Installing Windows 11 in a Virtual Machine

Windows 10

|   25 steps

|   Difficulty: 4 of 5

|   Estimated Time: 15-40 minutes


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Before we get started...

Preliminary Requirements (3):

  • Install Oracle VM VirtualBox on your PC. In this tutorial, we are using version 6.1.22.

  • Make sure your PC has at least 32 GB of free disk space, and 4 GB or more of RAM, for setup and optimal performance of your Virtual Machine.

  • ​Have the (.iso) file for Windows 11 ready and in a familiar file location, like your desktop or downloads folder. You'll need to reference its location shortly.

Important Notes (3):

  • If you're unsure that your PC will run a Virtual Machine with Windows 11, try it with Windows 10 first. They will run very similarly.

  • If you can, we recommend installing Windows 11 using 64 GB of disk space and at least 4 GB of dedicated RAM. This will provide ample system performance, and allow critical services, like Windows Update, to function properly.

  • ​Steps 1 through 18 are only the setup of the Virtual Machine. Steps 12 through 25 are the setup of Windows 11 up until you are presented with the desktop. You may choose to follow some or all of these steps.

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Open Oracle VM VirtualBox.


Click New in the top-center of the screen. Give your Virtual Machine a Name, check where the machine will be installed, if desired, then change the Version to Windows 10 (64-bit). Click Next.


Choose how much memory (RAM) your Virtual Machine will use from your host computer. We recommend 4096 MB of RAM or higher. Click Next.


Leave the default selection for your hard disk (Create a virtual hard disk now). Click Create.


Leave the default selection for your hard disk file type (.VDI File). Click Next.


When you’re ready to set the storage on the physical hard disk, select Fixed Size. Select Next.


Check where the virtual hard disk file will be located (We left ours in the default location). Set the drive size, we recommend 64 GB or more. This takes many Windows Updates and several small apps and programs into consideration for use later. Click Create.


Wait about 1-5 minutes for the virtual hard disk to be created. Once it completes, you’ll be sent back to the main screen.


Click Start in green at the top-center of the screen. You’ll be asked shortly for the (.iso) file for Windows 11.


When asked for the Start-up disk, click the yellow and green folder icon. Select Add in the top-left corner. Browse for and open the Windows 11 .iso file. Click Choose. Double-check that the .iso file is selected on the drop-down list, then click Start.


You’ll know it worked when you see the blue Windows icon and a loading indicator. Wait several seconds for Windows to boot into the initial setup and installation screen. Review the language and region settings and click Next.


Select Install Now and wait several seconds. If you have a product key, enter it at this time. If not, click I don’t have a product key. Now, select the version of Windows 11 you’d like to use. We went with Windows 11 Pro. Click Next to continue. After you agreed to the terms, Checkmark the required box and click Next.


Click the second option to Custom install Windows. You’ll see the hard disk you setup earlier, select it and click the yellow New button. Set the storage size as high as possible, then click Apply. Click OK in the newly opened information box. Make sure the new disk (with the larger storage capacity) is selected and click Next.


Wait for Windows 11 to install the required operating system files and services. This took us 3.5 minutes, and can take up to an hour to complete, depending on your system’s performance. Click Restart Now or wait for the 10 second timer to countdown.


When the Virtual Machine restarts, you need to shut it down immediately to prevent Windows from going into a boot-loop. To shut down the virtual machine properly, click the X in the top-right corner of the window, and select Power off the machine. Click OK.


Open the Virtual Machine Settings in the top-center of the screen. Select Storage in the left-pane, then identify and select the .iso file with the blue CD icon. Remove the .iso file by clicking the red X icon at the bottom of the window. Click Remove in the newly opened warning box, then select OK to close the Settings window.

Essentially, this is the virtual method for removing the installation CD from the disk drive, if this were a physical computer.


Click Start again to boot the Virtual Machine. It should boot normally, without the “Press any key to boot…” indicator screen.


Wait for Windows 11 to complete the initial boot, and setup critical drivers. This can took us 4 minutes, and can take up to twenty minutes to complete, depending on your system’s performance. After this process, you’ll be greeted to the beautiful setup wizard of Windows 11.


Set your Region, Keyboard Layout/Input Method, then Choose to use a second keyboard layout or not.


Windows will check for updates if you have an active internet connection and may take several minutes to check. Since you’re using a Virtual Machine, Windows 11 will use your existing internet connection, making setup quicker and easier.


Select how you’ll use Windows. We chose Personal use for our Virtual Machine. Next, you’ll sign into your Microsoft account to take advantage of additional services in Windows, like OneDrive and Microsoft Store.


Create your PIN for use when logging in and select OK. If you have Windows Hello hardware, you may not be able to use it with this Virtual Machine.


Choose your privacy settings and click Accept. Next, choose how you may use your Virtual Machine to help improve your Windows experience, or click Skip.


Choose whether to store files in OneDrive online, or to keep all your files local on your Virtual Machine.


Windows will check for updates again, finish setting up devices and critical Windows services and features, and prepare your desktop.


Content created on 6/24/2021. Performed with host OS Windows 10 Pro (Version: 21H1, Build 19043.1081).
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