get away with not-having TPM support in your VPN, the latest versions do not. So you'll need to follow our guide on how to use the third method on our how to get a Windows 11 ISO tutorial, which allows you to build an ISO that bypasses the TPM requirement.
You host computer should also have at least 8GB of RAM and a quad-core CPU, because the VM will need to use at least two cores and 4GB of RAM.
How to Install Windows 11 on Virtual Machine
1. Download and install VMware Workstation Player. It's a free download for non-commercial use.
2. Create a Windows 11 ISO file if you don't have one already. Because VMWare Workstation Player doesn't support TPM at this time, you'll need to use Aveyo's Univeral MediaCreationTool to create your ISO, because it automatically disables TPM detection. See the third method in our article on how to get a Windows 11 ISO file for more details.
3. Select New Virtual Machine from the Player->File menu in VMWare Workstation Player.
4. Select the location of your Windows 11 ISO file when prompted and click Next.
5. Select Microsoft Windows as the guest OS and Windows 11 or Windows 10 as the version number (your version of VMWare Player may not have Windows 11 as an option as ours did not, but choosing 10 here is fine). Then click Next.
6. Name your virtual machine anything you want and click Next.
7. Set the Maximum disk size to at least 64GB and choose "Store virtual disk to one file." Then click Next.
8. Click Customize Hardware.
8. Increase the RAM to at least 4GB (4096MB), preferably 8GB. Click Close.
9. Click Finish and make sure "Power on this virtual machine..." is checked.
10. Press a key to boot off of the ISO, which the VM thinks is a DVD. If you're not fast enough, you can select Power->Restart from the Player menu.
11. Follow the prompts to install Windows 11. If you don't have a product key, you can click "I don't have a product key" and the OS will still install (though not be officially activated).
12. Select the version of Windows 11 you want if prompted.
13. Select Custom Install when prompted to choose between Custom and Upgrade and then select your disk.
You'll have to wait a few minutes for the install to complete, of course. Also, make sure you use a Microsoft Account when prompted.
14. Click Install Tools and then install the VMWare graphics driver from the virtual optical drive.
15. Reboot if prompted. The Windows 11 OS will now adjust its resolution to match the size of the VMWare Workstation Player window.
Note that, if you want to keep getting new builds, you should probably sign up for the Windows Insider program.