Windows 11 has a plethora of new features with an updated design and more focus on consistency and optimization. The best way to get around Windows 11 is to do a clean install, not an upgrade. You can do this with a Windows 11 bootable floppy disk.
Creating a Windows 11 bootable drive is very easy if you're using a Windows PC, but the process gets a little more complicated if you're using a Mac. Here's how to create a Windows 11 bootable hard drive with macOS.
What you need before you start
You need the following items to create a bootable Windows 11 installer:
- A USB drive of 8 GB or more (16 GB preferred) that you don't mind formatting.
- Your MacBook power adapter should be plugged in as you don't want your battery to drain during the process.
- An active internet connection to download the Windows 11 ISO.
Download the Windows 11 ISO
The first step is to download the Windows 11 ISO, which is available for free from Microsoft's website. Choose Windows 11 of the Download the Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO) Section and your preferred language Select the product language, then press Confirm and download the installer on your Mac by selecting 64-bit download.
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The installer is around 5.2 GB in size, so it may take some time to download depending on your internet connection.
Here's how to create a Windows 11 bootable drive
There are three methods of creating a Windows 11 bootable hard drive on your Mac depending on the Mac model you have.
If you have an Intel Mac, you can use the Boot Camp method to create the bootable hard drive. On the other hand, M1 Macs don't have Boot Camp so all you can do is use Terminal to create the bootable disk. You can also use a third party app (UUByte ISO Editor) to create the Windows 11 bootable USB.
We'll cover all three methods below.
Option 1. Create a bootable Windows 11 drive with Boot Camp (Intel Macs)
The first method involves using Boot Camp on Intel Macs. Boot Camp Assistant can be used to install Windows on a Mac and create a bootable USB installation drive, eliminating the need for tedious terminal commands or third-party apps. This method is not available on M1 Macs.
If you have an Intel-based Mac, do the following:
- begin Boot camp on your Mac; you can do that from Applications> Utilities in finder or with Headlights.
- In Boot Camp, click Keep going, and select the check box to Create an installation disk for Windows 10 or higher.
- If the second field (Download the latest Windows support software from Apple) is not grayed out, check it. Don't tick the third box.
- click Keep going when you're done
- Browse and select the Windows 11 ISO file that you downloaded.
- Under Destination drive, select your USB drive and click Keep going.
- Boot Camp formats your USB stick. Press Keep going Continue. The installation process will now start. Let it run and you will see a window that says Windows support software was saved. That's it.
Note: Make sure you don't close the MacBook lid while the process is in progress. Otherwise it will be canceled and you will have to start the process again.
You can now use this bootable floppy disk to boot a fresh copy of Windows 11 and install it on your PC.
Option 2. Create a Windows 11 Bootable Drive Using Terminal (M1 Macs)
The second method we'll cover today involves using Terminal. The process is relatively simple; However, one limitation of this method is that the installer is 5.2 GB. You cannot burn a file larger than 4GB to a FAT32 formatted drive, which is the only format that works with both Windows and macOS.
A workaround for this is to break up the installer into smaller files, which requires installing a package manager, wimlib, which is installed through homebrew. This will split the Windows installation file when creating the bootable disk.
To install Homebrew and create a bootable Windows 11 USB, open terminal on your Mac from Finder> Applications and enter the following commands. After typing a command, press Enter:
curl -fsSL -o install.sh https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh
/ bin / bash install.sh
This process downloads and installs Xcode before installing Homebrew. Xcode is an integrated development environment (IDE) that consists of software development tools for macOS. The process can take a few minutes.
You will need to enter your Mac user password to authenticate. You won't see anything on the screen if you type it in, so just type it in and press Enter Install homebrew.
When the installation is complete, enter the following command and press Enter to install wimlib:
brew install wimlib
You may get an error message that says Command not found: brew, you may also see two commands in the terminal right at the end of the previous homebrew installation. Enter the commands to enable homebrew followed by the above command again for it to work successfully.
Now make sure your USB is connected to your Mac. Run the following command:
This will bring up a list of the drives connected to your Mac. Find and write down the USB drive's volume identifier, which is to the left of (outwardly, physically) and should be similar to disk2, disk3, etc.
Use the following command to format (replace disk2 with your hard drive ID):
discussil deleteDisk MS-DOS WINDOWS11 GPT / dev / disk2
Terminal should now format your hard drive and rename it to WINDOWS11.
Mount the Windows 11 ISO from the Downloads folder on your Mac. You can do this by double-clicking the ISO file, which will then be saved as a. should be displayed CCCOMA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV9 or similar. Make sure you match the filename exactly with the above. If it's different (due to a different language setting) make sure you change it accordingly in the commands below.
Since the installation file is larger than 4GB, we will use two separate commands to create the bootable disk. The first command copies all files except the install.wim file (which is 4.2 GB in size). The second command uses wimlib to split the install.wim file and copy it to the USB stick.
Use the following command to copy the contents of the ISO image – with the exception of the install.wim file – to the USB drive:
rsync -vha –exclude = sources / install.wim / Volumes / CCCOMA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV9 / * / Volumes / WINDOWS11
Then run the following command to split and copy the install.wim file:
wimlib-imagex split /Volumes/CCCOMA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV9/sources/install.wim /Volumes/WINDOWS11/sources/install.swm 3000
That's it! Terminal should successfully create the bootable floppy disk that you can now use to start a new Windows installation.
Option 3. Use a third-party app to create a Windows bootable drive
The two methods described above are free and can be done on Intel or M1 Macs. However, if you're avoiding Terminal and want a UI-based experience instead, you can use UUByte ISO Editor ($ 29.95, free trial available) to create a bootable hard drive. The app has broad support for various Mac models and macOS versions, and you can use it to easily create a Windows 11 installer USB.
The only downside to this method is that the app isn't free. However, it's a viable alternative if you're using an M1 Mac and don't like Terminal.
Get a fresh installation of Windows
Now that you've successfully created a Windows 11 bootable drive, you can use it to install a fresh copy of Windows on your PC. Essentially, we recommend creating the bootable hard drive on a Windows PC if you have access to it as the process is much easier. But in a pinch, you can use this guide to use the Boot Camp or Terminal method on your Mac to create one.
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About the author
(34 articles published)
Shujaa Imran is a die-hard Apple user and loves helping others with their macOS and iOS issues. Apart from that, he is also a cadet pilot who wants to become a professional pilot one day.
By Shujaa Imran
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