Microsoft has quietly released a new variation of Windows 11. It is called "Windows 11 Validation OS", and is a console environment that allows IT Pros and system administrators to diagnose, mitigate, and fix various issues. So, it is something like a recovery environment.
It supports running Win32 apps, so it is not limited to built-in tools. The OS is freely available for download in form of an ISO file after you accept its license agreement on this website.
Here's how Microsoft describes is.
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.
The official documentation includes several tutorials and manuals on how to use the OS, how to create a bootable media with it, and more. Here are a few links to check:
- Mount and customize a Validation OS image
- Setup a bootable Validation OS installation
- Validation OS feature packages reference
- Launching an app or command when Validation OS starts
- Debugging Apps in Validation OS
Since it is a very specific edition of Windows 11, Microsoft didn't announce it on any of its blogs or news platforms. Perhaps they notified vendors directly.
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