Windows 11 is a feature-rich operating system with a beautiful interface, which is nothing new. However, despite the significant improvements brought by Windows 11, it is resource-hungry and can soon overtax an outdated machine to the point where it becomes unusable. You might be wondering if something similar exists for Windows 11 if you read our recent piece on Tiny 10, a stripped-down version of Windows 10. You’re in luck, though, since it does! The lightest version of Windows 11 that we’ve found so far can run on even the oldest computers. So grab a pen drive and follow along as I demonstrate how to install Windows 11 Lite on your computer.
Install Windows 11 Lite on Your PC (2022)
While demonstrating how to install Windows 11 Lite on your computer, this article will also answer any crucial queries you might have in the FAQ section. Use the table below to jump to that and read it first if you’d prefer.
What Is Windows 11 Lite and How Does It Work?
We’re going to install the Windows 11 Lite 21H2 build, which was created by YouTuber Neelkalpa’s Tech. The Windows 11 Lite build is essentially a condensed version that only includes the files required for the OS to function. The major benefit of this build is that it can function on devices with memory and storage capacities as little as 256 MB and 10GB, respectively.
The majority of the resource-intensive effects, including some users’ favourite quick animations, have been eliminated from this edition of Windows 11 Lite, as you might expect. Youwill also not find other standard Windows apps, including the Microsoft Store, Windows Defender, and Xbox Services, to name a few. However, removing them has also meant Windows 11 Lite is supposed to be faster and less power-hungry. If the idea of a lightweight Windows 11 seems interesting to you, then keep reading as we show you how to install it.
Things You Need Before Installing Windows 11 Lite
As eager as you might be to install this lightest build of Windows 11, there are some things you need before we can begin. Have a look at the list below, and make sure to cross it off.
1. Neelkalpa s Windows 11 Lite Build
Since this is a custom ISO file of Windows 11, you simply cannot install it through Microsoft. Thankfully, the creator has made it super easy to download it nevertheless. You can visit the creator s YouTube (visit) channel and watch the linked video to get the ISO file. Download the Windows 11 Lite ISOand keep it on your desktop. When you extract the file, it will ask you for the password, which is:techbyneel.
2. Rufus and Pen Drive
Much like other ISO images, this one will need to be flashed onto a pen drive for installation. To create a bootable USB drive, we will need the utility softwareRufus (Get). Simply download it and keep a pen drive handy for the process below.
Creating a Partition to Install Windows 11 Lite
No matter if you re clean installing this Windows 11 Lite build or simply dual-booting it, you will require a partition on your computer for it. Before we proceed further, let s go on to creating one, so we can use it in the Windows 11 Lite setup. I will use a standard Windows 11 PC for this. For those with other versions of Windows, the steps remain the same, so follow them below.
1. Use theWindows 11 keyboard shortcutWin+Rto open the Run prompt. Here, typediskmgmt.mscand press Enter. It will open uo the Disk Management window.
2. You will now see your hard drive and its pre-created partitions. You will either need to find unallocated space represented in black or shrink a volume and obtain some. Depending on your situation, right-click on the partition you don t need and select either option. To shrink one, simply right-click an existing partition and then clickShrink Volume. After that, select Shrink on the box that appears.
3. Once you see unallocated space, right-click on it and pressNew Simple Volume.
4. Follow through the set-up wizard and assign your drive a letter and a name. I am naming it Windows 11 Lite for simplicity. You can leave the rest of the settings untouched.
5. ClickFinishand the new partition will be created.
With the partition now created, we are almost there. Let s proceed to burn the Windows 11 Lite ISO image in the next section.
Burning ISO Image onto the USB Drive
We will now proceed to burn the Windows 11 Lite ISO image onto a pen drive for installation. Provided you have already installed Rufus from above, plug in your USB and follow the steps below.
1. Open up Rufus on your computer to begin. Make sure you select your USB drive by clicking the drop-down button next toDevice.
2. Besides boot selection, click on theSelectbutton to choose your ISO file.
3. Navigate to the directory where you have stored your build. In my case, I have done so on the desktop. Select it and pressOpen.
4. Now, press theStartbutton. You do not need to change any other setting.
5. PressOKto give Rufus consent to format your pen drive.
6. Depending on your PC, the process may take anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes. Once done, you will see the following message and can then press Close and eject your pen drive.
And we are ready to go. Keep reading below as we get on to the actual installation of Windows 11 Lite.
How to Install Windows 11 Lite on Your PC
Now let s install the Windows 11 Lite build onto our PC. Before we begin, plug in the pen drive onto the target PC and shut it down. Once done, follow the steps below.
1. Press thePower Onbutton on your PC andrepeatedly press the BIOS button. This differs from manufacturer to manufacturer but mostly is betweenF2,F8orF12. In the case of my Asus laptop, it is F2. You can follow our guide onhow to open BIOS or UEFI in Windows 11right here.
2. Once you are in the BIOS settings, find theBoot Ordermenu and choose the pen drive to boot from. To do that, simply hover it using your keyboard s arrow keys and press Enter.
3. You will now enter the Windows setup in a few minutes, and you can follow along just as you would in a standard setup. In the partition selection screen, choose the partition we created earlier and continue.
4. Depending on your hardware, the process might take some time to complete, so do not panic if it looks stuck. Once done, your PC will restart a few times, and before you know it, you will boot to the Windows 11 Lite desktop!
And it s easy as that! Windows 11 Lite is now installed on your PC. While you can use it as it is, we will go on to compress it even more, so let s do that in the section below.
Compress Windows 11 Lite Even Further
If you currently check theWindows 11 install size right now, you will see it s a bit over 8GB. While that is much lower than a standard Windows install (~25GB), we can get it down just a bit further. Follow the steps below to do that.
1. On the Windows 11 Lite desktop, you will see a file called Compressor.exe . Right-click it and click Run as administrator.
2. The compressor will now open up and begin its work automatically. Simply leave it alone and check back in a few minutes. You will need to restart your Windows 11 to see the changes. However, before we do, let s also go on to turn off page files to save some more space.
Note:Skip the steps below if your system has RAM lower than 512MB.
3. Double click This PC on the desktop to open it up. Right-click on its icon from the left sidebar and open up its Properties window.
5. Scroll down and click onAdvanced System Settingsto open up another pop-up window.
6. Under the Performance section, clickSettings.
7. In the Performance Options pop-up window, move to theAdvancedtab and click onProgramsunder theAdjust for best performancesection.
9. Now under Virtual Memory, click Change and then untick theAutomatically manage paging file size of all drivesoption.
10. Now move down a bit, enable theNo paging fileoption, and click on theSetbutton next to it.
11. A pop-up window will now show up on your screen warning you about the change. Simply pressYesand then pressApply.
Restart your PC and check the file properties again. You see the installation size has been reduced even further and is now under 5GB! You can now go on to use Windows 11 Lite to your heart s content and explore.
Windows 11 Lite: Initial Impressions
Having been using it for a few days, I love Windows 11 Lite for its light impact on the PC. Besides the extra storage that I have on my drive, theCPU and RAM usage is now even lowercompared to standard Windows 11. I also did not encounter any Windows breaking bugs or glitches while using the PC. The only thing worth mentioning is thatthe famous Windows+Shift+S screenshot feature doesn t work. Now as mentioned above, there are no extra apps or services on the device, which help deliver smooth performance and even better start-up times.
However, that also means there isno Windows Defender, Microsoft Store,or any third-party software. If you want these, you can install the Firefox development browser provided on the USB in the extras folder and then sideload all these apps if you wish. However, I advise against that since an empty Windows is what we were hoping for here. Also, some Windows 11 features like the smooth animations are missing, but I honestly like that for how quickly the windows open now. Overall, I loved this Windows 11 Lite build and can surely see myself installing it as an alternative toChromeOS Flexon more systems.
Debloat Your Windows 11 Build Instead
While the Windows 11 Lite build that we installed is fairly safe, debloating your existing Windows 11 copy is a great alternative for users not wanting to take the risk. By debloating your PC, you will be able to remove the unnecessary apps and services from your system. It will also help remove any extra tracking services that might be running on your PC in the background. So if you are someone who would like to keep their existing Windows 11 copy, then learnhow to debloat Windows 11here and make your existing build lighter.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Windows 11 Lite Safe?
In my experience using this lightweight Windows 11 build, I did not encounter any malicious software on my files or services. However, to be on the safe side, I ran a Malwarebytes scan, and it actually caught two registry modifications titledPUM. Optional. DisableMRT.
Before you freak out, you should know these modifications are made by admins to block the once-a-month Microsoft Malicious Software Removal tool scanning and reporting. While I cannot speak on behalf of the creator, I assume these modifications are made to make sure the build is not bogged down by another Microsoft service. However, if you feel these modifications are not worth it, you should stick to debloating your Windows 11 by following the section above.
Are Apps Like Microsoft Store or Xbox Live Present?
As mentioned above, these apps arenot presenton this Windows 11 Lite version. In an attempt to save space, the creator has removed them from the build. However, you can easily install all this software back since this build works like any other Windows.
Does this Windows 11 Lite also Reduce Start-up Time?
As a matter of fact, it does. I noticed the start-up timedrop by at least 40 secondswhen using this Windows 11 Lite build. Depending on your system hardware, you may have even better luck.
Install a Lightweight Windows 11 Build on Your PC
I hope you have lots of fun exploring this lightweight Windows 11 build. However, if you d rather stick to your standard Windows 11 build, then go check out thebest Windows 11 featuresand elevate your experience. Also, while you are at it, learn about thecoolest Windows 11 hidden featuresvia the linked article. If you have installed this lightweight build, how is your experience using Windows 11 Lite? Do let us know in the comments below!