Installation and Upgrade Custom Install Windows 11


  • Staff
Windows_11_banner.png

This tutorial will show you how to do a custom clean install of Windows 11 on your PC.

When you perform a custom install of Windows 11, a clean install of Windows 11 is performed only on the same partition as the current installation of Windows to replace it. The previous installation is moved into the C:\Windows.old folder as a backup. Once the new custom install has finished, you will be able to copy any files you want back from the C:\Windows.old folder.

A custom install of Windows 11 can be useful if you are unable to start Windows for whatever reason, need to reinstall Windows 11, but do not want to lose any files in your current installation by doing a full clean install.


It is required to be connected to the Internet if you want to set up a Microsoft account during Windows Setup.

It is not required to be connected to the Internet if you want to set up a local account during Windows Setup.


If you set up a Microsoft account during Windows Setup, your user profile folder in the "C:\Users" folder will be named with the first 5 characters of the email address used for your Microsoft account.

If you are someone that cares what the name of your user profile folder is in the "C:\Users" folder, then you will want to set up a local account during Windows Setup so your user profile folder will have the same name you give as the local account name. When Windows 11 has finished installing, you can switch to a Microsoft account from the local account (if wanted) without the user profile folder name getting changed.




Here's How:

1 If you have not already, you will need to create a bootable Windows 11 installation USB that supports UEFI mode.

2 Temporarily disconnect all non OS hard drives until Windows installation has finished for the following reasons:
  • To avoid you mistakenly deleting or formatting the wrong disk or drive.
  • To prevent Windows Setup from installing the boot configuration files (bootloader) to a different connected hard drive instead of on the disk Windows will be installed on.
3 Boot to the UEFI firmware settings for your motherboard, and enable UEFI or disable Legacy BIOS (CSM) mode.

Usually it will be set to UEFI mode by default if supported. You may need to read your PC's or motherboard's manual for its specific instructions on how to change this setting.


4 Boot from the Windows 11 installation USB flash drive on your computer.

5 Select your language, time and currency, and keyboard or input method preferences, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

Custom_install-1.png

6 Click/tap on the Install Now button to start Windows Setup for the installation. (see screenshot below)

Custom_install-2.png

7 Enter your Windows 11 product key, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

The product key you enter will determine which edition of Windows 11 gets installed.

You can enter an official Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 retail product key (OEM keys will not work) not currently used to activate Windows on another PC, and click/tap on Next to activate Windows 11.

If you do not have a product key available right now, then you can click/tap on the I don't have a product key link to be able to manually activate Windows 11 later when you do have a product key.

If you wanted to select an edition of Windows 11 to install, then click/tap on the I don't have a product key link. You can manually activate Windows 11 later after the Windows 11 installation has finished.

If you want to activate with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account, then click/tap on the I don't have a product key link, and add your Microsoft account at step 20 below.

You will not be asked to enter a product key if installing Windows 11 Enterprise. You will need to manually activate later after installation has finished.

If this is an OEM PC that has a valid product key embedded in its UEFI firmware chip, then you will not be prompted to enter a product key. Windows 11 will automatically use the embedded product key if its valid for the edition being installed. If needed, you can change the product key after installation has finished.


Custom_install-3.png

8 If you clicked on I don't have a product key in step 7 above, then select the Windows 11 edition you want to install, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

Custom_install-4.png

9 Check the I accept the Microsoft Software License Terms box, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

Custom_install-5.png

10 Click/tap on the Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) option. (see screenshot below)

Custom_install-6.png

11 Select the Primary partition Windows is currently installed on, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

This Primary partition is what will be replaced by the new custom install of Windows 11.


Custom_install-7.png

12 Click/tap on OK to confirm. (see screenshot below)

Custom_install-8.png

13 The custom installation of Windows 11 will now begin. (see screenshots below)

During the installation process, your screen may flash and the computer will restart a few times.


Custom_install-9.png
Custom_install-10.png

14 During restarts, ignore the Choose an operating system screen. You do not need to do anything on this screen since the installation will automatically continue. (see screenshot below)

Custom_install-11.png

15 Select your country or region (ex: "United States"), and click/tap on Yes. (see screenshot below)

Custom_install-12.jpg

16 Select the keyboard layout (ex: "US") you want, and click/tap on Yes. (see screenshot below)

Custom_install-13.jpg

17 Select Add layout or Skip depending on if you want to add a second keyboard layout or not. (see screenshot below)

Custom_install-14.jpg

18 Windows Setup will now check for an Internet connection. If an Internet connection is not detected, it will prompt you to connect and select an Ethernet network and/or setup and connect to a wireless network (if available), and click/tap on Next. (see screenshots below)

It is required to have an Internet connection if you want to set up a Microsoft account, or work or school account.

If you have an Internet connection, you will be able to set up a local account (if wanted) when you get to step 23.

If installing a Windows 11 Pro or Education edition and you currently do not have an Internet connection available, click/tap on I don't have Internet, and go to step 23D to set up a local account. (see bottom screenshot)

If you don't have an Internet connection and none of the above worked for you, then press the Shift + F10 keys to open a command prompt. Copy and paste the OOBE\BYPASSNRO command into the command prompt, and press Enter. This will restart the computer, and take you back to step 15. You should then be able to click/tap on I don't have internet when you get back to this step, and go to step 23D to set up a local account. (see bottom screenshot)

If the OOBE\BYPASSNRO command doesn't work for you, then copy and paste the MSOOBE\BYPASSNRO command into the command prompt, and press Enter. This will restart the computer, and take you back to step 15. You should then be able to click/tap on I don't have internet when you get back to this step, and go to step 23D to set up a local account. (see bottom screenshot)


Clean_install_Windows_11-13b.jpg
Internet_required.png
W11_PRO_no_Internet-1.jpg

19 Type a name you want for the PC, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

You can always rename the PC at anytime if needed.

Your PC name cannot have more then 15 characters.

Your PC name cannot have spaces or any of the following special characters: " /\ [] : | <> + + ; , ?


Custom_install-18.jpg

20 Select Set up for personal use (home PC) or Set up for work or school (domain) for how you would like to set up this device, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

You will not see this step if installing a Windows 11 Home edition. Go to step 21 instead.

If you want to set up a local account you will need to select Set up for personal use.

If you selected Set up for work or school, go directly to step 22.


Custom_install-19.jpg

21 Click/tap on Sign in if you selected Set up for personal use at step 20, and go to the step below depending on if your want to set up a local account or Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 11 with. (see screenshot below)

This account will be an administrator account.

Having to click/tap on Sign in is now required starting with Windows 11 build 22616.


Custom_install-20.jpg

22 To Set Up Windows 11 with a Microsoft Account

For more details about a Microsoft account, see: Microsoft account | Microsoft Docs


A) Type in the email address for your Microsoft account, or work or school account, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshots below)​

If you do not have a Microsoft account and would like to use one, click/tap on the Create one link to create a new Microsoft account.


Clean_install_Windows_11_Microsoft_account-1.jpg
Clean_install_Windows_11_Microsoft_account-2.jpg

B) Type in the password for your Microsoft account, and click/tap on Sign in. (see screenshot below)​

Custom_install-24.jpg

C) If you have two-step verification turned on for your Microsoft account, select how (ex: email or text) you would like to get a code sent to you. (see screenshots below)​

Clean_install_Windows_11_Microsoft_account-4.jpg
Clean_install_Windows_11_Microsoft_account-5.jpg

D) Provide any other required information based on how you selected to get a code, and click/tap on Send code. (see screenshot below)​

Custom_install-27.jpg

E) Enter the code you received from Microsoft, and click/tap on Verify. (see screenshot below)​

Custom_install-28.jpg

F) Select Set up as new device, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshots below)​

You may need to click/tap on a View more options link first to see the Set up as new device option.

You can select to restore your settings, preferences, Microsoft Store apps, and synced OneDrive files from another device instead of setting up as a new device.


Clean_install_Windows_11_Microsoft_account-10A.png
Clean_install_Windows_11_Microsoft_account-10.jpg

G) Click/tap on Create PIN. (see screenshot below)​

Custom_install-31.jpg

H) Enter a PIN you want to use to sign in with, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)​

Custom_install-32.jpg

I) Turn On (default) or Off the privacy settings you want, and click/tap on Accept when finished. (see screenshots below)​

You will be able to change these privacy settings at anytime in Windows 11.

- Enable or Disable Location Services in Windows 11
- Enable or Disable Find My Device in Windows 11
- Change Diagnostic Data Settings in Windows 11
- Enable or Disable Improve Inking and Typing in Windows 11
- Enable or Disable Tailored Experiences in Windows 11
- Enable or Disable Advertising ID for Personalized Ads in Apps in Windows 11


Clean_install_Windows_11-_privacy_settings-1.jpg
Clean_install_Windows_11-_privacy_settings-4.jpg
Clean_install_Windows_11-_privacy_settings-2.jpg
Clean_install_Windows_11-_privacy_settings-5.jpg
Clean_install_Windows_11-_privacy_settings-3.jpg
Clean_install_Windows_11-_privacy_settings-6.jpg

J) Check all the ways you plan to use this device, and click/tap on Accept. (see screenshot below)​

Click/tap on Skip instead if you do not want to select (check) any device usages.

You can change your device usage options at any time in Windows 11.


Clean_install_Windows_11_Microsoft_account-11.jpg
Clean_install_Windows_11_Microsoft_account-12.jpg

K) Scan the QR code with your Android phone to link it if wanted, and click/tap on Continue. (see screenshot below)​


Click/tap on Skip instead if you do not want to link an Android phone.

This option is only available starting with Windows 11 build 22567.


Custom_install-41.jpg

L) If prompted, click/tap on the Only save files to this PC (recommended) link or Next depending on if you want to use OneDrive or not. (see screenshot below)​

This is for backing up and syncing your account's personal Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Music, and/or Videos folders to your online (cloud) OneDrive.

When you back up a folder its contents get moved to your account's OneDrive folder on the PC to then be synced with your online OneDrive.



Custom_install-42.jpg

M) If prompted to "Try premium Office apps for free with Microsoft 365", click/tap on Decline or Continue for what you want. (see screenshot below)​

Microsoft_365.png

N) If prompted to "Get 100 GB more cloud storage" for OneDrive, click/tap on Decline or Continue for what you want. (see screenshot below)​

Cloud_storage.png

O) Go to step 24.​


23 To Set Up Windows 11 with a Local Account

For more details about a local account, see: Local account | Microsoft Docs:


A) Enter this specific fake email address ("fake@fake.com"), and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)​

Custom_install-43.jpg

B) Enter a fake password, and click/tap on Sign in. (see screenshot below)​

Custom_install-44.jpg

C) Click/tap on Next when you see Oops, something went wrong. (see screenshot below)​

Custom_install-45.jpg


D) Enter a user name you want for this local account, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)​

Custom_install-46.jpg

E) Enter a password you want for this local account, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)​

If you do not want this local account to have a password, leave the password field empty, click/tap on Next, and go to step J below.


Custom_install-47.jpg

F) Enter the password again to confirm, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)​

Custom_install-47b.jpg

G) Select a security question (1 of 3) you want from the drop menu, type your answer, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)​

Custom_install-48.jpg

H) Select a security question (2 of 3) you want from the drop menu, type your answer, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)​

Custom_install-49.jpg

I) Select a security question (3 of 3) you want from the drop menu, type your answer, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)​

Custom_install-50.jpg

J) Turn On (default) or Off the privacy settings you want, and click/tap on Accept when finished. (see screenshots below)​

You will be able to change these privacy settings at anytime in Windows 11.

- Enable or Disable Location Services in Windows 11
- Enable or Disable Find My Device in Windows 11
- Change Diagnostic Data Settings in Windows 11
- Enable or Disable Improve Inking and Typing in Windows 11
- Enable or Disable Tailored Experiences in Windows 11
- Enable or Disable Advertising ID for Personalized Ads in Apps in Windows 11


Clean_install_Windows_11-_privacy_settings-1.jpg
Clean_install_Windows_11-_privacy_settings-4.jpg
Clean_install_Windows_11-_privacy_settings-2.jpg
Clean_install_Windows_11-_privacy_settings-5.jpg
Clean_install_Windows_11-_privacy_settings-3.jpg
Clean_install_Windows_11-_privacy_settings-6.jpg

24 When the custom install has finished, you will be on your desktop in Windows 11 with the Start menu open. (see screenshot below)

Desktop.png

25 You can now open the C:\Windows.old folder to manually copy back any files you may want from your previous installation. (see screenshot below)


Windows.old.png

26 Make sure the correct time zone, date, and time is set.

27 Install any needed drivers for your devices.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 
Last edited:
Can I do a custom instead of a clean to get out of insider immediately?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Asus
    CPU
    Intel I7-11700
    Motherboard
    tuf gaming Z590 plus wifi
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650
    Sound Card
    Tuf Gaming
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2x Dell U2719DX
    Screen Resolution
    2560X1440
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 850 PRO 256GB, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB, Samsung SSD 980 PRO 1TB (Boot), ST 4TB, WDC 2TB
    Internet Speed
    900 Mbps Down 23 Mbps up
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender + MWB
Can I do a custom instead of a clean to get out of insider immediately?

Hello, :alien:

Yes, you sure can.

A custom install is the same a doing a clean install except it only affects the Windows drive/partition instead, with the bonus of having the Windows.old folder if you should need it.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    64 GB (4x16GB) G.SKILL TridentZ RGB DDR4 3600 MHz (F4-3600C18D-32GTZR)
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING (11GB GDDR5X)
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    4TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S23 Plus phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1 14-eu0098nr (2024)
    CPU
    Intel Core Ultra 7 155H 4.8 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR5x-7467 MHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Integrated Intel Arc
    Sound Card
    Poly Studio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    14" 2.8K OLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    2880 x 1800
    Hard Drives
    2 TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Internet Speed
    Intel Wi-Fi 7 BE200 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5.4
    Browser
    Chrome and Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
Thanks Brink...
Your Tutorial is very detailed as usual. 🙂
Dave
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Asus
    CPU
    Intel I7-11700
    Motherboard
    tuf gaming Z590 plus wifi
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650
    Sound Card
    Tuf Gaming
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2x Dell U2719DX
    Screen Resolution
    2560X1440
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 850 PRO 256GB, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB, Samsung SSD 980 PRO 1TB (Boot), ST 4TB, WDC 2TB
    Internet Speed
    900 Mbps Down 23 Mbps up
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender + MWB

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    64 GB (4x16GB) G.SKILL TridentZ RGB DDR4 3600 MHz (F4-3600C18D-32GTZR)
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING (11GB GDDR5X)
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    4TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S23 Plus phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1 14-eu0098nr (2024)
    CPU
    Intel Core Ultra 7 155H 4.8 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR5x-7467 MHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Integrated Intel Arc
    Sound Card
    Poly Studio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    14" 2.8K OLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    2880 x 1800
    Hard Drives
    2 TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Internet Speed
    Intel Wi-Fi 7 BE200 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5.4
    Browser
    Chrome and Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
Shawn, my apology for using your last name.
Dave
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Asus
    CPU
    Intel I7-11700
    Motherboard
    tuf gaming Z590 plus wifi
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650
    Sound Card
    Tuf Gaming
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2x Dell U2719DX
    Screen Resolution
    2560X1440
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 850 PRO 256GB, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB, Samsung SSD 980 PRO 1TB (Boot), ST 4TB, WDC 2TB
    Internet Speed
    900 Mbps Down 23 Mbps up
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender + MWB

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    64 GB (4x16GB) G.SKILL TridentZ RGB DDR4 3600 MHz (F4-3600C18D-32GTZR)
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING (11GB GDDR5X)
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    4TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S23 Plus phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1 14-eu0098nr (2024)
    CPU
    Intel Core Ultra 7 155H 4.8 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR5x-7467 MHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Integrated Intel Arc
    Sound Card
    Poly Studio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    14" 2.8K OLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    2880 x 1800
    Hard Drives
    2 TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Internet Speed
    Intel Wi-Fi 7 BE200 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5.4
    Browser
    Chrome and Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
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