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Users to get a free upgrade to Windows 11 but with a drawback
Microsoft pledged to give a free upgrade to Windows 11 for its users, but there is a catch: the new OS won't officially support many CPUs

Users to get a free upgrade to Windows 11 but with a drawback

Users to get a free upgrade to Windows 11 but with a drawback

Microsoft Windows 11 will be available as a free update for Windows 10 customers later this year, but many people find that their hardware isn’t compatible. Microsoft has changed its minimum system requirements, and the adjustments to the CPU are the most startling. Only 8th Gen and subsequent Intel Core CPUs and Apollo Lake and newer Pentium and Celeron processors will be officially supported by Windows 11.

That may rule out millions of existing Windows 10 devices from receiving full support in Windows 11, including Microsoft’s own Surface Studio 2, which is still available for $3,499 right now.

When installing Windows 11, older devices that aren’t officially supported will receive a warning that the update isn’t suggested, but the OS will still install.

Windows 11 will also officially support AMD Ryzen 2000 and newer CPUs and EPYC chips from the 2nd generation or newer. The entire list of supported CPUs can be seen on Microsoft’s website, but here’s a quick rundown:

List of Intel CPU supporting Windows 11

List of Intel CPU supporting Windows 11

List of Intel CPU supporting Windows 11

  • Intel 8th Gen (Coffee Lake)
  • Intel 9th Gen (Coffee Lake Refresh)
  • Intel 10th Gen (Comet Lake)
  • Intel 10th Gen (Ice Lake)
  • Intel 11th Gen (Rocket Lake)
  • Intel 11th Gen (Tiger Lake)
  • Intel Xeon Skylake-SP
  • Intel Xeon Cascade Lake-SP
  • Intel Xeon Cooper Lake-SP
  • Intel Xeon Ice Lake-SP

List of AMD CPU supporting Windows 11

List of AMD CPU supporting Windows 11

List of AMD CPU supporting Windows 11

  • AMD Ryzen 2000
  • AMD Ryzen 3000
  • AMD Ryzen 4000
  • AMD Ryzen 5000
  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2000
  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3000
  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3000
  • AMD EPYC 2nd Gen
  • AMD EPYC 3rd Gen

According to Microsoft, the Windows 11 installer’s CPU generation requirements are a “soft floor” restriction. Some older CPUs might install Windows 11 with a warning now, but it’s unclear how long these devices will be maintained. We’ve contacted Microsoft to clarify its CPU requirements and support, and we’ll keep you updated.

Many Windows 10 customers have downloaded Microsoft’s PC Health App (available here) to verify if Windows 11 is compatible with their computers, only to discover that it fails the test. Because Microsoft now requires a TPM (Trusted Platform Module), there has been some extra misunderstanding regarding hardware compatibility.

Users to get a free upgrade to Windows 11 but with a drawback

Microsoft Windows 11

A TPM capable of at least 1.2 support and UEFI Secure Boot will be required for Windows 11. These technologies are intended to increase Windows security by preventing malware and ransomware from interfering with encryption keys and other secure operating system components.

While TPM support has been necessary for OEM hardware certification since Windows 10, Microsoft hasn’t made it a requirement for Windows to activate it completely.

That’s changing with Windows 11, so if your laptop or PC didn’t come with these BIOS settings enabled, you’d have to hunt around for a setting to activate.

According to David Weston, Microsoft’s head of enterprise and OS security, “almost every CPU in the previous 5-7 years has a TPM.” As a result, Weston advises Windows 10 customers who fail Microsoft’s Windows 11 upgrade checks to make sure BIOS settings for “PTT” on Intel systems and “PSP fTPM” on AMD systems are enabled.

Because each BIOS has its own set of options, you may need to consult your laptop’s handbook if you can’t find the choice.

If you’ve enabled TPM support but still can’t pass the Windows 11 upgrade checker, it’s because your CPU isn’t on the list of fully supported processors. This is because Intel has verified Microsoft’s Windows 11 CPU requirements.

“A broad range of Intel-based platforms are expected to support Windows 11: 8th Gen and newer Intel Core processors, as well as Intel Pentium processors and Intel Celeron processors from the ‘Apollo Lake’ generation and newer,” says an Intel spokesperson in a statement to The Verge.

This is the first major change in Windows hardware requirements since Windows 8 in 2012, and the CPU modifications have caught many people off guard.

From January 2023 onwards, Microsoft will require a front-facing camera on all Windows 11 devices, excluding desktop PCs. It’s another change that will influence the hardware on which Windows 11 will operate in the future.

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