How to install Windows 11 23H2 (early)

You can try out Windows 11 23H2 before it's officially released, and here are two ways to do it.

Windows 11 23H2 early upgrade
Windows 11 23H2 early upgrade

UPDATED 9/23/2023: Although Windows 11 23H2 is not due for release until September 26, 2023, it’s possible to install the new version before it becomes available to everyone to get early hands on the new features and changes.

If you want to upgrade early to the Windows 11 2023 Update, you have to enroll the computer in the Release Preview Channel (or Beta Channel) to download and install the feature update through Windows Update. It’s also possible to download the official ISO file (preview) to create a USB media to perform a clean installation.

This guide will teach you two ways to upgrade to Windows 11 23H2 before it becomes generally available.

Important: At the time of this writing, Windows 11 23H2 still hasn’t been finalized, which means that you may still run into some issues during and after the upgrade. Also, creating a full backup of your computer is recommended in case you need to roll back if something wrong happens.

Install Windows 11 23H2 from Insider Program

You can install Windows 11 23H2 before it’s officially available using the Release Preview or Beta Channel. These channels are designed for anyone who wants to try out upcoming features while the company continues the development process. The previews in this channel are stable, but you may still run into problems.

To upgrade to Windows 11 23H2 early from version 22H2, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 11.

  2. Click on Windows Update.

  3. Click the Windows Insider Program tab.

    Windows Insider Program

  4. Click the Get started button.

    Windows 11 Insider start enroll

  5. Click the “Link an account” button.

    Microsoft account enroll Insider program

  6. Sign in with your Microsoft account credentials.

  7. Click the Continue button.

  8. Under the “Pick your Insider settings” section, select the “Release Preview” (recommended) or “Beta Channel” option.

    Windows 11 23H2 early install from Beta Channel

  9. Click the Continue button.

  10. Click the Continue button to agree to the terms and conditions.

  11. Click the Restart button.

  12. Open Settings after the reboot.

  13. Click on Windows Update.

  14. Click the Check for updates button to install Windows 11 23H2.

  15. Click the Restart button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows Update will download and begin updating the computer to the Windows 11 2023 Update.

After the upgrade, you can gracefully remove the computer from the program from the “Windows Insider Program” settings page to prevent upgrading to a follow-up version by turning on the “Stop getting preview builds” toggle switch.

It’s worth noting that starting on September 22, Microsoft has released build 22631.2361 (KB5030310) for version 22H2 in the Release Preview Channel, which includes most of the features for version 23H2. If you want to upgrade early to the new version, using the Release Preview Channel is the best option.

Install Windows 11 23H2 from USB

You can also download the ISO file with the latest files for version 23H2 to create a USB media to perform a clean installation. You need to start your computer with the bootable media to launch the Windows 11 setup.

Also, you have to check whether the device can start from a USB flash drive, which means you may need to change the UEFI settings. Since the firmware settings are different on every computer, check your manufacturer support website for more specific details.

To perform a clean install of Windows 11 23H2 from USB, use these steps:

  1. Start the PC with the Windows 11 23H2 USB flash drive.

  2. Press any key to continue.

  3. Click the Next button.

    Windows 11 Setup

  4. Click the Install now button.

    Windows 11 install option

  5. Click the “I don’t have a product key” option if you are doing a reinstallation. If Windows 11 was previously activated after the installation, reactivation would happen automatically.

    Skip license key option

  6. Select the edition of “Windows 11” that your license key activates (if applicable).

  7. Check the “I accept the license terms” option.

  8. Click the Next button.

  9. Select the “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)” option.

    Windows 11 custom install option

  10. Select each partition in the hard drive you want to install Windows 11 23H2 and click the Delete button. (Typically, the “Drive 0” is the drive that contains all the installation files.)

    Delete partitions Windows 11 setup

    Warning: When you delete a partition, it also deletes all data on the drive. Also, it is not required to delete the partitions from a secondary hard drive.
  11. Select the hard drive (Drive 0 Unallocated Space) to install Windows 11.

    Clean install Windows 11 on unallocated space

  12. Click the Next button.

  13. Select the hard drive (“Drive 0 Unallocated Space”) to install Windows 11 on your computer.

    Clean install Windows 11 on unallocated space

  14. Click the Next button.

  15. Select your region setting after the installation on the first page of the out-of-the-box experience (OOBE).

    Windows 11 OOBE region

  16. Click the Yes button.

  17. Select your keyboard layout setting.

    Keyboard layout

  18. Click the Yes button.

  19. Click the Skip button if you do not need to configure a second layout.

  20. The computer will automatically connect to the network if it uses an Ethernet connection. If you have a wireless connection, you must set up the connection manually (a security key may be required).

  21. (Optional) Confirm a name for the computer.

    Windows 11 OOBE name PC

  22. Click the Next button. (The device will restart automatically.)

  23. Select the “Set up for personal use” option if you are configuring Windows 11 Pro. The “Home” edition does not have this option.

    Windows 11 setup types

  24. Click the Next button.

  25. Click the Sign in button.

    OOBE Sign in page

  26. Confirm your Microsoft account email, phone number, or Skype identification to create an account.

    Create Windows 11 account

  27. Click the Next button.

  28. Confirm your Microsoft account password.

  29. Click the Next button.

  30. Click on “View more options.”

    OOBE restore settings

    Quick note: Microsoft is updating the out-of-the-box experience, and the process may be slightly different in the final release.
  31. Choose the “Set up a new device” option.

    OOBE Set up as a new device

  32. Click the Next button.

  33. Click the Create PIN button.

    Windows 11 OOBE create PIN

  34. Create a new four-digit PIN.

    Create account PIN

  35. Click the OK button.

  36. Confirm the privacy settings that best suit your situation by turning on or off the toggle switch for each setting.

    Windows 11 OOBE privacy settings

  37. Click the Next button.

  38. Click the Next button again.

  39. Click the Accept button.

    Privacy settings continued

  40. (Optional) On the “Let’s customize your experience” page, select one or more ways you plan to use the device to allow the setup to suggest tools and service customizations during this experience.

    Windows 11 OOBE customize experience

  41. Click the Accept button to continue. Or click the Skip button to skip this part of the setup.

  42. Click the Skip button for the Android phone link process.

  43. Click the “Next” button to automatically upload your Desktop, Pictures, and Documents folders to OneDrive. Or Select the “Only save files to this PC” option.

    OOBE OneDrive backup setup

  44. Click the Next button.

  45. Click the Decline button to skip the Microsoft 365 setup.

  46. Click the “Skip for now” button to skip the Game Pass subscription promotion.

After you complete the steps, Windows 11 23H2 will finish the clean installation on the computer.

In the case that the installation is still on version 22H2, you can follow the previous steps to enroll the device in the Beta Channel to upgrade the system to version 23H2.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].