Microsoft has quietly released a new operating system named “Windows 11 Validation OS.” This is a lightweight OS designed around the Windows 11 operating system without a Graphical User Interface (GUI). Meaning that it is solely based on the Command Line Interface (CLI).
This operating system is not designed for the average everyday end-user. It is designed for the hardware and software vendors to help detect, diagnose, and mitigate issues. That said, you may or may not want to deploy this OS in your environment, depending upon what you do and how you want to use it.
What is Windows 11 Validation OS
The Windows 11 Validation OS was announced a while ago with the intention of quick and lightweight deployment for testing purposes. This eliminates the heavy full-version Windows 11 installation to be used by hardware or software vendors, developers, and technicians. They will be able to develop their solutions around the Windows 11 OS without having to install the complete operating system.
This is how Microsoft puts it:
Microsoft Validation OS is a lightweight, fast, and customizable Windows 11-based operating system that you can use on the factory floor to diagnose, mitigate and repair hardware defects during Windows device manufacturing.Microsoft
Windows 11 Validation OS boots into a command-line environment which offers more control and customization options to the user as opposed to the standard Windows 11 OS. This helps in smoothening the transition from early hardware testing to the retail Windows 11 operating system. This is because the Win32 API used in the OS provides direct access to the system’s hardware.
Currently, Windows 11 Validation OS is only offered for ARM64 and AMD64 devices.
Download Windows 11 Validation OS
Before you can download the new flavor of Windows 11, which is Windows 11 Validation OS, Microsoft wants you to thoroughly go through the “Software License Terms.” We also recommend that you do so.
You can read the Microsoft License Terms here.
Once read, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the respective link to download Windows 11 Validation OS either for ARM64 or AMD64 devices.
As soon as you click the link, your download will begin. Note that the OS will download in a .WIM file. To mount and use the .WIM file, click on the respective links below:
- Mount and customize a Windows 11 Validation OS WIM file
- Setup a bootable OS installation
- Validation OS feature packages
- Launching an app or command inside Windows 11 Validation OS
- Debug Apps in Validation OS
Windows 11 Validation OS is best recommended for testing environments and Virtual Machines (VMs). Since it is meant for software and hardware vendors, it best serves the testing purpose in an isolated environment and away from real production.
If you have had a hands-on experience with the Windows 11 Validation OS, do let us know how your experience went in the comments section below.