Users who are eager to try out the preview build of Windows 11 outside of Microsoft’s Insider programme have discovered something crucial, yet expected: installers offered from unofficial sources will plague your PC with malware. According to Kaspersky, some people have resorted to alternative approaches in order to obtain the next generation operating system – likely to bypass the minimum hardware and TPM 2.0 requirements set by Microsoft.
The cybersecurity and anti-virus provider noted that users have downloaded a malicious file called “86307_windows 11 build 21996.1 x64 + activator.exe”, which disguises itself as a Windows 11 installer. The “activator” part in its file name often denotes the inclusion of a hacking tool that “legitimises” a pirated software as a genuine install. It is said that the file comes in at 1.75GB, which is suspiciously small for an OS installer – especially if you’re IT or tech savvy. But for regular users, this file size might seem nothing out of the ordinary.
Kaspersky says that running the bogus installer will start out like a normal installation process. However, during this time, the installer will prompt you to launch a so-called “download manager” which will supposedly download the rest of the required files for installation. Upon accepting a fake user agreement that appears during this prompt, the software will then proceed to download a bunch of malware onto your PC and also ruining your day. And just in case it wasn’t clear the first time, the file does not install Windows 11 on your system at all.
Well, the lesson learned from this error is a tale as old as time: don’t accept candies from strangers. In other words, don’t resort to piracy or easily confide in dodgy sources in order to easily obtain a much desired software, or even items. For this case, it is best to enroll your PC in the Windows Insider Program if you wish to try out Windows 11. But if your PC isn’t supported, you still have plenty of time to upgrade before Microsoft ends its support for Windows 10 in late 2025.
(Source / Images: Kaspersky)