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Windows 11 requirements: Microsoft says there’s no getting around them

Windows 11 system requirements
(Image credit: AMD/Intel | Remix by Nick Bush)

You won’t be able to outsmart the Windows 11 system requirements when trying to upgrade from Windows 10, Microsoft staff have claimed.

Officially, Windows 11 will only work with specific CPUs, though some hopeful PC users have floated the possibility of modifying their Windows 10 Group Policy to make the eventual Windows 11 update available on unsupported machines. In a Microsoft Q&A video, however, it was made clear that you won’t be able to cheat the requirements like this.

Microsoft program manager Aria Carley said “We know it sucks that some aren’t going to be eligible for Windows 11, but the great thing to remember is the reason we’re doing that is to keep to devices more productive, have a better experience and, most importantly, have better security than ever before.”

“Group Policy will not enable you to get around the hardware enforcement for Windows 11. We’re still going to block you from upgrading your device to an unsupported state since we really want to make sure that your devices stay supported and secure," Carley said.

Microsoft will actively check that your hardware is compatible before you can install Windows 11, so unless some enterprising computer whizzes find an alternate way around them, that seems to be that. And even if it does become possible to cheat-install Windows 11, you’d be entering a very questionable area both for software support and probably Microsoft’s own terms of use.

At least anyone who is eligible to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, which will be free in 2022, can choose when exactly to initiate the switchover — despite Windows Update’s reputation for forced-through installations, you will be able to move to Windows 11 at your leisure.

Again, though, you’ll need to meet those hardware requirements. One of the biggest is that you need a processor with a TPM, or trusted platform module; if you’re not sure, see our guide on how to check if your PC has a TPM.

James Archer

James joined Tom’s Guide in 2020, bringing years of experience in consumer tech and product testing. As Audio Editor, James covers headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also covers the occasional spot of computing and gaming news, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.

  • McYodel
    Y'know the excuse given my MS mentioning productivity is absolutely ridiculous. "Productivity" is, and has been forever, a marketing ploy. Yes, there is a difference in productivity with respect to what was being done in, say, 1995, but it really means little now. Productivity is wholly dependent on the user - nothing more, nothing less. Windows 11 is not going to make anyone smarter; is not going to get you to work on time; is not going to make you think faster; is not going to make you hit the deadline; is not going to make you learn all the keyboard shortcuts, is not going to make you sleep better, or have better sex, etc., etc., etc. It's utter marketing BS that is trotted out anytime they want to spin a negative into a positive, or they need another bullet point to try and convince users that the new OS, program, whatever actually is better. The real message is, "Yes, our requirements suck and they'll force you to upgrade; spending money you don't really need to spend, but hey, we're not in business to be your best friend." Until MS's OS can do my laundry, make me exercise, keep my kids off drugs, make my mother-in-law not nag me, change a flat tire and make my boss happy, don't talk to me about productivity - it's BS.
    Reply
  • justinc87
    Funny that they say this, yet I have it on 2 surface tablets that said they weren't supported, and an older laptop. Direct download from the Dev channel. Unless they are monitoring what devices have it after the fact, it doesn't seem like there's no getting around it. Funny thing is I bought the tablets for the sole reason that I wanted W11 on them, yet they are not supported. Microsoft's own devices. Like you gotta be kidding me lol.
    Reply
  • kep55
    The requirement are, in my opinion, unnecessary and are just a marketing ploy by microsoft to help its sycophants sell more kit. They did it when win10 came out and when win7 came out.
    Reply
  • Duke8413
    Kinda like the lie Gates & Co told when they said Windoze'95 wouldn't run without Internet Exploder.
    Reply
  • norCal3
    More than just TPM. I've got a Dell XPS LT that supports TPM 2.0 but evidently the CPU isn't "fresh" enough to meet their security standards and there's no way to run in some "degraded" mode. M$ would be dumped like last week's fish if it wasn't for Adobe's hatred of Linux. Yes I'm aware of OSS replacements, but the Adobe suite is the industry standard and I tried to swim against that stream for years. No mas.
    Reply
  • MaxSt
    Maybe Microsoft is considering earlier CPU generations...I just got pushed WIndows 11 Beta on my 6th gen i7, and so far it's stable and seems even 'snappier' than Win10. But I guess this is what Beta programs are about :-)

    Reply