Windows 11 version 24H2 may block devices without SSE 4.2 support

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 26, 2024
Windows 11 News

Recent Windows 11 development builds include new hardware compatibility rules that block the operating system on unsupported devices. Unlike current compatibility requirements, these new requirements cannot be bypassed.

Microsoft released a new build of Windows 11 about two weeks ago that blocked installation of Windows 11 version 24H2 on older processors. Processors affected by this were those without support for POPCNT instructions.

Windows 11 would not install nor upgrade on affected devices. Now it turns out that Microsoft has added another rule to the system requirements of its upcoming version of Windows 11 that cannot be bypassed.

Windows 11 won't install or upgrade to version 24H2 if the processor does not support SSE 4.2. This affects processors that are a decade old or older only.

While these were excluded by the official system requirements of Windows 11 from the moment the operating system launched, users could use bypasses to install Windows 11 on these devices nevertheless.

The release of Windows 11 version 24H2 may change that. Tests conducted with the latest versions and some aging PC systems confirm the following:

  • Installation of Windows 11 version 23H2, the current stable version, works without issues. It is necessary to bypass hardware restrictions to install Windows 11 though. Windows 11 runs fine then.
  • Installation of Windows 11 version 24H2 fails on systems without SSE 4.2 support.
  • Upgrades from Windows 11 version 23H2 to Windows 11 version 24H2 also fail, if the processor does not support SSE 4.2.

Our colleagues over at Deskmodder have confirmed the behavior as well in tests.

Processor SSE4.2 support

You may run GPU-Z to find out if the processor supports SSE 4.2 (which includes POPCNT). Check out our previous story on details on this.

What happens to affected devices?

It looks as if the new hardware requirements will take effect with the release of Windows 11 version 24H2. While it is too early to say if Microsoft will go ahead with the introduction of these new rules, it looks that way at this stage of development.

This leaves users with affected devices in a predicament. The last version that their devices support is Windows 11 version 23H2. An upgrade to Windows 11 version 24H2 is blocked, which means that they are stuck on the older version.

Support for Windows 11 version 23H2 runs out in October 2025. Cumulative updates will install fine up to this point, but it is game over afterwards, at least when it comes to Windows.

Users have two main options:

  • Downgrade to Windows 10, subscribe to ESU and use the operating system for at least 3 years until 2028. Microsoft has not announced the price of the yearly subscription yet.
  • Make the switch to Linux and use the device until it breaks.

Closing Words

Affected processors were never officially supported by Windows 11, but official bypasses allowed users to install the operating system on devices with these processors.

Microsoft did post a warning in the early days of Windows 11 stating that it could not guarantee that future versions of Windows 11 would install on incompatible devices. It appears that the day has come.

Now You: do your devices support SSE 4.2?

Windows 11 version 24H2 may block devices without SSE 4.2 support
Article Name
Windows 11 version 24H2 may block devices without SSE 4.2 support
The next Windows 11 version may prevent the installation of the device's processor does not support SSE 4.2. Here is what this means.
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  1. extravirginolive said on February 28, 2024 at 5:43 pm

    “Make the switch to Linux and use the device until it breaks.”


    You can get a modern linux distro that runs on ancient hardware with less than 1GB memory and single core cpu. It won’t be a fun experience but it will work.

    You can get a decent experience with a quad core cpu and at least 8GB memory. You’re good for web browsing / general use for plenty of more years.

  2. extravirginolive said on February 28, 2024 at 5:36 pm

    Yes! Microsoft is opting to cut into it’s own market share.

    I was a long time windows 7 user. I feel dirty using windows 10, all the random connections and processes, and randomly installed software after updates. a far cry from windows 7. Linux on the desktop has come a long way and is very usable. You got AMD/Intel hardware? Just browse the web and play some single player games? it works perfectly.

  3. MichaelFromKY said on February 27, 2024 at 6:23 am

    I’m running win 11 24H2 right now.. seems to be running good. ggggrrrr I hate bloatWare~!

    1. samurai cat said on February 27, 2024 at 9:04 pm

      Remove bloatware with Bulk Crap Uninstaller:

      Disable crap and improve privacy with ShutUp10++:

      Install Simplewall: To stop Microsoft from automatically installing updates and windows apps and stuff from connecting to various servers. Only the apps and stuff you allow can access internet with Simplewall.

      This tames Windows and makes it finally usable enough.

    2. John G. said on February 27, 2024 at 8:56 pm

      Where do you get your version of W11 24H2? :S

  4. Mint said on February 27, 2024 at 5:40 am

    Switch to Linux, you say?

    I will highly recommend that new users to Linux try out Linux Mint Debian Edition:

    I has the ease-of-use of Ubuntu, but Ubuntu is notorious for spying on its users.
    “By installing [Ubuntu], users agree to allow Ubuntu’s parent company Canonical to collect user search data and IP addresses and to disclose this information to third parties including Facebook, Twitter, BBC, and Amazon.”

    Ubuntu itself is based on Debian, while the original version of Linux Mint uses some Ubuntu resources.

    Linux Mint Debian Edition takes Ubuntu out of the equation and uses Debian resources, directly.

    To get started, I would propose that you use VirtualBox and install Linux as a Virtual Machine in it:

    O/S Boxes has Linux Mint Debian Edition VirtualBox Virtual Machines available, to make the process even smoother:

    1. extravirginolive said on February 28, 2024 at 5:15 pm

      I’ve been daily driving Linux for a couple months. There’s a plethora of Linux distros out there. some of my choices are based on uniqueness and ease of use (just works!) for beginners / windows users.

      AntiX (Debian based) for general use on older low-end hardware.
      Linux Mint (Ubuntu based) for general use and gaming (setup required) on older hardware.
      Nobara (Fedora based) setup and ready to gaming latest titles and general use on modern hardware.
      OpenSuse KDE or Fedora KDE. Pretty similar for general use, gaming (setup required) on modern hardware.
      Endeaver (Arch based) for general use / gaming (setup required) on modern hardware (it’s Arch Linux for beginners so you can say ‘i use arch btw’)

      If you want try other distros packages without issues aka dependency hell. install Distrobox.. Also highly recommend using Flatpak, Appimage, Podman, KVM/Qemu and Bottles (Wine on steroids). to ease the transition.

  5. Tachy said on February 26, 2024 at 4:28 pm

    You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink, or can you?

    SSE4.2 is ancient in tech terms.

    The internet is a dangerous place. Put on your damn seatbelt or get off the (information) highway!

    1. bruh said on March 1, 2024 at 4:52 pm

      “The internet is a dangerous place” – only if you’re stupid.

  6. samurai cat said on February 26, 2024 at 4:07 pm

    Someone somewhere may eventually make an SSE 4.2 emulation open source driver on Github that can be embedded in Window 11 24H2 ISO to bypass POPCNT for those few very old CPU’s that don’t have it.

  7. John said on February 26, 2024 at 2:43 pm

    With an ever shrinking Windows user base, I am wondering what Microsoft is thinking orphaning all these working PC’s from using Windows 11.

  8. Herman Cost said on February 26, 2024 at 2:21 pm

    My desktop will run Windows 11 23H2. I guess that means I will have to remain vigilant to prevent Microsoft from forcing it on me.

  9. Bobo said on February 26, 2024 at 11:44 am

    You already wrote an article about this, stating that “requires processors that supports SSE4.2”. Now this one says processors without SSE4.2 are blocked. I can’t see how a different wording of the same thing is worthy of a new article.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 26, 2024 at 12:55 pm

      Back then, it was only the POPCNT instruction, and the easiest way to find out was to check for SSE4.2 support. Now, it is the entire SSE4.2 feature that is required.

      1. VioletMoon said on February 26, 2024 at 3:47 pm

        Honestly, Martin–it’s the same news, a different day, with the same picture.

        “If the CPU does not support POPCNT, Windows 11 version 24H2 will not boot. The instruction requires processors that supports SSE4.2 or SSE4a.”

        Not much different than the students in the sophomore English class I taught. “Teachers never read our papers, so write one and continue turning in the same one each time.”

  10. Banzaye said on February 26, 2024 at 11:12 am

    Let’s flip this. Operating systems that include Microsoft spy/bloatware are not officially supported on any devices. These devices have the option to run a real operating system instead, where the user is in control.

  11. 45 RPM said on February 26, 2024 at 9:28 am

    More good news. The more stuff that disables the spread of this toxic version of Windows the better.

    1. TelV said on February 26, 2024 at 4:35 pm

      Yep. I read somewhere (don’t recall whether it was on Ghacks or somewhere else) anyway, 22H2 which I haven’t upgraded to 23H2 even will only receive security updates from February 2024 onwards.

      That suits me just fine. I never wanted any of the AI junk to begin with and co-Pilot is blocked from installing on my machine courtesy of GRC’s InControl app.

    2. John G. said on February 26, 2024 at 10:10 am

      The best opinion of this article.

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