Windows 11 24H2 won't boot if the PC does not support this CPU feature

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 23, 2024
Windows 11 News

Microsoft is changing the system requirements of the upcoming Windows 11 24H2 feature update. When Microsoft released Windows 11, it changed the minimum system requirements significantly. This locked out millions of Windows 10 devices from the upgrade to Windows 11.

Now it appears, that Microsoft is modifying the system requirements of Windows 11 again. This is the first time that Microsoft is changing the system requirements of an already released operating system.

Here is what happened: Back in February 2024, testers of Windows 11 started to notice that the operating system would not install anymore on certain devices. The issue was identified quickly as a new restriction regarding a device's processor.

If the processor did not support so-called POPCNT instructions, Windows 11 test build installations would fail. Upgrades from earlier versions of Windows 11 would fail as well.

In other words: the new system requirements introduced in Windows 11 24H2 would prevent some customers from upgrading their devices to the new version.

It became clear soon thereafter that the main new requirement is  SSE4.2.  The processor needs to support SSE4.2 to upgrade a device to Windows 11 version 24H2 or install the operating system on such a device.

Processors released in the last decade support the instruction. Processors that do not support it are not officially supported by Windows 11. Still, it was possible, until now, to bypass the requirements and install Windows 11 on these devices.

Windows 11 won't boot if the processor does not support SSE 4.2

Twitter user BobPony discovered that Windows 11 build 26080 is now preventing the booting of the operating system, if the processor does not support SSE4.2.

Windows 11 will reboot the device automatically on unsupported devices according to the Twitter user's tests.

He writes: "UPDATE: Since Windows 11 Build 26080, a CPU with the SSE4.2 instruction is ALSO REQUIRED TO BOOT Windows 11 Version 24H2!!

Attempting to boot Build 26080+ on systems without the SSE4.2 instruction present will trigger an automatic reboot once it reaches the boot screen phase."

Microsoft has added SSE4.2 as a blocker to the compatibility list. This means that upgrades to Windows 11 24H2 won't be offered on systems that do not support SSE4.2

Customers are stuck

Customers who upgraded their Windows devices to Windows 11 are stuck on Windows 11 version 23H2, if the system's CPU does not support SSE4.2.

Windows 11 version 23H2 reaches end of support in October 2025. This is also the month that Windows 10 will reach its end of support. One option that affected users have is to downgrade their devices to Windows 10. Microsoft plans to allow customers to extend support by up to three years, for a price. This moves the end of support to October 2028.

Another option would be to make the switch to Linux between now and end of support in October 2025.

What about you? Which operating system do you use at the moment?

Windows 11 24H2 won't run on your system if it does not support this CPU feature
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Windows 11 24H2 won't run on your system if it does not support this CPU feature
The upcoming Windows 11 version 24H2 feature update won't boot, if the system's processor does not support SSE4.2. Here is what this means.
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  1. EP said on May 6, 2024 at 6:04 pm

    “First-generation Windows on ARM PCs will not be able to run Windows 11 24H2” – Neowin:

  2. Ken Saunders said on April 29, 2024 at 10:05 pm

    In addition to this W10 PC that I’m using now, I have 2 new PC’s. One of them is brand new and never used, the other (W10), I purchased before I learned that it would not be compatible with W11.
    At the time, my reaction was f me.
    The newest one is a great PC with W11.

    Now that I’m older and have used Windows since 95, I seriously regret not fully adopting a Linux build long ago.
    I used Fedora for a while, but I was just too comfortable with the software that I had that was Win only and Wine didn’t cut it.
    Long story longer, I’ll be wiping out W10 on the one, and then install Linux Mint. I figured that it’s a dead simple Linux build that’ll suit my needs.
    I’ll hang on to W11 on the brand new one, but hopefully, not forever.
    I’m just so cooked, burned out, and sick of MS’s sh*t.

    BTW, it’s so great to see another early Interneter still rolling.
    I visit frequently, and never stopped, I just don’t comment as often as I once did.

    1. Marine Recon said on May 2, 2024 at 7:30 pm

      Ken, I hear you, man.
      I’m afraid Microsoft/Bill Gates, et al, is putting on the big squeeze.
      But IF we all haven’t turned into quivering lemmings, then they are going to find themselves in a very bad situation.

      “The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

  3. J1 said on April 26, 2024 at 3:18 pm

    Which processors support SSE 4.2? How can I find a list of processors that support SSE 4.2?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on April 26, 2024 at 3:27 pm

      You may want to use a tool like CPU-Z to find out about a specific processor:

  4. guest said on April 25, 2024 at 11:03 pm

    if you have this SSE4.2 it will not boot all so

  5. EP said on April 25, 2024 at 6:05 pm

    saw this on this Tom’s Hardware article yesterday:

    “Bob Pony re-affirms that SSE4.2 specifically is required, this means that any older CPUs such as AMD’s Barcelona chips that only go up to SSE4a won’t work (through Windows 11 modding).”

  6. Dan Murray said on April 24, 2024 at 6:56 am

    This would be, oh, reason #375 to use Windows LTSC. 5 years of support. No stupid bloatware/feature upgrades. Just security and stability fixes.

  7. John G. said on April 24, 2024 at 6:52 am

    Imho to avoid the “non boot problem” you should not install such that useless version at all. It’s easy, isn’t it?

    Thanks for the article! :]

  8. Funshingon Hashiri said on April 24, 2024 at 1:38 am

    Rumor has it that next year Micro$hit has planned to exclude processors not including the SUYAM-4.4 instruction set. That means if your PC is more than 2 years old you’ll be out of luck installing the crappiest Windows defecated by microsoft so far. We are in the process of switching to Zorin – so far it works great.

  9. John said on April 24, 2024 at 1:07 am

    So, to be clear, this is only applicable to people who installed Windows 11 despite not meeting the original system requirements and past Microsoft’s warning message? Or is it something that applies to computers that were originally sold with Windows 11 on them?

    My feeling is that if it’s the former, people opting to manually force an install of an operating system who know and probably receive a last minute warning during install that the OS is not supported, kind of leave themselves open to this stuff (a future update not working with their hardware). I can see why they’d be feeling bad right now, but that was always the big risk of installing Windows 11 on hardware that it doesn’t officially support. It’s rotten luck for people that it happened this fast, and I’m not without sympathy, but I never would have upgraded with a PC that they warned me Windows 11 didn’t support.

    If, on the other hand, OEM Windows 11 was actually sold with new computers that this is a sudden end to upgrade path for, then it’s a pretty lousy thing to do. People who buy a computer with OEM Windows [Number or name here] reasonably expect that that they will receive updates until a published end of support date for Windows 11, which Microsoft usually announces in writing way ahead of time (To it’s credit), and also that they will be able to operate the device they purchased with it installed for a number of years if nothing physically breaks. Microsoft shouldn’t be allowed to just strand them- it’s bad for the consumers, and it runs the risk of creating yet another group of unpatched computers being infested with botnets.)

    My guess is that it’s the former scenario where people knew that they were installing the OS at their own risk on hardware that Windows 11 never supported, though. And, if so, that makes this not really Microsoft’s fault.

  10. Lizard said on April 24, 2024 at 12:14 am

    Screw MS. My laptop runs Fedora 40 KDE…don’t miss Windows at all.

  11. Anonymous said on April 23, 2024 at 11:34 pm

    Microsoft has turned into a scam company since Satya Nadella. They treat their userbase like crap.

  12. Bobo said on April 23, 2024 at 9:16 pm

    Quite weird manouver from Microsoft, considering they want the whole planet to create a Microsoft account. Nothing is stopping them from letting people install Windows 11 on any potato out there.. I’m amazed they didn’t go that route instead: sure, install Windows 11, but it won’t boot unless you log in with a Microsoft account.

  13. Anonymous said on April 23, 2024 at 6:55 pm

    Akina, that is not much of a point. Processors and computers that old are already blocked.See TPM versions etc. Some are even equipped with “weakened” rng generators in their old TPM, so you would not want to rely on them anyway. These days a specialized exploit would be able to leak the bitlocker encryption keys from that on so old computers without updated os with protections turned on.

    Something else is afoot, same as with that odd ‘popcnt’ business.
    ‘cpuid’ and extensions of that have been a thing since the first pentium, so why this particular extension set and popcnt are being used as markers is strange. When you have ‘family’ and ‘stepping’ fields to go on, instead of specific instruction set flags.

    That aside, anything older than 9th gen Core i3/5/7 suffers from horrible penalty due to meltdown mitigations, with 9th being the first intel to not suffer meltdown and had less penalty for spectre mitigations.
    Even then, you do really not want the range of generations that have the ‘SGX’ extensions (sky lake and friends, gen 6-7-8-9-10) as that is now widely considered a huge unpatchable risk.
    So for your own sake, you’ll want 11th gen or better. (or before 6th gen, if you are doing retro stuff).
    MS knows this, but setting the bar at 11th gen is going to lock out too many sheep and thus cause masses of trouble for them by making e.g. going Linux (or looking to China) a serious alternative in less rich countries. And since they want to force the migration to 11, the bar is not raised that much. Yet. It will come in 12. They don’t want the SGX hassle any more than we do, if for no other reason than they are not in absolute control of it.

    SGX is basically so defeated that Intel removed it in 11th gen, there were attacks to hide malware out of reach of antivirus and the “protection” it offered to some DRM and crypto was basically ripped several new bungholes. Better to remove than continuing. (and before someone found a way to turn it into a full ‘intel ME’ takeover).
    One can just hope that AV scanners will be updated to detect any SGX code and flag it as suspect, like any other outdated exploit.

    for extra reading:

  14. John C. said on April 23, 2024 at 5:48 pm

    I think somebody slipped some LSD into the Microsoft water cooler. I also just read on another website that “Windows 11 24H2 also blocks various third-party apps so that users can no longer customize the taskbar and Start menu, for example. This is the case with the well-known ExplorerPatcher tool and StartAllBack. It seems as if Microsoft wants to block various programs.” If M$ blocks Open Shell from working, then I’m finally going to be forced to move on to Linux. Ever since Satya Nadella became the CEO of M$, things have been steadily going downhill for the end user from both functionality and privacy viewpoints.

  15. Bob's your aunt said on April 23, 2024 at 4:39 pm

    My old laptop from 2007 is affected, so it got Zorin OS 17.1 now and is very happy with it. It’s not like that laptop was in daily use or anything anyway, it has been fun seeing it run all Windows versions since Vista like a champ though. Back in the day it cost a crapload of money, a business laptop, been worth every penny. It runs Windows 11 without a hitch too. Like someone here already mentioned, there may very well be someone who comes up with a workaround for this blocker, so let’s follow up and see what happens, if the Windows experiments will continue further down the line..

  16. Tony said on April 23, 2024 at 4:12 pm

    With the announcement of the telemetry-included installer wrapper yesterday, I went ahead and purchased a micro (candy-bar sized) PC that runs Windows for the 1 specific app I need to use on Windows, but my main computer will be converted to Linux-only. I plan to slowly build my familiarity with Linux commands and how-to’s, so that I will become as familiar with Linux as I am with Windows. I hope to also build my knowledge of Wine, so I can use it to run the 1 specific app and not have to deal with Windows at home.

    If anyone has some Linux advanced learning courses they recommend, I’d appreciate the references.

  17. Paul said on April 23, 2024 at 4:08 pm

    What about you? Which operating system do you use at the moment?

    I’ve been using Linux Mint Cinnamon daily on an old refurbish ThinkPad T550 for the past couple of years, never ever had a problem with it. Updates upgrades all went smoothly. The oldest I have ThinkPad W500 4Gig ram duo core T9600 2.801 GHz, runs Debian Xfce like it was made for it.

    A few months ago, just for fun, I installed Win 11 on a dell latitude the Rufus way, it supports SSE4.2.

  18. Tachy said on April 23, 2024 at 3:14 pm

    We’re using Win 11 23H2 and are fully prepared for 24H2.

    It’s not like this is a suprise. Everyone knew this was coming.

  19. pHROZEN gHOST said on April 23, 2024 at 3:10 pm

    Just another way to force people to buy newer hardware.

  20. John said on April 23, 2024 at 1:59 pm

    Most won’t face this issue because it only really affects those who installed Windows 11 on unapproved devices anyway. So now Microsoft is basically removing that end around and locking those devices out. Just proves if its not officially supported, you better not try and shoe horn the installation.

  21. Anonymous said on April 23, 2024 at 12:51 pm

    Was the SSE4.2 requirement already for Win11-23H2?

    1. EP said on May 1, 2024 at 8:05 pm

      Anonymous wrote:

      “Was the SSE4.2 requirement already for Win11-23H2?”

      answer: no it wasn’t. 23H2 uses the same codebase as 22H2

  22. karlo said on April 23, 2024 at 12:51 pm

    A month ago, I updated to Windows 10 IoT Entreprise LTSC 2021 on a 15-year-old computer which doesn’t support SSE 4.2. It’s supported till 2032 so no big deal.

  23. samurai cat said on April 23, 2024 at 12:24 pm

    SSE 4.2 requirement by Microsoft can be bypassed if someone figures out how to embed SSE 4.2 instruction set Emulator into Windows 11 24H2 ISO and Installed OS which will load every time at the very start of Windows booting process, bypassing the POPCNT requirement.

  24. d3x said on April 23, 2024 at 12:08 pm

    Honestly, this isn’t a problem for majority of users. Oldest supported CPU’s are Core 8-gen & Ryzen 3-gen that both support SSE4.2. This is only a problem for those on older unsupported hardware that used bypass methods.

    1. Akina said on April 23, 2024 at 12:40 pm

      Even 1st gen Core i series and AMD FX series supports SSE4.2. Majority of users that used bypass methods not going to be affected.

  25. salih kayalar said on April 23, 2024 at 11:59 am

    This feature is available in my processor. I checked with the CPU-Z program.

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