Windows 11 was officially released at the end of 2021 for traditional PCs, and you can already get it running on a Raspberry Pi. It’s not as straightforward as installing a Linux distribution that’s made for the Raspberry Pi, but the procedure isn’t that complicated. I will explain everything in this article.
The easiest way to install Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi is to use WoR Flasher on Raspberry Pi OS directly, to flash Windows 11 on a SSD disk. It’s also possible to use the same tool on a PC, from a Windows or Linux system.
There are some prerequisites required in order to make this work, so we’ll start there. Then I’ll give you the step-by-step guide to get Windows 11 running on your Raspberry Pi. In a few minutes (with a good Internet connection), you can have Windows 11 up and running on your Raspberry Pi!
If you’re looking to quickly progress on Raspberry Pi, you can check out my e-book here. It’s a 30-day challenge where you learn one new thing every day until you become a Raspberry Pi expert. The first third of the book teaches you the basics, but the following chapters include projects you can try on your own.
Prerequisites To Install Windows 11 on Raspberry Pi
Windows 11 is not the traditional operating system you’ll get running on a Raspberry Pi, so there are a few things you will have to get right in order to start the procedure below.
Windows 11 “works” on a Raspberry Pi, but don’t expect perfect performances. It will be slow, whatever hardware you use. Knowing this, it would be better to use the best you can in order to ensure the best results while doing this experiment.
Here are my recommendations to get the best results:
- A Raspberry Pi 4 with 8 GB of RAM: It’s the best model available right now. A Pi 4 with 4 GB or a Pi 400 will do the job, but I wouldn’t expect something decent on an older model.
You can find a great kit here if you don’t have one yet.
- A USB drive, ideally an SSD: to install Windows on. Using an SSD will slightly improve the performance, so it is best if you can get one.
SSD is cheap, and you can get one with a USB cable directly on Amazon (here is my favorite, and here is a cheaper but solid option that you can put in a USB adapter like this one).
- Optional: a decent SD card. Only if you follow the first method, installing Windows from Raspberry Pi OS.
You can read my benchmark of the best SD cards here, or get the winner on Amazon if you don’t have anything good enough.
The only thing you need is to have an up-to-date firmware that allow the boot from a USB device, and even take is as the default option.
Basically, if you already booted from a USB drive or if your Raspberry Pi device is new (2021 and further), it should be fine. You have nothing to do.
If not, you need to update the firmware to the latest version, and set the USB boot by default in raspi-config.
I explain everything in my course, there is an entire project where I explain how to boot from a USB disk, but in a nutshell, here are the commands you need:
sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade
Once done (or if you know your device is already ready for this), you can move to the next step.
In any case, you can still come back to this if you see that your Raspberry Pi is not using the USB drive to boot.
Are you a bit lost in the Linux command line? Check this article first for the most important commands to remember and a free downloadable cheat sheet so you can have the commands at your fingertips.
Method 1 : Install Windows 11 from Raspberry Pi OS
The easiest way to install Windows 11 on Raspberry Pi, is to do it directly from Raspberry Pi OS. Unlike the second method, you don’t need to go on weird sites to find the correct image to download, the process is straightforward, and the tool will do everything for you.
Here are the required steps to install Windows 11 directly from Raspberry Pi OS:
- Install Pi-Apps on Raspberry Pi OS.
- Use Pi-Apps to install WoR Flasher.
- Use WoR Flasher to create the USB drive with Windows 11.
We’ll now see how to do this step-by-step. And if you want to watch this tutorial in video, here is the corresponding video on my channel:
Get Raspberry Pi OS on your Raspberry Pi
Before going further, you need to have Raspberry Pi OS running on your Raspberry Pi. I recommend using an SD card for Raspberry Pi, and a USB drive (key or SSD) for Windows.
If you start from scratch, you can follow this tutorial to get Raspberry Pi OS on your SD card and do the initial configuration. You’ll need an internet connection and an up-to-date system.
I’m testing this on a Raspberry Pi 4 (4 GB) and Raspberry Pi OS Bullseye, but the system version and Raspberry Pi model shouldn’t matter that much. If you already have an SD card ready with Buster on it, go with it.
Install Pi-Apps on your Raspberry Pi
Then, you need to install Pi-Apps. Pi-Apps is a tool to install many applications easily on your Raspberry Pi. It’s not mandatory, but it will make the next steps way easier for you.
You can find the installation details on their GitHub page here, but basically, you can install it in one command:
- Open a terminal.
- Copy and paste this line:
wget -qO- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Botspot/pi-apps/master/install | bash
That’s it, Pi-Apps is now available in the main menu, you can move to the next step.
Use Pi-Apps to install WoR Flasher
Now that Pi-Apps is installed, we can use it to install WoR Flasher on Raspberry Pi OS. WoR stands for “Windows on Raspberry Pi” and is a tool to install Windows 11 on a USB disk in a few clicks.
Here is how to install it:
- Open Pi-Apps. You’ll find it in your main menu, under Accessories.
- Go in “All Apps” or “Tools” and find “Windows Flasher” near the end.
- Select it and click on “Install”.
Pi-Apps will do everything for you. You will have to wait a few minutes, and then it’ll be installed on your Raspberry Pi.
Use WoR Flasher to install Windows 11
Once WoR Flasher installed, start it from the main menu – it’s under the Accessories submenu too. The interface is straightforward, it will ask you:
- To select the Windows version you want to install and the Raspberry Pi model you have.
- The language to use.
- The device where you want to flash Windows 11.
At this stage, make sure to have your USB drive plugged in, and nothing else to avoid any issue (it wouldn’t be a good idea to flash Windows 11 on your backup disk!).
- An installation overview will show up, you have nothing to change here, the tool will use the best settings for your device automatically.
- Just click “Flash” to start the installation.
Then, the long part of the process will start. The tool will download all the required files, it may take a while depending on the Raspberry Pi model, the Internet connection speed and the USB disk you use. Just make sure your Raspberry Pi stays powered the whole time and does not go in sleeping mode.
Once everything is ready, you’ll get a success message confirming that everything is ready.
Note: if you experience any issue with the disk formatting. I recommend installing Gparted, deleting all the partitions on the USB drive and even creating a new partition table. This way, the tool will start from scratch, and it should improve the chances of success (I got a few issues with this too).
Shut down your Raspberry Pi, remove the SD card containing Raspberry Pi OS, and only keep the USB drive with Windows 11 connected. Start the Raspberry Pi and wait a few seconds. If you followed the prerequisites carefully, the device should now boot on the USB drive and display something like this:
This will take a long time, especially if you are not following my guidelines to use the best Raspberry Pi model with an SSD drive. You won’t get this with the second method, which I will show you now, but as this one does everything for you, it’s not really a problem.
Once everything is ready, it will reboot (maybe several times) until showing the tradition Windows 11 first boot wizard. You just need to follow it to get your system ready.
Method 2 : Install Windows 11 from another Windows PC
The second method is to use another computer to prepare the USB drive with Windows 11 on it. If you already followed my tutorial on how to install Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi, it’s basically the same thing. It’s not very complicated, but there are more steps involved, and more ways to mess things up than with the Raspberry Pi OS method. It might be slightly faster, though, if you don’t have already Raspberry Pi OS ready on a SD card.
Here are the main steps to install Windows 11 on Raspberry Pi from another PC:
- Download and install WoR Flasher on your PC.
- Download a script to get an image of Windows 11.
- Run the script to download the Windows 11 files.
- Use WoR imager to get everything on the USB drive.
I will now explain each step in details.
Before everything else, you need to download two things:
- A Windows 11 image: this website can generate a script to download everything for you and create an ISO file.
That’s where things get a little messy, as you need to choose an image version. I remember that when doing this test for Windows 10, not all images worked, so I lost a lot of time there.
Make sure to pick a Windows 11 version for ARM64. You can exclude some editions to make the whole process way faster (for example, don’t include Windows Pro if you’ll install Windows Home).
I don’t know if there is the same issue with Windows 11, but to be safe, here is the one I took to write this tutorial.
- WoR imager: you can download it from there.
It’s the tool we’ll use to flash the previous image on a USB drive. See it like Raspberry Pi Imager or Etcher to flash Windows on any support.
Once you have both files on your PC, you can move to the next step.
WoR imager installation
The first thing you need to do is install WoR image on your computer. In fact, there is nothing to install, you just need to extract all the files and run the WoR.exe file.
You can’t use it for now, just make sure you have it and that it’s running correctly.
Windows files download
Before doing anything else, you need to download the Windows files. The zip file you get from UUPdump is only a script, there is no Windows image in it yet.
Extract everything in a new folder and run this script:
It will take a while, especially with a slow Internet connection as there are a few gigabytes to download from the servers, but eventually, you’ll get an ISO file in the same folder.
Mine is named:
22523.1000.211210-1418.RS_PRERELEASE_CLIENTCORE_OEMRET_A64FRE_EN-US.ISOand is around 4 GB.
Once you have it in your folder, you can move to the final step, to use WoR imager.
Final step: Get everything on a USB drive
You can now start again Windows on Raspberry Imager, and follow the wizard to copy everything on your USB drive:
- Select the language.
- Then the storage drive and the Raspberry Pi model you’ll use.
- Browse to pick the image you just downloaded (located in the script folder).
- Choose to get the latest version of the drivers and firmware.
- Confirm the default configuration and start the installation.
The tool will then take a few minutes to copy everything on the selected device. It may take more or less time depending on the USB drive you use, an SSD in USB 3 is generally way faster than a SD card or an old USB key.
Once done, you can plug the USB drive to your Raspberry Pi and start it.
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Final thoughts & going further
Whatever the method you choose, the first boot will start with a welcome wizard, where you can configure a few things like the language, the country and time zone, the keyboard layout, etc. It will also ask you to name your device and connect to your Microsoft account (unfortunately, I haven’t found a way to avoid this…).
At the end of this wizard, you’ll get the traditional first session opening message (“Getting things ready for you”) and finally, you’ll access the Windows 11 interface:
Everything seems to work correctly, I haven’t spent much time on it, but I didn’t notice any major issues. The only thing is that everything is too slow for me. I prefer running a Linux distribution optimized for this device (even if it means that some apps are not available) than using Windows and have everything going slower than on Linux.
But I understand that some of you may need Windows to work on specific apps with only a Raspberry Pi available. So, even if I wouldn’t recommend it in my favorite systems for the Raspberry Pi, it’s good to see it running correctly. The network is working, I got my files synchronized with my PC thanks to OneDrive (even if I don’t want that but anyway), and you can use Microsoft Store to install any apps like on any traditional computer.
In short, installing Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi is a fun project to experiment. It may help some of you access apps that are not available on Linux, and you can install it even if the Raspberry Pi is the only computer you have. But don’t expect too much from it, for most of us it will only stay an experiment, not the system we’ll use every day on the Raspberry Pi.
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