Windows 11 has been out in the wild for some time now, and many have already installed and tried it. But, like with any operating system, many others didn’t get it yet and have questions regarding the download and installation processes. One of the most popular ones on forums and social media is “How long does it take to install Windows 11?”. In this article, we’re going to shed a bit of light on the matter, showing you how long installing Windows 11 should take and explaining why, in some cases, the installation might take forever or simply get stuck. Let’s get started:
Unfortunately, this is a question that doesn’t have a straight answer that applies to everyone. There is a multitude of factors that influence the speed of a Windows 11 installation, and the most important ones are:
- the computer or device (and its hardware) on which you’re installing Windows 11
- the installation media used (USB drive, DVD)
- how you install Windows 11 - as an upgrade from Windows 10 or from scratch (clean installation)
- your internet connection speed
If you’re installing Windows 11 from scratch, using a USB installation drive, on a powerful computer equipped with a fast NVMe solid-state drive and a good internet connection, the whole process should take somewhere between 10 to 20 minutes at most.
On the other hand, if you have an older computer (but not so old as not to support Windows 11) with a slow hard-disk drive, the installation of Windows 11 might need an hour and a half or even more to complete.
The type of media you choose to use for installing Windows 11 can impact the speed as well. In general, USB drives are faster than DVDs. So, if you choose to create a Windows 11 installation drive on a USB memory stick, installing Windows 11 will require less time than it would from a DVD.
Next on the list of items that impact speed is your choice between installing Windows 11 from scratch and doing an in-place upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11. When upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11, the time required to install the new operating system is actually similar to the minutes or hours you spend on a clean install. However, it might feel faster simply because you can still use Windows 10 for a significant amount of that time. The first part of the process is done in the background, and the actual installation is started only after everything has already been downloaded and prepared for the installation. In my case, for example, on a fast PC with an NVMe drive, it took about 10 minutes to upgrade to Windows 11 once my computer rebooted. Making a clean Windows 11 install took roughly the same amount of time.
“Why does the Windows 11 update take so long?” and “Why did my Windows 11 installation get stuck?” - two questions that I’ve heard many people asking. You might already have your answers from the previous section of this article. The reason why installing Windows 11 might seem to take forever can be related to slow hardware components in your device. The system drive on which you’re installing Windows 11 is especially important: SSD or HDD. Getting Microsoft’s latest operating system on a traditional hard-disk drive can take such a long time, that it might appear that your Windows 11 installation is stuck.
However, there might be other issues as well, like bugs. Or even incompatible hardware in your computer or device, although Microsoft’s Windows 11 upgrade tools (PC Health Check, Windows 11 Installation Assistant, Media Creation Tool, and Windows Update) do check all the essentials before starting the actual installation. Here are the actions we recommend in these cases:
- If you’re trying to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, the best course of action would be to try a clean installation. That would remove potential problems with the current update process.
- If you’re installing Windows 11 from scratch, and it gets stuck, you should try to disconnect all the peripherals and hardware devices that are not essential. For example, you can remove things like your webcam or secondary hard drives from the equation. Then, try installing Windows 11 again. If it works, you can then reconnect those devices again, one by one, until you find the culprit.
Hopefully, one of these alternate solutions works. Unfortunately, if they don’t, the only other thing we can think of is for you to wait and see whether the issue is related to a known bug that Microsoft repairs in a future version of Windows 11 and then try again.
The Digital Citizen team feels that yes, overall, it’s worth upgrading to Windows 11, and we already talked about the reasons behind our opinion in this article about Windows 11's best features. On the other hand, there are also more than just a few downsides to upgrading to Windows 11, that can deter many from doing it. You can read more about the things that don’t make Windows 11 a worthy upgrade from Windows 10 here: Windows 11 sucks: 7 reasons why you may not like it.
Getting Windows 11 might be nothing more than a matter of personal choice, but to form an opinion, you might have to just try it and then decide for yourself.
Now you know more about how long it takes to install Windows 11 and the main reasons behind the duration of this process. We’re curious about the amount of time you spent installing Windows 11 or upgrading from Windows 10. If you don’t mind, let us know in the comments section below.