Windows 11 Echo_1

Microsoft is reportedly offering free USB drives to Insiders to reinstall Windows 11

After making some big changes to the Windows Insider Program earlier this month, Microsoft is reportedly making it easier to reinstall Windows 11.

Windows 11 (option 1)

Microsoft is apparently offering free USB drives to select Windows Insiders, following the changes to the Insider Program that include the introduction of the new Canary channel. As part of these changes, Microsoft moved all Insiders in the Dev channel to the new Canary channel, which essentially works the same way as the Dev channel used to, but is now more focused on long-term development. Meanwhile, if you wanted to stay on the Dev channel, which is focused on features coming relatively soon, you would need to perform a clean installation of Windows 11 to sign up again.

While having to reinstall Windows isn't anything new for Insiders in the Dev channel, the changes to the Insider program were apparently confusing to some users, who complained about being moved to the new Canary channel and forced to reinstall Windows 11 if they want to leave the channel.

To attenuate those concerns, Microsoft is offering free USB flash drives containing installation files for Windows 11. Select Windows Insiders have been receiving emails containing an offer to have a USB drive shipped to them for free so that they can easily install a clean build of Windows 11 on their PC and stay on a stable release. The offer is only available if you've received the email with the redemption code, so you'll need to wait and see if you get yours.

Of course, creating Windows 11 installation media isn't all that difficult, and if you have a flash drive, you can follow our guide to clean install Windows 11 if you need to. It's interesting that Microsoft is offering this lifeline to Windows Insiders considering the program has always been aimed at the more technically savvy, especially if you choose to enroll in the Dev channel. It's generally expected that those in the program would be prepared to perform a clean install if they need to.

With that being said, if you're interested in getting a free USB drive, it may be worth it to keep an eye on your inbox in case you're offered one. In the meantime, we've reached out to Microsoft for official confirmation and clarification on who is eligible for this offer.

Source: Microsoft Community