Upgrade or Clean Install Windows 11 without a USB Drive

Nowadays you don’t need a bootable USB flash drive or any installation media to install Windows 11 on a PC. All you need to do is simply download and mount the ISO file and run the upgrade setup.

If you operating system doesn’t support mounting an ISO natively, you can use third party software to do so. To mount an ISO on previous operating systems like Windows 7 or Windows 8 you can use Virtual Clone Drive.

Video Tutorial:

Install Windows 11 without a USB Drive

In this article, you will learn the necessary steps to upgrade or clean install Windows 11 without a bootable USB or installation media.

Note: This process will may delete everything on your computer. It’s recommended to make a full backup of your PC before proceeding.

Download Windows 11 ISO file.

Right-click the ISO file, select Mount. To mount an ISO on older operating systems use Virtual Clone Drive.

Select the mounted drive from the left pane.

Double-click on Setup to begin the Windows 11 installation process.

(Optional) Click the “Change how Windows Setup downloads updates” option. To install Windows 11 updates prior to installing.

Click the Next button.

Accept the applicable License terms to continue.

Finally Click the Install button to upgrade while keeping your files and apps.

If you want to perform a clean installation of Windows 11, click the “Change what to keep” option, select the Nothing option, click the Next button, and then click the Install button.

After you complete the steps, the upgrade process will begin and the computer will restart several times.


I started this tech blog back in 2011 as a place to write down processes I took to fix my client systems and network. Now I write some tips and tricks to help others with the tech issues that one might encounter.

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