Published at: July 31, 2022
Last modified: April 11, 2023
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This is strictly for educational purposes only — if you can’t pay for software, there are great free alternatives!

Table of Contents

Download Windows

The majority of PCs will run Windows 7 and 10, but only the newer ones will run Windows 11. You can check the minimum system requirements or use the PC Health Check tool (only on Windows 10) to ensure that your PC is compatible with Windows 11.

Once you chose a Windows version, you need to download the ISO. The ISO size varies a lot depending of the version — with a 8 GB thumbdrive you’ll be fine.

If you are in a Windows computer, you can use the Media Creation Tool, which downloads and flashes the thumbdrive automatically for you.

Otherwhise, Microsoft Software Download Listing is a web interface for an official Microsoft source and all the downloads will come directly from Microsoft’s CDNs. For flashing the thumbdrive, you can use


Connect your flashed USB drive to the computer and boot it (check out the BIOS Cheatsheet). You can perform a normal installation with or without a Microsoft account. If it asks you for a Windows key, there is always a way to skip it.


You can use an official key or an activator.

Warning: some people may recommend buying cheap keys elsewhere. This is not recommended, as these are grey-market keys, gathered from MSDN channels, each key sold multiple times (extra reading). You’re not buying directly from MS so you’re not buying a license, you’re just buying a key and living on the promise that MS won’t discover and deactivate it.

It’s essentially piracy with a middleman.

If you don’t have a key, you can use Microsoft Activation Scripts (MAS). Instructions and downloads are inside that link.

You can also run irm | iex in the PowerShell.

Next steps

Useful software to install