If you often spin up a virtual machine just to run Windows, you might be sad that you have to allocate so much space for it. The Tiny11 project provides a Windows 11 installer that strips and compresses a bare minimum system do under 8GB of space. We aren’t sure what the licensing aspects of it all mean, but there are a few things you need to know. You can see a video about the project below.
The installer requires you to activate Windows, so that’s probably a good thing from a legal standpoint. Besides being compressed, the installer, based on Window 11 Pro 22H2, removes sponsored applications and Teams. It does, however, have the component installer and the Microsoft store, so you can add back things you want that aren’t in the default install.
The total install is under 7GB compared to over 20GB for a full retail install. It also removes some compatibility checks, so it will run on machines with less memory — 2GB, for example — another plus for a virtual machine. The operating system uses a local account by default, but you can log in with your Microsoft account if you wish. Be sure to set up 2 CPUs in the virtual machine or the installer won’t like it. We also couldn’t get the “b2” version installer to realize that the VirtualBox machine was able to handle Tiny11. The “b1” version installed fine with the exact same configuration.
Of course, you might be suspicious that something like this could be harvesting account data, and we can’t say if it is or isn’t. However, we doubt it is a problem, and for a throwaway VM, it might be just the thing. Downloading from archive.org is slow, though, so maybe try the torrent.
If you don’t want to run Windows 11 on a Linux virtual machine, you can go the other way around. There is more than one way to do that.