When Microsoft introduced Windows 11 this week, the company promised that it would be a free upgrade for Windows 10 users with PCs that meet the minimum system requirements, but there was some confusion over what exactly those bare minimum requirements were.
Now the company has clarified… sort of. Microsoft has confirmed that the initial plan is to support most PCs with 8th-gen or newer Intel processors, AMD processors with Zen 2 or newer CPU cores, or Qualcomm 7 and 8 series processors. But the company hasn’t ruled out supporting some slightly older chips.
8/27/2021 Update: Microsoft says Windows 11 will support some 7th-gen Intel chips, but will not support AMD Zen 1 processors. The original article continues below.
Microsoft says that, among other things, the idea was to require Windows 11 computers to have security features including a support for device encryption, Windows Hello biometric security, virtualization-based security (VBS), hypervisor-protected code integrity (HVCI) and secure boot. Requiring a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) helps meet those requirements, but also largely limits Windows 11 to running on newer PCs.
But it also means that even some current-generation hardware including Microsoft’s own $3500+ Surface Studio 2 all-in-one PC wouldn’t qualify for a Windows 11 upgrade if the company chooses to strictly enforce the minimum system requirements.
So you can see why some folks were left scratching their heads by the requirements.
It also didn’t help that the PC Health Check app Microsoft released was telling a lot of people that their computers couldn’t run Windows 11, but didn’t necessarily tell them why. Microsoft acknowledges that app didn’t offer “the level of detail or accuracy” users expected, and the company has temporarily removed the application and will release an improved version sometime before Windows 11 becomes generally available this fall.
The good news for folks with a Surface Studio 2 or some other slightly older PCs is that Microsoft is also now promising to work with PC makers and members of the Windows Insider Preview program to test Windows 11 on some computers with 7th-gen Intel Core and AMD Zen 1 processors to see if they can deliver the experiences Microsoft is shooting for.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that every device with one of those chips will eventually be supported. Heck, it doesn’t even mean that any device will. It just means that Microsoft hasn’t ruled out supporting chips that are about a year older than those it had initially announced.
Windows 11 Minimum System Requirements|
1 GHz dual-core64-bit only
1GHz single-core32-bit or 64-bit
1GB (32-bit)2GB (64-bit)
16GB (32-bit)20GB (64-bit)
DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver|
DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver|
720p display larger than 9″ with 8-bits per color channel|
800 x 600|
UEFI, Secure Boot capable|