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AX201 workaround

Minor Versionm

by Nirav Patel

Introduction

Before installing Windows 11 Home or Pro on your Framework Laptop DIY Edition, make sure you've installed memory, storage, and WiFi. Here is a link to the Framework Laptop DIY Edition Quick Start Guide where we go over all the steps to get started.

Don't forget to install the Driver Bundle (11th Gen Intel Core or 12th Gen Intel Core) after you complete Windows 11 installation. Because the hardware in the Framework Laptop is so new, a fresh Windows install doesn't have the needed drivers for full hardware support.

Tools

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    • If you purchased Windows from Framework, log into your Framework account and navigate to Digital Purchases to redeem your Product Key.

    • Windows 10 Product Keys can be used to install Windows 11, and Windows 11 Product Keys can be used to install Windows 10!

    • Once you redeem your Product Key for Windows, you will not be able to return it for a refund. You can always choose to redeem your key and activate Windows after you complete installion, as the installer lets you skip the Product Key entry step.

    • Don't forget to install the Driver Bundle (11th Gen Intel Core or 12th Gen Intel Core) after you complete Windows 11 installation. Because the hardware in the Framework Laptop is so new, a fresh Windows install doesn't have the needed drivers for full hardware support.

  1. Download  and launch Microsoft's Windows 11 Media Creation Tool. If you navigate to this page from a Linux or Mac system, it'll direct you to download a Windows .iso instead of the Media Creation Tool.  We recommend finding a Windows machine instead to create the installer to avoid any issues. Accept the license agreement.  If launching from Windows 10, select "Create installation media for another PC," and click Next. Select the language and architecture, select "USB flash drive", then select the drive you'd like to use and wait for the installation media to be created.
    • Download and launch Microsoft's Windows 11 Media Creation Tool.

    • If you navigate to this page from a Linux or Mac system, it'll direct you to download a Windows .iso instead of the Media Creation Tool. We recommend finding a Windows machine instead to create the installer to avoid any issues.

    • Accept the license agreement. If launching from Windows 10, select "Create installation media for another PC," and click Next. Select the language and architecture, select "USB flash drive", then select the drive you'd like to use and wait for the installation media to be created.

    • Once creation completes, eject and remove your USB Flash Drive.

    • If you're using an AX201 WiFi module with a 12th Gen Intel Core Mainboard, the current Windows 11 installer doesn't contain the necessary drivers. Since Windows 11 now requires network access during installation, you'll need to either use Ethernet or follow the workaround in this article to manually load the driver. Note that this isn't needed for AX210 WiFi modules.

  2. Power off your Framework Laptop if it is on.
    • Power off your Framework Laptop if it is on.

    • Plug your bootable USB Flash Drive into your Framework Laptop.

    • Power on your Framework Laptop. If the Storage device installed in your laptop is blank, it will boot directly into the Windows Installer.

    • If you have an existing operating system installed on the laptop, you'll need to tap F12 repeatedly while booting in order to choose your USB Flash Drive to boot from.

    • This will take you to the Boot Manager menu shown in the screenshot. Use your arrow keys to select the "EFI USB Device", and then press Enter.

  3. Select the appropriate locale options from the drop down menus on the first screen, click Next, and then click "Install Now" on the next screen. The Windows installer uses a fallback driver for the touchpad, so the touchpad behavior may be somewhat janky.  After you complete installation and install the Framework Laptop Driver Bundle, the touchpad will behave normally. The cursor may not appear until after swiping on the touchpad for a few seconds.  If the cursor still doesn't appear, hard power down the laptop by holding the power button until the system shuts off.  Wait 15 seconds, and power on again.  You can also use the Tab and Enter keys on the keyboard or an external USB mouse to complete the installation.
    • Select the appropriate locale options from the drop down menus on the first screen, click Next, and then click "Install Now" on the next screen.

    • The Windows installer uses a fallback driver for the touchpad, so the touchpad behavior may be somewhat janky. After you complete installation and install the Framework Laptop Driver Bundle, the touchpad will behave normally.

    • The cursor may not appear until after swiping on the touchpad for a few seconds. If the cursor still doesn't appear, hard power down the laptop by holding the power button until the system shuts off. Wait 15 seconds, and power on again. You can also use the Tab and Enter keys on the keyboard or an external USB mouse to complete the installation.

    • You can enter the Product Key now or click on "I don't have a product key" to enter it after installation is complete.

    • If you are entering a Product Key later, choose the version of Windows you'd like to install. This will usually be "Windows 11 Home" or "Windows 11 Pro".

    • You can then accept the license terms. On the next page, select the Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) option, and Windows will now begin the installation process. Your laptop should restart when complete.

    • If your USB Flash Drive is large, the installer may prompt you to choose which drive to install Windows 10 on. Select the internal drive (typically Drive 0), not the one labelled "ESD-USB".

    • If you are overwriting an existing OS, you'll likely need to select and Delete the partitions on the drive to make space for your Windows install.

    • The installer will reboot and take you through the Windows setup process. Follow the on-screen prompts to select your region and keyboard layout.

    • Until you complete installation and install the Driver Bundle, the Touchpad will be operating in a compatibility mode where functions like two finger scrolling won't work. You can click and drag scrollbars or use the keyboard arrow keys to navigate lists during setup.

    • Select and connect to your network, and then let Windows download updates.

    • Note that if no networks are visible, it is possible you're using an older Windows 11 installer that is missing the necessary WiFi driver. You can download the latest installer to resolve this.

    • Note that Windows 11 now requires you to connect to a network and log into a Microsoft Account during installation. There are some workarounds for this floating around online, but it's unclear how long they will continue to work.

    • After the system reboots, set your system name. After it reboots again, if you connected to a network earlier, log in to your Microsoft account (or create one). If you skipped network connection, create your local account.

    • Create a pin if prompted. If you logged into a Microsoft account that has a previous OneDrive backup, you'll be presented an option to restore from it. Otherwise, you can set up as a new device.

    • Select your preferred privacy settings, then select customization options or skip the step. Set up OneDrive or select "Only save files to this PC." Select or skip a few annoying upsell screens Microsoft puts in front of you. Setup will then complete and reboot into Windows.

    • You'll now need to install the Framework Laptop Driver Bundle to get your laptop fully functional.

    • First, download the Driver Bundle (11th Gen Intel Core or 12th Gen Intel Core). If you haven't connected to a network yet, you'll need to download this on another system and then copy it over using a USB Flash Drive.

    • Navigate to the folder where the Framework Laptop Driver Bundle is, and double-click on it. Click Yes on the "Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?" prompt that comes up.

    • The Framework Laptop Driver Bundle will automatically install all of the drivers required to use the Framework Laptop. It will take several minutes to install. At the end of the install, you will be prompted to press any key to reboot. Press any key.

    • After the laptop reboots, you're done! You can connect to a network if you didn't do that earlier and also Activate Windows if you didn't enter a Product Key during installation.

    • Make sure to run Windows Update after you're connected to a network to get the latest security updates. In the future, you'll also be able to get driver and firmware updates through Windows Update.

    • Make sure to update your laptop firmware to the latest available to ensure optimal performance and stability. We also recommend updating your SSD firmware, as we have seen issues on some versions of SN850. Instructions for Western Digital SSD firmware updates are available here.

Conclusion

6 other people completed this guide.

Nirav Patel

Member since: 03/24/2021

21 Guides authored

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Framework Member of Framework

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3 Comments

Intel i7-1185G7

* The Windows 11 installation restarted unexpectedly (crashed) while I was entering my user credentials. However, I was able to continue the installation after the reboot without any problems.

* After using the Media Creation Tool, I copied the Driver Bundle directly on the prepared Windows installation USB Flash Drive. This way I could immediately install the drivers, after installing Windows.

* I've been using Windows 11 extensively on the laptop for the past days. It seems rock solid so far.

David Matscheko - Reply

At the step: "Where do you want to install Windows?", there are no drives in the list to choose from.

This tutorial says: “Select the internal drive (typically Drive 0), not the one labelled "ESD-USB".”

But I don’t see any of that.

It says: "We couldn't find any drives. To get a storage driver, click Load Driver."

I TRIED:

downloading an Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST) driver through Asus.com

But it did not work. The Framework doesn't recognize it when I browse for a driver.

Is there any IRST that is better compatible with the Framework? I couldn't find any on your website.

Or else, is there any solution besides IRST to find and load a driver and setup windows?

Looking forward to start using my new laptop :)

Anis - Reply

1. Make sure you have physically installed your storage drive correctly. For example, make sure it is fully inserted and that it is an NVMe SSD and not SATA.

2. Make sure you use Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool for Windows 11 to create the USB drive, and not another tool like Ventoy or Rufus.

Nirav Patel -

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