If you have a computer running Windows 7, it is possible to upgrade to Windows 11 without losing your files using the ISO file, but the process will require a complete reinstallation. This means that your apps and settings won’t carry over to the new installation. However, before you upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 7, you will still need to make sure the laptop or desktop meets the minimum system requirements. For example, the device must include a motherboard with UEFI firmware, and the processor must be an Intel’s 8th Gen or newer or an AMD Zen 2 or newer. This is in addition to the requirements of TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot and a minimum of 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM.
Although Windows 11 will be offered as a free upgrade for Windows 10 devices, you may still be able to upgrade Windows 7 for free, but this is not an official option. If you do not have a license, you will need to purchase one as necessary. Also, you will need to create a full backup to roll back for any reason or if you need to recover your files.
It is also recommended to uninstall any software that may conflict with the upgrade to Windows 11, including antivirus, security tools, and old third-party programs. Also, it is a good idea to disconnect any hardware connected to the computer, including printers, phones, cameras, external hard drives, and other USB peripherals, to avoid problems.
In this guide, you will learn how to upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 7.
Upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 7 using ISO file
It’s a good idea to create a full backup to roll back if anything unexpected happens. In addition to the system backup, you should also create a backup of your files to OneDrive or another cloud service or external drive in case you need to restore them manually.
To upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 7 with an ISO file, use these steps:
Right-click the ISO file, select the Open with submenu, and choose the Windows Explorer option.
Click on the mounted drive from the left navigation pane.
Double-click the Setup file to begin the Windows 11 upgrade process.
(Optional) Click the Change how Windows Setup downloads updates option.
Select the Not right now option.
Click the Next button.
Click the Accept button to agree to the terms.
Click the Install button to upgrade while keeping your files and apps.
If you want to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows 11, click the Change what to keep option, select the Nothing option, click the Next button, and then click the Install button.
After you complete the steps, the upgrade process will begin. Once the installation has been completed, you may need to go through the out-of-box experience (OOBE) to finish configuring Windows 11.
The Media Creation Tool has been updated for Windows 11, but it now only works to create a bootable USB flash drive or ISO file. You can no longer use it to perform an in-place upgrade. The Installation Assistant is only available for Windows 10 devices.
If you plan to upgrade your device running Windows 7, you should also consider using a clean installation since it’s a better option and can help to avoid problems during and after the installation.