Technically Impossible

Lets look at the weak link in your statement. Anything "Technically Impossible" basically means we haven't figured out how yet.

USB drive for Windows 11 clean install - NTFS format + bypassing hardware requirement check

Abstract

Making USB drive for Windows clean install from its ISO image, there are 2 hurdles as

  • USB drive must be formatted in FAT32.
  • FAT32 doesn't support a file over 4GB.

Windows 11 ISO image includes a file over 4GB. Such file must be split before copying to USB drive. If USB drive are partitioned below, file splitting is not required.

boot partition FAT32
data partition NTFS

Such USB drive can be made without a tools as Rufus. And this USB drive is applicable for clean install of Windows 11 to PC not supporting Windows 11 officially. Without special treatment, it can avoid hardware requirement check.

This post introduces

USB drive

Assumption

Followings are requirements for USB drive for install.

  • 8GB as minimum capacity
  • bootable

Meeting requirements above, Either USB drive or SD card + USB card reader is available for use. Example, the next product is used in this post.

Partition

Using the command "diskpart"*1, divide USB drive with 2 partitions below. The unit of partition size is MB (1GB = 1024MB).

Partition Capacity Format
Boot 1024MB = 1.0GB FAT32
Data All remaining NTFS

diskpart command and its result

diskpart

# set a target disk
list disk
select disk 4

# make 1GB (1024MB) boot partition
list disk
create partition primary size=1024

# format boot partition in FAT32
list partition
select partition 1
format fs=fat32 quick

# make 15GB (15360MB) data partition
create partition primary size=15360

# format data partition in NTFS
list partition
select partition 2
format fs=ntfs quick


In this post, 32GB microSD card is used and 15GB there is assigned as data partition. If the assigned capacity is not specified, all empty space is assigned.

The disk number and the partition number may vary from user's environment. In advance of storage processing, better to check whether appropriate disk or partition is selected with "list ~". "*" indicates corresponding item is selected.

USB drive will have following structure on completion of procedures above.


Windows 11 install media

Windows 11 ISO image can be downloaded from the next site. Download from "Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO)". Making USB drive with other 2 items, hardware requirement check will be run during clean installation.

www.microsoft.com

To make USB drive as Windows 11 clean install media, copy files from ISO image. Mounting ISO image, copy files and folders as following.

boot partition boot
efi
sources\boot.wim
support
bootmgr
bootmgr.efi
data partition all other folders and files

Regarding "boot.wim", its folder structure must be kept. It means creating the folder "sources" and copy it there.
Copying all folders and files in ISO image to data partition is no problem.

Booting PC with this drive, Windows 11 install process is started. If a destination drive has old Windows environment, it will ask to choose of followings.

  • upgrade install
  • custom install

Select custom install for clean install, then remove partitions on a destination drive at later process. Install process will ends without hardware requirement check.

Advice for a case of Surface Pro not supporting Windows 11

Windows 11 doesn't support Surface pro 5 and its previous version, but it can be clean installed. supposing special condition of hardware, especially for dead Type Cover port, trying upgrade install first, then trying clean install is recommended.

Dead Type Cover port

Neither touch panel nor Bluetooth keyboard as Brydge*2 work during Windows 11 clean install process. If Type Cover port is dead, USB hub is required to support both USB drive and keyboard.
Dead Type Cover port is not revived by Windows 11. Just to install Windows 11, Microsoft's upgrade install introduced later is recommended.

Secure Boot

To boot with USB drive, Secure Boot must be off in UEFI.

Surface UEFI > Security > Secure Boot > Change configuration > None

Change boot order:USB storage set at top.

Surface UEFI > Boot configuration > Configure boot device order

Insert USB drive, and reboot.

Surface UEFI > Exit > Restart now

Turn back Secure Boot on after installation

Surface UEFI > Security > Secure Boot > Change configuration > Microsoft only

Off topic

Although Windows 11 doesn't support the 7th generation of Intel Core i series and its earlier, Microsoft disclose the way to install Windows 11 with bypassing hardware requirement check.

support.microsoft.com

Not only editing registry key, But also deleting ”appraiserres.dll” from Windows 11 install image can bypass it.

In any way, USB drive introduced in this post can bypass hardware requirement check without special treatment.