Windows 11 insiders can get a free USB flash drive from Microsoft

After revising the Insider Program for Windows 11, Microsoft made it harder for Dev channel users to stay in the channel. The company has added one more channel, Canary, and automatically transferred there existing Dev channel insiders. To go back to the Dev channel, the user has to reinstall Windows 11 to lower down the build number branch. The company now offers users a free USB stick that one can use to build a bootable media.


The new Canary channel now exists in addition to the previous Dev, Beta and Release Preview update channels. The idea of the new channel is to provide access to early implementation of various features. The builds in this channel include raw portions of untested code, experimental features that may never reach even the Dev channel, and so on. They may include critical bugs that lead to data loss and affect your workflow in a bad way.

Playing with bleeding edge features can be interesting, but some may be unhappy to receive builds that didn't pass even a small portion of tests.

However, Dev channel users were forced to switch to Canary without the ability to return to Dev. If the user still wants to return to Dev, Beta or RP, then he needs to completely reinstall Windows 11 on his device.

Looks like sending free USBs is more simple solution for Microsoft rather than inventing some new channel transition mechanism for Insiders. So users now have an option to request a free USB stick to make a bootable media and reinstall the OS in order to join a different channel than Canary.

The user will receive a clean USB stick without any data. They have to create the bootable media manually, say by downloading an ISO image, or using the great third-party service "UUP Dump".

Microsoft notes that the USB stick shipping may take 6-8 weeks.The number of flash drives is limited. Also, the offer is not available worldwide. They won't ship to the following countries: Afghanistan, Cuba, Russia, Timor-Leste, Belarus, Laos, Samoa, Turkmenistan, Bhutan, Libya, Solomon Islands, Yemen, Brunei, Mongolia, South Sudan, Chad, Papua New Guinea and Syria.

If the offer is actual for your place, you can request a stick by filling the online form on this website. Also, check out the email box you are using for the Microsoft Account: You will find a letter from Microsoft with detailed instructions. Find the following part:

To perform a clean installation of Windows, we recommend using a blank USB flash drive with at least 8GB of storage. If you don’t have one, request a USB by using this code: [YOU REDEMPTION CODE]. Limited supply, items are available on a first-come,
first-served basis.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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