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Windows 11 on Unsupported CPU: Possibilities Explored

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Microsoft recently held its Windows 11 event to some great reception. The company announced the new OS along with a slew of upcoming features that have everyone excited. In addition to this, Microsoft also released some confusing guidelines regarding the Windows 11 system requirements which have been already making many users nervous. At first, it seemed that no older CPUs or systems will be able to upgrade to Windows 11, but have things changed now? Let’s find out!


Windows 11 Minimum System Requirements



Windows 11 has the following system requirements to run properly on any modern system. These requirements are soft guidelines at best and are intended for the Windows 11 installer. However, the OS should be able to install on systems that barely meet the requirements with a simple warning. 



  • CPU: 1GHz or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64 bit SOC

  • RAM: 4 GB

  • Storage: 64GB or higher

  • Graphics card: Compatible with DX12 or higher and WDDM 2.0 driver

  • Others: 720p display with at least 8 bits color channel, Secure boot, UEFI, TPM


In addition to this, if you wish to install the Microsoft Windows 11 home edition on your system then you will need an active internet connection to complete the first-time setup. You will also need a Microsoft account to be able to set up the Windows during the OOBE. 


Windows 11 Secure Boot & TPM requirements


Windows 11 also has some new requirements in terms of hardware. The new OS will now require TPM and Secure Boot enabled systems or else it will not complete the install process. Secure boot is a protocol that helps your OEM verify all the hardware, drivers, and other utilities installed on your system. TPM or Trusted Platform Module is a small microcontroller on your motherboard that stores encrypted passwords and Windows Hello data.


While TPM has been a part of modern systems for quite some time now, and Windows 10 has been using it for the past 4 years, but this use hasn’t been exclusive. Windows 11 is going to make the TPM requirement exclusive which means older systems without a TPM will be incompatible with the upcoming release.


Additionally, there were reports that TPM 1.2 was enough to get Windows 11 working but as time passed, more and more people encountered issues and many came to the conclusion that TPM 2.0 would be needed. There is, however, no clarification regarding this from Microsoft’s end so we will have to wait and watch. 


Which CPUs are supported by Windows 11?


The following data should help clarify which generations from each manufacturer are supported by Windows 11 in terms of CPUs. 


Intel



Intel processors that are 8th gen or higher will support Windows 11. Older generation processors will be incompatible with the upcoming release. In addition to this, Intel Celeron and Atom processors that are Appollo Lake or higher will also be supported by Windows 11. Intel Xeon and server processors will also be getting the upgrade, you can check out the entire list of supported CPUs below to check for your make and model.


AMD



AMD CPUs running on the ZEN+ architecture will support Windows 11. This means that Ryzen 2000 series, 3000 series, 4000 series, and 5000 series, Threadripper 2000, 3000, and 3000 Pro series, as well as Epyc 2nd and 3rd gen CPUs, will all support Windows 11. You can also verify the same by using the entire list of supported AMD CPUs linked below. If your CPU’s model number shows up in this list, then Windows 11 is supported by your CPU. 


Your CPU isn’t supported; What you can you do?



There is not much you can do in terms of an incompatible CPU. As the restriction is placed on the installer, you won’t be able to even run the setup for Windows 11 on your system. However, you can try modifying a Windows 10 ISO with the Windows 11 ‘install.wim’ to get the OS installed on your system. This will essentially use the Windows 10 installer, configuration, and requirements, but install the new Windows 11 on your system. You can use this comprehensive guide by us to easily modify a Windows 10 ISO. 


However, if the modified ISO does not work for you, then your only option would be to upgrade your system with a new CPU. This will be feasible and most cost-effective for desktop users. However, if you’re a laptop user, then you will have to purchase a new laptop altogether. Microsoft has partnered with various manufacturers to introduce thin and light Windows 11 machines. You can opt for one of these units or find one on your that meets the system requirements for Windows 11.

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