Windows 11 is set to launch this fall, and the new operating system brings an updated user interface as well as new features for multitasking, support for running Android applications, and a number of security and performance improvements.

But Microsoft is also increasing the minimum system requirements – not all computers that can run Windows 10 will be able to upgrade to Windows 11 through Windows Update. The good news is that after getting feedback from customers, Microsoft has decided to expand the system requirements to include some computers with older hardware. The less good news is that the update won’t change things very much for most users.

Microsoft confirmed in June that Windows 11 would be compatible with most computers with 8th-gen or newer Intel processors or AMD chips featuring Zen 2 or newer CPU cores. But the company also promised it would consider adjusting the minimum system requirements to support some 7th-gen Intel or AMD Zen 1 processors.

Now the company has announced the results of its review:

  • AMD Zen 1 is still ruled out.
  • Some 7th-gen Intel chips are in… but only Xeon X-series and W-Series processor and some computers with Intel Core i7-7820HQ processors (if they shipped with “modern drivers” with DCH principles).

One upshot? The Microsoft Surface Studio 2, which was first released in 2018, will be able to run Windows 11. That’s probably good news for folks who paid $3500 or more to get one. It’s also just common sense, since Microsoft still sells the Surface Studio 2. Limiting it to Windows 10 wouldn’t have been a good look for the company.

While Microsoft is basically ruling out most processors that are more than a few years old, it’s not necessarily because Windows 11 requires a super-fast processor. Most recent entry-level Intel Atom, Celeron, Pentium chips are supported, as are entry-level AMD processors and some Qualcomm Snapdragon chips. And you only need a computer with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage to run Windows 11.

But Microsoft is stepping up its security requirements. You need UEFI Secure Boot and TPM 2.0. And that rules out many older computers.

The company says computers that don’t meet the minimum requirements are more than 50% more likely to have kernel mode crashes. And restricting Windows 11 to newer hardware helps ensure both a certain level of security and compatibility with core applications.

Not sure if your computer will run Windows 11? Microsoft has released an updated preview of its PC Health Check app to members of the Windows Insider program and it will be available to the general public later this year.

The new tool not only updates the list of compatible processors, but also provides clearer messaging to let you know what, if anything, is keeping your system from meeting the minimum requirements.

And if your computer doesn’t qualify for the update, you can just keep using Windows 10… Microsoft says it will continue to support the operating system through October 2025 and plans to make some Windows 11 features (like the new Microsoft Store) available in Windows 10 eventually.

Another option? The Verge reports that Microsoft won’t stop you from downloading a Windows 11 disc image and using it to perform a manual install of Windows 11 even on hardware that’s officially unsupported (including computers with older Intel or AMD chips or systems that lack TPM 2.0). But Microsoft isn’t promising that you’ll get the same level of performance or stability if you do that. And, of course, the install process is a lot more cumbersome than downloading an update through Windows Update.

Or you could always switch to an alternate operating system (maybe a GNU/Linux distribution like Ubuntu, MX, Manjaro, Debian, or Fedora) if you want to jump off the Windows upgrade cycle and don’t plan to replace your computer hardware in the next four years.

via Microsoft

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  1. It’s amazing how nobody seems to be able to say “MS and its partners decided to force consumers and entreprises buy new hardware”, UEFI Secure Boot and TPM 2.0 are widely available on pre-8th gen hardware.

  2. It appears Microsoft is moving away from a strict hardware specification for Windows 11, if you choose to clean-install it. I’m running the current release on a 12-year-old Dell laptop, and it runs just fine. In fact, it seems to run faster than Windows 10. (And I’ve been able to upgrade to the latest Windows 11 updates on this laptop.)

  3. Windows 11 is a good OS for moving people away from Microsoft, so I’m happy. I expect Windows 11 to have the same welcome as windows 8, that only unexperienced and naive people and microsoft fanboys used.

    What a good time to live 🙂

    1. That depends on how annoying it becomes to run Windows 10, both during the overlap and after support ends. People said that about Windows 8, but a lot of people and businesses got around it by sticking to Windows 7 for a decade.

    2. Well commented. Also said they will need laptops to have webcams for installing win 11. There is no need to mention that default installation steps (aka. naive mode) collects and sends nearly all personal information to windooze home. No more windooze.. I switched to linux many years ago. My painn was excel but Python (and open source) kills office as well. Billy made me programmer :- D

  4. Linux is only a click or two away. Our home is now free of all Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon accounts &/or products…we’ve never been happier. Literally giddy with excitement each and every day.

    The use of Linux has brought sanity back to our household and ownership back to our devices.

    I can’t thank the Linux community enough…especially debian and the makers of the pinephone.

    Steven B.

    1. I’ve been happily running Linux for 13 years, ever since the Vista Fiasco. Sure, there was a learning curve weaning off of Windows, but it was totally worth it. Windows 8 was another fiasco with plenty of reasons to keep using Microsoft alternatives. I started using Ubuntu on a home built desktop computer. But then Ubuntu 12 totally hosed the graphical interface with Gnome3. So I swiched to Linux Mint, with a CHOICE of graphical interfaces like MATE, Cinnamon, Xfce or KDE. Unlike other Linux distros, Linux Mint was compatible with most Graphics and Wifi adapters with no driver hassles. In fact, Linux Mint is the only distro that works with the wifi adapter in my current laptop. I tried lots of other Linux distros, but always come back to Linux Mint for hardware compatibility reasons.

      1. I agree with you and Steven B. and I will expound on why.
        With each new release of Windows and OS X, you own less of it. Microsoft and Apple get to decide what is best for you and with little input or guidance from the consumer, but still we fork over our dollars with nary a thought to consequence.

        I am content with my personal laptop running the latest Linux Mint and x86 convertible on Ubuntu 20.04. I work on Windows but live with Linux.