How to install Windows 11 on your Raspberry Pi

How to install Windows 11 on your Raspberry Pi

How to install Windows 11 on your Raspberry Pi


Installing Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi involves a bit more effort than installing a typical Raspberry Pi OS, mainly because Windows 11 is not officially supported on Raspberry Pi hardware. However, it’s possible to run Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi 4 (preferably the 4GB or 8GB RAM model) using a project called the Windows on Raspberry (WoR) tool. This project facilitates the installation of Windows on ARM devices, like the Raspberry Pi.

For enthusiasts and hobbyists exploring the capabilities of both the Raspberry Pi and Windows ecosystems, installing Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi is more than just a technical challenge; it’s an educational journey that delves into the intricacies of operating systems, hardware limitations, and software compatibility. This project underscores the adaptability of Windows on ARM architecture and the Raspberry Pi’s potential beyond its traditional Linux-based environments.

Educational Value

  • Understanding ARM Architecture: The project offers a hands-on approach to learning about ARM architecture, which differs significantly from the x86 architecture most common in desktop PCs. This understanding is increasingly valuable as ARM-based computing becomes more prevalent in various technology sectors, including mobile devices, cloud computing, and even some desktop environments.
  • Operating System Internals: Installing and configuring an operating system not officially supported on the hardware provides deep insights into OS internals, boot processes, drivers, and system configuration. This knowledge is beneficial for anyone interested in computer science, operating system design, or IT support.

Technical Challenges

  • Driver Support and Hardware Compatibility: One of the biggest challenges is ensuring that Windows 11 can communicate effectively with the Raspberry Pi’s hardware. This involves dealing with drivers for the GPU, USB ports, networking interfaces, and more. The community has made strides in this area, but it’s an ongoing effort with varying degrees of success and stability.
  • Performance Optimization: Given the Raspberry Pi’s limited resources (especially in terms of CPU power and RAM compared to a typical Windows 11 PC), optimization is key. This involves tweaking system settings, prioritizing tasks, and sometimes making compromises on what applications and services can realistically be run.

Practical Applications

While the performance and compatibility issues mean that a Raspberry Pi running Windows 11 won’t replace a standard PC for most users, there are niche applications where this setup could be invaluable:

  • Education and Demonstration: For teaching concepts of operating systems, hardware-software interaction, or for demonstrating Windows on ARM capabilities.
  • Development and Testing: Developers working on applications for Windows on ARM could use this setup as an inexpensive testing environment.
  • Specialized Use Cases: There may be specific scenarios where a lightweight, low-power device running Windows 11 is ideal, such as for certain types of embedded systems, kiosks, or IoT gateways where specific Windows applications need to be run.

What You’ll Need:

  1. Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (4GB or 8GB RAM version recommended for better performance).
  2. MicroSD Card (16GB minimum, but a larger and faster SD card or an SSD is recommended for better performance).
  3. Another computer to prepare the installation media.
  4. Windows 11 ARM64 Image – You can download this from the official Microsoft website if you have access to the Insider Program, or from other sources that provide ARM64 versions of Windows 11.
  5. The WoR tool – Download from the WoR website.

Windows 11 on your Raspberry Pi

Steps to Install Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi:

Step 1: Download Required Software

  • Download the latest version of the Windows on Raspberry (WoR) tool from its official website.
  • Obtain a Windows 11 ARM64 ISO. Ensure you’re using a legitimate and safe source.

Step 2: Prepare the SD Card/SSD

  • Insert your MicroSD card or connect your SSD to your computer.
  • It’s recommended to format the drive to ensure it’s clean. You can use the SD Card Formatter tool for SD cards.

Step 3: Run WoR

  • Open the WoR tool on your computer.
  • Follow the prompts in the WoR interface:
    • Select the language and version.
    • Choose your device (Raspberry Pi 4).
    • Select your storage (the MicroSD card or SSD).
    • Browse and select the Windows 11 ARM64 ISO file.
    • Configure your installation options (such as using the latest drivers and UEFI firmware).
  • Start the deployment process. This will take some time, depending on your SD card’s or SSD’s speed and your computer.

Step 4: Insert the SD Card/Connect the SSD to the Raspberry Pi

  • Once the WoR tool has completed the installation process, safely eject the SD card or SSD from your computer.
  • Insert the SD card into your Raspberry Pi or connect the SSD.
  • Connect your Raspberry Pi to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Power it up.

Step 5: Complete the Windows 11 Setup

  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the Windows 11 setup process.
  • This includes configuring your region, keyboard layout, user account, and privacy settings.

Tips for Better Performance:

  • Use an SSD over a MicroSD card for significantly better performance.
  • Update the Raspberry Pi’s firmware to the latest version.
  • Once Windows 11 is installed, update it and any drivers to the latest version for better stability and performance.

Note: Running Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi is more of an experiment and learning experience than a practical setup. Performance may not be optimal, and some features or hardware components might not work as expected due to the Raspberry Pi’s limited resources compared to a typical Windows 11 Compatible PC.

Optimizing the performance of Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi can make a significant difference in usability. Here are tailored tips to help you get the most out of this unique setup:

1. Use an SSD Instead of an SD Card

  • Why? SSDs provide faster read/write speeds compared to SD cards, leading to quicker boot times, faster application launches, and overall snappier system performance.
  • How? Connect an SSD through a USB 3.0 adapter or enclosure. Make sure your Raspberry Pi’s firmware is updated to support USB boot.

2. Optimize Windows for Performance

  • Why? Windows 11 includes many visual effects and features designed for more powerful hardware. These can slow down a Raspberry Pi.
  • How? Adjust for best performance:
    • Right-click on “This PC” > “Properties” > “Advanced system settings”.
    • Under “Performance,” click on “Settings”.
    • Choose “Adjust for best performance” and apply the changes.

3. Limit Startup Programs

  • Why? Many programs automatically start with Windows and run in the background, consuming resources.
  • How? Use Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc) > “Startup” tab. Disable unnecessary programs.

4. Disable Unnecessary Services and Features

  • Why? Some Windows services and features may not be needed for your use case and can slow down your system.
  • How? Use the “Services” app (search for it in Start). Carefully disable services you don’t need, but be cautious; disabling essential services can affect system functionality.

5. Increase the Page File Size

  • Why? The Page File is used as virtual memory and can help when physical RAM is fully utilized, though it’s slower.
  • How?
    • Go to “System Properties” > “Advanced” tab > “Settings” under Performance.
    • In the Performance Options, go to the “Advanced” tab > “Change” under Virtual memory.
    • Uncheck “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives”.
    • Select “Custom size” and set the Initial and Maximum size to a value recommended by Windows or slightly higher.

6. Manage Power Settings for Performance

  • Why? Power settings can affect performance, especially if set to conserve energy.
  • How? Change the power plan to “High performance” or “Ultimate Performance” (if available) in the Control Panel under Power Options.

7. Regular Maintenance

  • Why? Over time, files, updates, and applications can clutter the system, reducing performance.
  • How?
    • Regularly update Windows and drivers.
    • Use Disk Cleanup to remove temporary and unnecessary files.
    • Uninstall applications that are not needed.

8. Use Lightweight Applications

  • Why? Some applications are more resource-intensive than others. Using alternatives designed for efficiency can reduce strain on your system.
  • How? Opt for lightweight browsers like Microsoft Edge or Firefox, and consider using simpler, less resource-intensive software where possible.

9. Consider Overclocking (With Caution)

  • Why? Overclocking can increase the processing power of your Raspberry Pi, leading to better performance.
  • How? Modify the /boot/config.txt file to set higher CPU and GPU frequencies. However, be cautious, as overclocking can lead to overheating and stability issues. Ensure adequate cooling and start with small increments.

10. Ensure Adequate Cooling

  • Why? Thermal throttling can significantly impact performance. Keeping your Raspberry Pi cool helps maintain optimal performance.
  • How? Use passive heatsinks, active cooling solutions like fans, or even consider a case designed for cooling.

Implementing these tips can help optimize the performance of Windows 11 on your Raspberry Pi, making it more usable for your projects or educational purposes. Always back up important data before making changes to your system.

Windows 11 Raspberry Pi

ways to enhance your experience with Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi, here are additional insights and tips:

Optimizing Performance

After installing Windows 11 on your Raspberry Pi, you might notice that the performance isn’t on par with a standard desktop PC running Windows 11. This is due to the limited hardware capabilities of the Raspberry Pi compared to traditional Windows computers. However, you can take some steps to optimize and improve the performance:

  • Disable Unnecessary Startup Programs: Reducing the number of programs that run at startup can help free up resources. You can manage startup programs through the Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc, then switch to the “Startup” tab).
  • Adjust Visual Effects: Windows 11 comes with various visual effects that can be demanding on system resources. Adjusting for best performance can help. Go to System Properties > Advanced system settings > Settings under Performance and choose Adjust for best performance.
  • Enable Hardware Acceleration (if available): Check if hardware acceleration is available and enabled, as it can offload tasks from the CPU to the GPU, improving performance in certain applications.
  • Update Regularly: Keep both Windows and the Raspberry Pi firmware up to date. Updates can bring performance improvements and bug fixes.

Expanding Functionality

Running Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi opens up a range of possibilities, but it also comes with limitations. Here are some ways to expand its functionality:

  • Remote Desktop: If the performance of the Raspberry Pi under Windows 11 isn’t meeting your needs, consider using it as a thin client for remote desktop sessions. You can connect to a more powerful PC running Windows 11 and use its resources.
  • IoT and Home Automation Projects: While Windows 11 itself might not be the ideal platform for all Raspberry Pi projects, its ability to run certain Windows applications can be useful for home automation or IoT projects that require specific Windows software.

Community Support and Resources

Because running Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi is not officially supported by Microsoft, turning to community resources can be incredibly helpful for troubleshooting and discovering new tweaks:

  • WoR Forum and GitHub: The Windows on Raspberry project’s forum and GitHub page are great places to find support, ask questions, and connect with others who are working on similar projects.
  • Reddit and Online Forums: Subreddits related to Raspberry Pi, Windows on ARM, and tech DIY projects are valuable resources for finding guides, discussing issues, and sharing successes.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

  • Software Licensing: Be mindful of Microsoft’s licensing terms for Windows 11. Using unauthorized versions of Windows or bypassing activation methods can violate these terms.
  • Purpose and Expectations: Keep in mind that this setup is more suitable for educational purposes, experimentation, and specific use cases rather than replacing a primary Windows 11 PC.

Final Thoughts

Running Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi showcases the versatility and potential of both the Raspberry Pi platform and the Windows operating system. It’s a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of the tech community. However, it’s essential to approach this project with realistic expectations regarding performance and functionality.

Downloading the Windows 11 ARM64 ISO

Windows 11 ARM64 ISO directly from Microsoft wasn’t as straightforward as downloading ISOs for other versions of Windows, mainly because Microsoft didn’t officially support Windows 11 on the Raspberry Pi. However, there are a few ways to obtain the Windows 11 ARM64 ISO for personal and educational use:

1. Windows Insider Program

If you’re a member of the Windows Insider Program, you may have access to ARM64 builds. Here’s a general approach:

  • Sign up for the Windows Insider Program with your Microsoft account if you haven’t already.
  • Log into the Windows Insider Preview downloads page to see if an ARM64 ISO is available for download.

2. UUP Dump

UUP Dump is a third-party service that allows users to download UUP (Unified Update Platform) files directly from Microsoft’s update servers and compile them into ISOs. This method is a bit more technical but quite effective:

  • Visit UUP Dump.
  • Look for the latest Windows 11 ARM64 build. You can use the search feature or navigate through the available versions.
  • Follow the instructions on the site to create an ISO. This will involve selecting your desired language, edition, and then downloading a script that will download the UUP files and compile them into an ISO.

3. Other Sources

While there might be other websites offering direct ISO downloads, be cautious. Downloading software from unofficial sources can pose security risks, including malware. If you choose to go this route, ensure you’re using a reputable site and have a way to verify the integrity of the download (e.g., through checksum verification).

4. Verification and Preparation

After obtaining the ISO, it’s a good practice to verify its integrity if possible, especially if not downloaded directly from Microsoft. Then, prepare your installation media using the recommended tools, like the Windows on Raspberry Pi (WoR) tool for the actual installation process on your Raspberry Pi.

5. Legal and Compliance Note

Always ensure your use of Windows software complies with Microsoft’s licensing agreements. Using the software on unsupported hardware, like the Raspberry Pi, is typically for educational and experimental purposes. Be mindful of the terms and conditions to avoid potential legal issues.

By following these guidelines, you can obtain the Windows 11 ARM64 ISO for your Raspberry Pi project, enabling a unique learning experience or for exploring Windows on ARM’s capabilities.


Installing Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi is a fascinating project that exemplifies the versatility and educational potential of both the Raspberry Pi platform and the Windows operating system. Despite not being officially supported by Microsoft, the tech community has developed methods to make this possible, offering a unique opportunity for enthusiasts to explore, learn, and innovate.

While the process involves navigating through some technical challenges, including obtaining the Windows 11 ARM64 ISO, optimizing performance, and ensuring hardware compatibility, the rewards include gaining deeper insights into ARM architecture, operating system internals, and the nuances of system optimization.

This project is particularly valuable for educational purposes, demonstrating the principles of computing, operating systems, and hardware-software interaction in a hands-on manner. It also serves as a testament to the Raspberry Pi’s capabilities beyond its typical use cases, pushing the boundaries of what this small yet powerful device can do.

However, it’s essential to approach this project with realistic expectations regarding performance and functionality, and to be mindful of legal and ethical considerations, particularly regarding software licensing and usage.

The journey to get Windows 11 up and running on a Raspberry Pi is emblematic of the broader maker spirit—a blend of curiosity, learning, and overcoming technical challenges. While it may not be the most practical setup for everyday use, it offers valuable lessons on computing, opens up discussions about the future of ARM computing, and demonstrates the versatility of both the Raspberry Pi and Windows ecosystems. As both hardware and software evolve, projects like these continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible, encouraging innovation and knowledge sharing within the tech community.

In conclusion, running Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi is more than just a technical endeavor—it’s an educational journey that encourages problem-solving, critical thinking, and innovation. Whether for educational purposes, personal satisfaction, or to explore specific applications, this project highlights the endless possibilities that arise when communities come together to extend the capabilities of technology beyond its intended limits.


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