Microsoft has just released the first stable, public beta for Windows 11, but not everyone will be able to install it. Although Windows 11 appears to be more of a visual overhaul than a dramatic reinvention of the operating system, Microsoft has made some key changes that make it unique to newer hardware. Even some of the company’s Surface devices won’t be able to run Windows 11, so here’s how to find out if your PC will.
What are the minimum specifications?
These are the official minimum specifications for Windows 11:
- Processor: 1 GHz or faster with 2 or more cores in a 64-bit processor supported or system on a chip (SoC)
- RAM: 4 GB
- Storage: 64 GB or more
- Firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot Capability
- Security: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
- Graphic card: DirectX 12 or later compatible with WDDM 2.0 driver
- Display: 720p, at least 9 ″ diagonal
- An Internet connection is required to install Windows 11 Home Edition.
There are some others requirements for specific characteristics, but these are the basics necessary for everything to work.
At first glance, that doesn’t seem like a bad thing. 1 GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage? Even computers from 10 years ago could do that. But there are other factors.
Even if your old desktop PC is more powerful than today’s typical laptop, you may be out of luck. For some older computers, the TPM 2.0 requirement is something that Microsoft has stated is absolutely necessary. But compatibility is a combination of multiple factors, and even some TPM 2.0 computers can’t run Windows 11, including Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2, which was released in 2018.
Microsft has said that only Intel 8th gen processors and above will be supported (the aforementioned Surface Studio used a 7th gen processor), and not all AMD processors will be allowed either.
My PC can run Windows 11 beta, so I’m good to go, right?
No, not necessarily. Microsoft is allowing Windows Insiders to run Windows 11 previews on hardware that is not officially supported. However, these people will not be able to install the final version of the operating system when it becomes available later this year.
What’s up with this TPM 2.0?
TPM is a security module that can be a physical chip or a cryptographic key embedded in your processor. Basically it keeps your drive encrypted before boot to keep it safe from cyber criminals. Your PC checks the key before booting up, and if something is wrong, it will keep your content locked.
Microsoft is trying to make Windows more secure in the future, but to do so it needs to leave older hardware behind.
How do I know if I have TPM 2.0?
There are many ways to check if your PC supports TPM 2.0. The easiest way might be to search for it in Device Manager.
Press the Windows button on your keyboard or click the Start menu button and type ‘Device Manager’. Click on that. You should see a list of your PC components.
Look for an item that says “Security Devices.” Expand that and you should see Trusted Platform Module 2.0. If you see TPM 1.2 instead, or nothing at all, you won’t be able to run Windows 11.
How can I check if my processor is compatible?
But keep in mind that this list might not be definitive – some people on different processors seem to be able to run the operating system, and things can still change between now and launch.
Isn’t there just one app I can use to check?
Microsoft initially released a ‘PC Health Check’ application to let users know if Windows 11 is compatible with their PC. But at the time of publishing this article, the company temporarily removed the tool while making some changes to provide users with more information about its rejection.
Still, you may want to see if the tool is ready to download when you read this; you will find it by going to Microsoft’s Windows 11 page and scroll down to the “check compatibility” section.
If you want to take a third-party approach, you can download the WhyNotWin11 tool by developer rcmaehl on GitHub. It will scan your system and let you know if it can run Windows 11 based on current known requirements. Just keep in mind that there is a possibility that it could be wrong as it is an unofficial tool and all.
Hopefully, you already know if you can run the latest and greatest operating system from Microsoft. Good luck!
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