It’s possible to install Windows 11 23H2 without a USB flash drive if the device already has an older version of Windows 11 or any supported version of Windows 10. You only need to mount the ISO file to File Explorer and launch the upgrade process. However, if the device uses version 22H2, the best option to upgrade is using the “Windows Update” settings since the setup wizard will perform a complete reinstallation.
Although you typically have to use a USB flash drive to perform a clean installation or in-place upgrade, you can also use the virtual disc drive support to mount the Windows 11 23H2 ISO file to launch the setup without any physical media.
This guide will teach you how to perform a Windows 11 23H2 upgrade or clean installation without a bootable USB or Media Creation Tool.
Important: This process will delete everything on your device. It’s recommended to make a full backup of your computer before proceeding. You’ve been warned. Also, these instructions are meant to help you install Windows 11 when it’s officially available, not before.
Install Windows 11 23H2 mounting ISO on File Explorer
To install Windows 11 23H2 without a USB flash drive, use these steps:
Download Windows 11 23H2 ISO file.
Quick note: If you’re reading this guide before the update is available, you can use these instructions to download the latest preview of version 23H2.
Open File Explorer.
Open the folder location for the ISO file.
Right-click the ISO file and select the Mount option.
Click on the mounted drive from the left navigation pane.
Double-click the Setup file to begin the Windows 11 23H2 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.
If you have to perform a clean installation of version 23H2, click the “Change what to keep” option, select the “Nothing” option instead, click the “Next” button, and then click the “Install” button.
Once you complete the steps, the Windows 11 2023 Update will install on your desktop, laptop, or tablet. In the case that this is an in-place upgrade, the wizard will skip the Out-of-box Experience (OOBE) because all your settings, apps, and files will transfer automatically to the new setup.