Windows 11 – It’s coming, is your device supported?

Microsoft have announced Windows 11! The new Operating System from Microsoft brings with it new productivity features. These features that will be beneficial for both Enterprise and Personal users alike.

However, with a new OS come new minimum specifications for the devices that will run it. In a recent Microsoft blog, they explain why the specifications are so high:

Windows 11 is designed and built as a complete set of experiences, unlocking the full power of the PC our customers have come to rely on, including in areas like security, reliability, compatibility, video conferencing, multitasking, playing, creating, building, learning and more. We need a minimum system requirement that enables us to adapt software and hardware to keep pace with people’s expectations, needs and harness the true value and power of the PC to deliver the best experiences, now and in the future. To do that, we were guided by the following principles:

  1. Security. Windows 11 raises the bar for security by requiring hardware that can enable protections like Windows Hello, Device Encryption, virtualization-based security (VBS), hypervisor-protected code integrity (HVCI) and Secure Boot. The combination of these features has been shown to reduce malware by 60% on tested devices. To meet the principle, all Windows 11 supported CPUs have an embedded TPM, support secure boot, and support VBS and specific VBS capabilities.
  2. Reliability. Devices upgraded to Windows 11 will be in a supported and reliable state. By choosing CPUs that have adopted the new Windows Driver model and are supported by our OEM and silicon partners who are achieving a 99.8% crash free experience.
  3. Compatibility. Windows 11 is designed to be compatible with the apps you use. It has the fundamentals of >1GHz, 2-core processors, 4GB memory, and 64GB of storage, aligning with our minimum system requirements for Office and Microsoft Teams.

Using the principles above, we are confident that devices running on Intel 8th generation processors and AMD Zen 2 as well as Qualcomm 7 and 8 Series will meet our principles around security and reliability and minimum system requirements for Windows 11. As we release to Windows Insiders and partner with our OEMs, we will test to identify devices running on Intel 7th generation and AMD Zen 1 that may meet our principles. We’re committed to sharing updates with you on the results of our testing over time, as well as sharing additional technical blogs.

Checking Requirements

So how can you check if your device meets these minimum requirements? Thankfully, Microsoft has provided a tool that will run the check for you. The steps to complete this are simple:

  • Download the Microsoft PC Health Check app, which can be found here.
  • Install and run the app.
  • Click on the “Check Now” button that is shown in the app.
  • Review the results.

Note: At the time of writing the PC Health Check app was available for download. However, now, this seems to be “Coming Soon” on the Windows 11 Upgrade page. I suspect it will be available again soon.

From the devices that I have run this on to check so far I’ve had mixed results. It appears as though the processor is the main culprit preventing some devices from being compatible (such as one of my devices)

Downloading Windows 11

However, Microsoft will allow devices that do not meet the minimum requirements during the beta (confirmed in this blog). Microsoft will use this to gather some testing data. This may lead to a change in the minimum requirements. However, it is possible to install Windows 11 on a device that does not meet the requirements. You just need to be a member of Windows Insider.

You can register for Windows Insider by either navigating Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program on your Windows 10 device. It is also possible to manage this on Enterprise Devices. Using Microsoft Endpoint Manager and Windows Update for Business, you can delegate some devices to use a Windows Insider build. Registering for Windows Insider was straight forward and I was able then download Windows 11 on another of my devices.

I look forward to trying out Windows 11 to see what the improvements are like. I also look to forward to how seamless the deployment of Windows 11 will be for Enterprise and Personal users. But we will see more on this later this year.

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