Fake Windows 11 installers found online can infect your PC

Alexandru Poloboc
by Alexandru Poloboc
News Editor
With an overpowering desire to always get to the bottom of things and uncover the truth, Alex spent most of his time working as a news reporter, anchor, as well as TV and radio... Read more
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  • When trying to install Windows 11, never trust a leaked version you found online, as such an action can have serious consequences.
  • Some users, that applied such a software version to their devices, actually got infected with dangerous malware and viruses. 
  • Security company Kaspersky is warning Windows users to not download and install the OS via copies found on the web.
  • The only reliable source to get Windows 11 is actually Microsoft itself, and you can do so via the Insider program.
windows 11 fake

As we are sure that you are aware by now, Windows 11 has been available for testing for some weeks now, through Microsoft’s Windows Insider program.

Before it was available directly from the Redmond tech company, some leaked ISO versions were downloaded and installed by Windows 10 users but, as you can imagine, they weren’t at all stable.

The bad part is that these so-called Windows 11 versions are still available on the internet and installing one of them could have serious consequences.

Remember that, if your device does not support Windows 11 or you just don’t want to replace your Windows 10 in order to test it yet, you can still try the new OS online, via an emulator.

Windows 11 installers found online contain dangerous malware

All you can see across the internet these days is people testing and reporting problems with Microsoft’s latest operating system.

And, of course, other people wanting to partake in the testing phase for the upcoming OS but unsure where to get it from, tried to download the Windows 11 ISO from unorthodox sources.

It comes as no surprise that, every time something even remotely popular becomes available on the web, there are always certain individuals looking to make new victims by piggybacking off a product’s popularity, with malware.

As you can imagine, installing a bootleg version of Windows 11 that you found in God knows what website, can have serious ramifications.

It could mean that all your personal info is now up for grabs and all the time you’ve spent on ways to protect your content just went down the drain.

Big companies that specialize in security software, such as Kaspersky, are now warning users about the potential repercussions of using such installers on a personal device.

It’s wild to have to say this, but if you’re planning to install Windows 11, you should get it from official sources. As it turns out, people who are using alternative methods to get Windows 11 are also getting some malware along with it!

The untrained eye is easy to fool, as some malicious third parties have proven, by adding the nefarious software into an apparently harmless installer, called 86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + activator.exe.

By simply reading the description, some users might think that all it does is install Windows 11 build 21996.1.

However, the truth is far from that and all you would do by running this executable and agreeing to its terms would be opening the door for intruders.

This file’s size is only 1.75GB, and it certainly seems plausible to some. The actual truth is that the bulk of that space consists of one DLL file that contains a lot of useless information.

What happens if I run this fake Windows 11 installer?

Before we describe what happens if you do, you might want to refrain from doing it, for your own safety.

We say that because opening the executable will start the installer, which looks like an ordinary Windows installation wizard. Its main task is to download and run another executable.

This second executable is actually an installer as well, and it even comes with a license agreement, which of course few people take the time to read.

It is generically called a download manager for 86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + activator and mentions absolutely nothing about the fact that it would also install some sponsored software.

And of course, if you accept the agreement, a number of malicious programs will be installed on your device.

Note that this is just one example, and there are many more such ingeniously disguised malware packs on the internet.

The main lesson here is that if you want to try Windows 11, download and install it from a certified source. In this case, the only certified and safe source is Microsoft itself.

Windows 11 is not available for purchase at any retailers, online or offline, at this time. This software is still in development and you can only test its preview builds via the Insider program.

The best advice that we or anybody else could give you is to steer clear of such fake products and make a habit of getting your software from reliable sources.

This will save you a lot of headaches along the way. Especially if you have valuable or sensitive information stored on your device.

Have you ever downloaded an unofficial Windows 11 version on your machine? Share with us, in the comments section below, any consequences that came with this installation.

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