Will unsupported Windows 11 devices be bricked by Microsoft?
When Microsoft announced its Windows 11 operating system, it made it very clear that the operating system was designed for devices that meet the operating system's system requirements. The company pulled the released Windows 11 compatibility checker, because it only returned "compatible" or "not compatible" when run, but did not provide explanations.
With the release just a week away, users worldwide are left with uncertainty when it comes to installing Windows 11 on unsupported devices.
Recently, Microsoft added a new prompt to the setup of Windows 11 that acts as a waiver if the device does not meet the minimum system requirements of Microsoft's Windows 11 operating system.
One sentence sticks out in particular:
If you proceed with installing Windows 11, your PC will no longer be supported and won't be entitled to receive updates.
Does it mean that unsupported Windows 11 devices won't receive updates, even security updates? Or is Microsoft playing it safe and merely stating that it can't be held responsible if updates won't install on unsupported devices?
It would be a first for the company if devices that run one of its supported operating systems would be blocked from receiving any updates or at the very least security updates.
The devices would be stuck on the initial install version of Windows 11. Without updates, security issues and other issues would not be patched, and the devices would be vulnerable to attacks and exploits.
Administrators would have little options but to restore an older version of Windows, install an older version of Windows from scratch, or switch to Linux.
Microsoft has never been a company with clear communication. The wording of the "What needs your attention" waiver, which it displays during setup, is another prime example of that.
It seems likely that unsupported Windows 11 devices will receive updates, but that administrators are on their own if issues are encountered during installation of the updates or afterwards. Unsupported means that Microsoft won't help customers if the PC does not meet the minimum system requirements.
Updates could also refer to feature updates, which will be released once per year. Feature updates could include system compatibility checks, and devices not meeting the minimum system requirements could be prevented from installing those; this would end the ride one year after the official release of Windows 11. Admins may be able to install that new Windows 11 version from scratch but it could mean losing access to installed applications or system changes.
Microsoft could provide a simpler explanation, both in regards to updates on devices that don't meet the system requirements and on installation of Windows 11 on unsupported devices, but there is little hope that a company official will go on record about either of these matters.
Windows users who plan to upgrade to Windows 11 on unsupported hardware may want to wait at least a month before they consider starting the upgrade. By that time, the first cumulative update will have been released, and information about the update behavior on unsupported Windows 11 devices will have come to light. It is even possible that the first Windows 11 update will be released on October 12, the Patch Tuesday of the month.
To answer the title's question: Windows 11 devices, that don't meet the minimum system requirements, could indeed be bricked by Microsoft, if the company decides to block these from receiving updates. We will know more in two weeks time, when the first updates for Windows 11 will be released.
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