Microsoft released a new lightweight Windows 11 Validation OS that's probably not for you

The Windows 11 logo with the stock wallpaper on the background

Microsoft, without any major announcement, recently released a new lightweight version of Windows 11. However, this new lightweight OS is not meant for the general end user. Based on Command Line and called "Microsoft Validation OS", it has been designed for hardware or software vendors, developers, and technicians to help diagnose and mitigate issues. It will essentially help to build hardware and software around Windows 11 without installing the full thing.

Here's how Microsoft defines its new Validation OS:

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. Validation OS boots into a Command Line environment to increase reliability on the factory floor and supports running Win32 apps, smoothing the transition from early hardware bring-up to retail OS and apps development.

As you can see in Microsoft's description above, Validation OS supports Win32 apps which is meant to aid in the diagnostics of an in-development Windows 11-based project. That's because the Win32 API provides direct access to system hardware and has various tools for diagnostics.

You can find more details and resources about Validation OS at these links:

If you wanted to try it out, Microsoft Validation OS is available for download as a Windows Image (.WIM) file at this link for both ARM64 and AMD64 architectures.

Thanks for the tip, Aryeh Goretsky!

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