Microsoft changed the Windows 11 System Requirements and released an updated PC Health Check tool
Microsoft published an update on the Windows 11 minimum system requirements yesterday on the Windows Insider blog.
When the company unveiled Windows 11 and its minimum system requirements, it became clear quickly that many systems that were running the company's Windows 10 operating system would be blocked from upgrading to Windows 11 because of hardware requirements.
Microsoft released the PC Health Check tool at the time, which allowed Windows administrators to check whether a device is compatible with Windows 11.
The two requirements that would prevent many systems from being upgraded to Windows 11 were the processor and secure boot/TPM.
Microsoft pulled the tool shortly after its original release and announced that it would work on it and consider modifying system requirements of the new operating system.
Yesterday's post highlights the changes that Microsoft has decided upon. A new version of the PC Health Tool has been released to reflect these.
A small set of 7th generation Intel processors has been added to the compatibility list of Windows 11.
- Intel® Core™ X-series, Xeon® W-series
- Intel® Core™ 7820HQ (only select devices that shipped with modern drivers based on Declarative, Componentized, Hardware Support Apps (DCH) design principles, including Surface Studio 2)
The addition is the only change. All other requirements, 4 GB of memory, 64 GB of storage, UEFI secure boot, graphics requirements and TPM 2.0 are still requirements.
A large part of the post on the Windows blog provides reasoning for Microsoft's decision. It is a long read, but here is a summary of the points that Microsoft makes (some based on Telemetry):
- 52% more Kernel mode crashes for incompatible devices.
- 99.8% crash free experience for devices that met the system requirements.
- 17% more hangs on unsupported hardware.
- 43% more application crashes on incompatible hardware.
- Improved baseline of Windows security.
- 67% fewer compromises of organizations that disable legacy authentication.
- Better compatibility with "most commonly used apps".
Windows Insiders can download the updated PC Health Check application already. Microsoft plans to make it available to the general public in the coming weeks.
Windows customers who hoped that Microsoft would add all 7th generation CPUs to the list of compatible processors will be disappointed by Microsoft's announcement. The list of processors added in the update is small, and while it means that some of Microsoft's own Surface devices are now compatible with Windows 11, it still blocks a lot of devices from being upgraded to Windows 11 using Windows Update (including my trusted Surface Go device).
System requirements did not really change all that much from Windows release to Windows release. Windows 7, for example, required a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage space and a DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 at the minimum. Windows 10, released 6 years after Windows 7, has the same minimum requirements.
Windows 11 changes that, and the decision will block a lot of systems from upgrading to Windows 11. All that talk about ensuring compatibility ignores devices that are not compatible with Windows 11, because of Microsoft's requirements. Windows used to be a system that you could install on very old devices, and it worked; this changes with Windows 11.
Windows 10 will be supported until 2025 by Microsoft, but the operating system seems to be in the extended support phase already as Microsoft focuses most development resources on Windows 11.
Sources indicate that administrators may use ISO images to upgrade devices that don't meet the processor requirements to Windows 11.
Microsoft is in a precarious position. The new minimum requirements of Windows 11 reduce the number of crashes and issues that customers will experience, but it will also block a large part of the community from upgrading. Will these purchase new devices, as Microsoft hopes, to get Windows 11 on these devices? What is going to happen in 2025 when support for Windows 10 runs out? These devices won't be able to run a supported version of Windows, and that leaves a Linux distribution as the logical choice.
Now You: why is Microsoft cutting a line in the sand when it comes to compatibility?Advertisement