If you’re looking to do a clean Windows 11 install and configure the system with just a local account, you can now do that easily with a Rufus tool.
Windows 11 has more restrictive install requirements than its predecessor, including restrictions on older processors, an internet connection, and a Microsoft account.
Luckily, some workarounds allow for upgrades to Windows 11 on unsupported CPUs, and the company isn’t blocking those circumventions.
IT departments have long used the app to create bootable Windows installers quickly. The latest beta release now can remove the requirement of an online Microsoft account alongside other circumventions. It can bypass computers that lack TPM 2.0 (including Intel Macs), computers that have less than 4GB of RAM or 64GB of storage, and you can also automatically disable data collection.
You’ll still need to keep your computer fully offline during setup to skip the Microsoft account requirement, just like in previous methods. But the Rufus method makes it much easier by cutting manual registry edits, plus the software is free and open source.
Rufus is a complimentary and open-source portable application for Microsoft Windows that can be used to format and build bootable USB flash drives or Live USBs. It is the acronym for The Reliable USB Formatting Utility, with Source.
Rufus was initially designed as a modern open source replacement for the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool for Windows, primarily used to construct DOS bootable USB flash drives.
The first official unleashing of Rufus, version 1.0.3, was released on December 11, 2011, with initially only MS-DOS support. Version 1.0.4 raised FreeDOS support, and version 1.1.0 extended ISO image support. Until 1.2.0, two distinct versions were provided, one for MS-DOS and one for FreeDOS. In addition, UEFI boot support was introduced with variant 1.3.2, localization including 1.4.0, and Windows To Go having 2.0. The last rendition compatible with Windows XP and Vista is 2.18.
Rufus supports various bootable .iso files, including different Linux distributions and Windows installation .iso files and raw disk image files (including compressed). If needed, it will install a bootloader like SYSLINUX or GRUB onto the flash drive to generate it bootable. It also permits the installation of MS-DOS or FreeDOS onto a flash drive and creating Windows To Go bootable media. Finally, it supports formatting flash drives using FAT, FAT32, NTFS, exFAT, UDF, and ReFS filesystems.
Rufus can also be employed to calculate the MD5, SHA-1, and SHA-256 hashes of the currently selected image. In addition, Rufus can download retail ISO DVD images of Windows 8.1 and various forms of Windows 10 and Windows 11 instantly from Microsoft’s servers. This ISO download feature is available only if PowerShell 3.0 or later is installed, and ‘Check for updates is allowed in the program’s settings.