December 8, 2023

Microsoft said in June that Windows 11 would require a processor released in late 2017 at the earliest, a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 security chip, 4GB of memory, and 64GB of storage. Some of those specs are innocuous practically every modern system exceeds the memory and storage minimums but the CPU and TPM 2.0 requirements are more restrictive.

Microsoft said it would evaluate the feasibility of bringing Windows 11 to older CPUs. That evaluation is over, and aside from a small number of additions to the compatible processor list, it’s decided to maintain the minimum system requirements as originally set.

From Windows Insider machines, those that did not meet the minimum system requirements had 52% more kernel mode crashes (blue screens) than those that did meet the requirements. Machines that met the requirements provided a 99.8% crash-free experience that is effectively managed by OEMs and IHVs through modern driver update management.

Also testing with Windows Insider Program members revealed that on “unsupported hardware, app hangs are 17% more likely and for first-party apps we see 43% more crashes” than on supported hardware. Continuing to require a processor released no earlier than late 2017 (Intel) or 2018 (AMD) should allow it to offer a more reliable experience.

Multiple reports indicate that Microsoft won’t stop PC users from using Windows 11 on systems with unsupported hardware by downloading an ISO file, setting up an installation device via the Media Creation Tool, and manually installing the update. Windows 11 will simply inform those users their device is in some kind of unsupported state.

Does that mean people won’t be able to seek Microsoft’s support if something goes wrong? That it won’t release security updates for versions of the operating system installed that way? It’s not still clear.

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