I know most of you may see the title and think, ‘Not again!’. This install is an un-bloated version of Windows 11 that has minimal requirements for hardware. One that runs very well in VirtualBox and allows some higher end software to run smoother.
Now, I hope I have your attention.
But, you may ask ‘Why?’. Some games do not run on Windows and be not work with WINE. So, how do you play the games you want to play without having multiple systems or a dual-boot system?
This method should help. I know that Virtual Machines tend to be slow, but since this version of Windows has been reduced to a minimum, it helps performance issues.
There are things you will need to make this work.
What You’ll Need
VirtualBox installed is a given. But a little more:
- Storage space: a virtual drive big enough to handle the scaled-down version of Windows and any games you want to install (or apps).
- I would suggest at least 8 GB (8192 MB) of RAM in the Virtual Machine.
- One or more (preferably more) CPU cores for the Virtual Machine.
- Find and download the torrent ‘Windows 11 Pro Phoenix Gamer Edition Build 22000.469 LiteOS (x64) Pre-Activated’. Once you have the torrent, download the ISO file for ‘Windows 11 Gamer Edition’. Keep in mind that a newer version may exist (get the newest version).
If you have all of this, you should be ready. For speed, you can place the Virtual Machine on an SSD and not a hard disk.
Setting It Up
Create the initial Virtual Machine in VirtualBox by clicking on ‘New’.
Give the Machine a name, such as, ‘Windows 11 Gamer’. Set ‘Type’ to ‘Microsoft Windows’ and the ‘Version’ to ‘Windows 11 (64-bit)’. Click ‘Next’.
For the Memory amount, set it to ‘8192’ and click ‘Next’.
Click on ‘Create’ to make a virtual disk for the machine. ‘VDI’ should be fine, then click ‘Next’. You can select ‘Dynamic’ or ‘Fixed’. A ‘Fixed’ drive runs better than ‘Dynamic’ drive. A ‘Fixed’ drive allocates all the space you specify for the drive size. A ‘Dynamic’ disk will use only the space needed and will grow as files are added. The choice is yours. Click ‘Next’.
Set the disk size and the click ‘Create’. The basic Virtual Machine should be created and now you can set more specific settings once it is done.
After the basic machine is created, select is and then click on ‘Settings’ in the upper icon bar.
Under the ‘System’ settings on the left, make sure you select the ‘Motherboard’ tab. Uncheck the ‘Floppy’ in the ‘Boot Order’ section. Click on the ‘Processor tab’ and select the number of processor cores to allocate to the Virtual Machine.
Click on ‘Display’ in the left side of the window. Under the ‘Screen’ tab, move the slider for ‘Video Memory’ to the far right. Check the box for ‘Enable 3D Acceleration’.
In the left pane, click on ‘Storage’ then on the right side click on the ‘Empty’ Optical Drive. On the far upper right is an image of a CD. Click on it and select ‘Choose a disk file…’. A window should appear to let you select the ISO file you downloaded beforehand.
In the Network Section, found on the left, make sure you select the ‘Adapter 1’ tab. Change the ‘Attached to’ to ‘NAT Network’. Select ‘OK’ at the bottom right of the window.
Make sure your Virtual Machine is still selected and click on the ‘Start’ icon at the top of the window. The Operating System (OS) is ready to start installing.
It is preferred that the ‘Gamer Edition’ be installed clean. It should not be used, and may not work, to upgrade an existing system. You can place this on a system by itself, or place it in a Virtual System. Even if you do not want to use it for gaming, it still works as Windows 11. To streamline it, many services have been disabled and removed. It is not a full functioning version of Windows 11.
As the screen goes black, you should see a message that prompts you to press a key to boot from CD or DVD. Make sure you press a key to boot from the ISO file that is loaded as a CD-image.
The setup should load and ask you to select an Operating System to install. There is only one choice, so press ‘Next’.
The next screen shows you the available drives to install Windows 11 on, so click on ‘New’ and then ‘Apply’ to create a new partition and format it. You should be prompted that Windows will create other partitions, so click ‘OK’ and then ‘Next’ so the installation starts.
The installation may take a bit, depending on your system hardware. It usually doesn’t take too long.
After the installation, the Virtual Machine should reboot and Windows 11 should start.
Choose to shut down the Virtual Machine.
Within the files you downloaded, there should be an activation file. Copy these files to a USB drive (USB Stick is fine). In VirtualBox, select the Windows 11 Gamer Edition Virtual Machine and select ‘Settings’. Click on ‘USB’ on the left side of the window. On the right side, click on the little icon with the plus sign (+). From the pop-up list, choose the USB Stick to connect to the Virtual Machine. Start the ‘Windows 11 Gamer Edition’ Virtual Machine.
When the machine restarts, you should have access to the USB Stick. Start the file for Activation and on my system, I selected option ‘2’ to activate the OS (HWID Activation).
Now for game testing.
If you installed this straight to a system, no virtually, then you can just install games as normal. If you used VirtualBox, then you need to connect a CD, DVD or ISO to Windows 11 to perform an install of a game.
At the top of the screen, the window of Windows 11, choose ‘Devices’ then ‘Optical Drives’. Like before, select ‘Choose a Disk File…’. When a window appears, choose your game ISO file. If you have a physical game disc, the just choose the physical optical drive you are using to access the disc from Windows 11.
Install the game as normal. Once the installation is complete, you can start your game.
I installed ‘Ori and the Blind Forest’. It wasn’t as best as it could be. The game is known for its fluid movements and beautiful graphics. The graphics were there, but the fluid movements were not as fluid as normal.
The better your system, the better the games will run under Windows 11. It is not a bad ‘emulator’ of sorts (if that is how you would term it).
For some people, there are a few apps that aren’t available on Linux yet and have no alternatives, so this opens up some options. If you look around, there are lite versions of Windows 10 as well if you would prefer Windows 10 more than 11.
Sitting idle after install, the Windows 11 system runs using just under 800 MB of RAM.
It may not be a best solution for running Windows games, but it is better than not playing them at all.
Other applications that only run on Windows can also be used in the Virtual Machine.