Microsoft Updates CPU Requirements For Windows 11…. But You Still May Not Be Able To Run It

When Windows 11 was announced, the system requirements were so hefty that most PCs out there couldn’t run it. Including some of Microsoft’s own Surface hardware. I guess the heat got to Microsoft despite trying to clarify things. Because on Friday they announced a change to Windows 11 minimum operating requirements, though the loosened restrictions are not likely to make it likely that your PC will be able to run it.

So what’s the change?

Windows 11 requires a 1GHz or faster 64-bit CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. Machines must also support UEFI secure boot, version 2.0 of the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) and include a graphics card compatible with DirectX 12. But they added the Intel Core X and Xeon W CPUs, as well as the Surface Studio 2’s Core i7-7820HQ, to the list of Windows 11-compatible processors. The addition is a nod to users who, despite owning fairly modern hardware (Core X and Xeon W are 7th-generation Intel designs), were seemingly left out in the cold when the operating system was announced.

But there’s a catch. Here’s what Microsoft said to The Verge:

Microsoft is announcing today that it won’t block people from installing Windows 11 on most older PCs. While the software maker has recommended hardware requirements for Windows 11 — which it’s largely sticking to — a restriction to install the OS will only be enforced when you try to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 through Windows Update. This means anyone with a PC with an older CPU that doesn’t officially pass the upgrade test can still go ahead and download an ISO file of Windows 11 and install the OS manually.

That sounds good right. Well, here’s the next thing that Microsoft said:

Microsoft now tells us that this install workaround is designed primarily for businesses to evaluate Windows 11, and that people can upgrade at their own risk as the company can’t guarantee driver compatibility and overall system reliability. Microsoft won’t be recommending or advertising this method of installing Windows 11 to consumers. In fact, after we published this post, Microsoft reached out to tell us about one potentially gigantic catch it didn’t mention during our briefing: systems that are upgraded this way may not be entitled to get Windows Updates, even security ones.

I’m sorry. That’s complete BS. And it reinforces what I said when this gong show started:

Microsoft may want to rethink this because this is the sort of thing that will drive people to go to the Apple store and have a look at those new M1 based Macs as they absolutely destroy anything that Intel makes, and Apple has a strong history of supporting computers that are as old as six or seven years in age. Which means the chances of getting screwed by Apple at some point are way less than they are with Microsoft. That’s good for Apple, and bad for Microsoft.

While they have started to rethink this, they haven’t gone far enough. And it will come back to bite them when Windows 11 ships. If not before.

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