Microsoft today announced a major policy turn that it will not prevent people from installing Windows 11 on most old computers.
Although in the past Microsoft insisted that it must meet the hardware requirements to install Windows 11, this will only be faced when you try to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 through Windows Update. This means that any computer with an old CPU, if it does not pass the upgrade test in Windows Update, can still continue to download the ISO file of Windows 11 and manually install the operating system.
Microsoft announced the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 11 in June and made it clear that only Intel 8th generation and above CPUs are officially supported. This has caused dissatisfaction among many existing consumers, and they have to inquire what TPM is.
Major policy turning: restrictions are only for business users
However, Microsoft now tells us that this installation method is mainly designed for companies to evaluate Windows 11. People can download ISO upgrades by themselves, but because the company cannot guarantee driver compatibility and overall system reliability. Microsoft does not recommend or promote this method of installing Windows 11 to consumers.
This is a big change and means that millions of PCs will not be left behind, technically speaking. Consumers still need to work hard to download the ISO file and manually install Windows 11, which has a considerable threshold for foreign users who are not so fond of DIY, and most people may not do this.
But for those who are willing to install Windows manually, the previous so-called minimum Windows 11 specification limits are not important, as long as you have a 64-bit 1GHz processor, two or more cores, and 4GB of memory. And a 64GB hard drive is enough.
However, Microsoft did not say whether users who install Windows 11 from ISO are also included in the scope of free upgrades.
The minimum system requirements will be adjusted so that more processors can also be upgraded
In addition to announcing this workaround for installing Windows 11, Microsoft is also adjusting its minimum system requirements to allow more processors to be upgraded. Intel’s Core X and Xeon W series will be officially supported for Windows 11 upgrades, as well as the Core 7820HQ chip used in Surface Studio 2.
Microsoft has been testing these processors with Intel, but 7820HQ is only supported on devices with declarative, integrated, hardware support applications (DCH). You may have heard of DCH in GPU drivers. It is a cleaner and safer driver design that Microsoft has been encouraging OEMs and hardware manufacturers to adopt in recent years. Applications such as GPU consoles are separated from driver installation through DCH, allowing OEMs to provide services for them separately without having to release new driver updates.
However, Microsoft’s official list will not add any Zen 1 processors. “After working with AMD to carefully analyze the first generation of AMD Zen processors, we came to the conclusion that nothing will be added to the list of supported CPUs,” Microsoft’s Windows team said in an article today.
Although the old hardware can be installed, but at your own risk
Although the ISO method can still be used to install Windows 11 on these old AMD systems, Microsoft said that devices that do not meet the minimum hardware requirements “have increased the number of crashes by 52%.” And devices that meet the official minimum specifications “have a 99.8% crash-free experience,” Microsoft said.
Microsoft is now planning to update its PC health check application to include the new Intel CPU and provide greater clarity on why your PC may not be officially upgraded. The new PC checker will let Windows users know more about whether they need to simply enable Secure Boot or TPM 2.0 to upgrade, which is much better than the half-dead version in June.
Microsoft also detailed how it arrived at these minimum system requirements for Windows 11. Microsoft hopes to promote the development of Windows to modern DCH drive and security by supporting trusted module (TPM) and virtualization-based security (VBS).
No matter when, because the introduction of a new system requires you to upgrade to new hardware, it will definitely cause a wave of backlash. But Microsoft now has a workaround that can indeed alleviate the negative criticism that Microsoft has to face about improving the security, compatibility, and reliability of Windows 11.