Windows 11 is just around the corner, and Microsoft is not playing games when it comes to hardware requirements. It has limited which CPUs and security features you need before upgrading to Windows 11, and the PC Health Check app has been the primary way to know whether your system is supported. The app was light on details when Microsoft announced the new OS, but it’s been updated with more info and ways you might be able to make it compatible, reports Ars Technica.
Microsoft’s narrower hardware support for Windows 11 is a departure for the company. In the past, if a PC was physically powerful enough to run the new software, it would get the update. Although, free upgrades are still a new thing for Microsoft. That gives it the option to be a bit more picky about hardware, even going so far as to block powerful CPUs that are just a little too old. One of the top items checked by the PC Health app is your CPU — if it’s a first-gen Ryzen or 7th gen Intel Core (or older), it most likely will not work with Windows 11.
The CPU isn’t a fixable issue unless you can physically replace the chip with a compatible one. However, the updated Health Check app doe make some useful suggestions for other items. For example, the infamous requirement that systems have a TPM 2.0 module. Now, the app will give you a link to Microsoft’s site where you can learn more about TPM 2.0 and ways you might be able to add or enable support to your system.
You’ll get similar links for other items on the compatibility list, but I’d wager TPM is one of the most common roadblocks. Even many systems that have TPM integration have the feature turned off by default. This is particularly common for custom-built PCs. Updating the BIOS might fix this as many manufacturers are changing their defaults to support Windows 11 out of the box.
As the app reminds us, even if you don’t have Windows 11-compatible hardware, you can keep using Windows 10 safely. Microsoft will continue issuing updates to Windows 10 through 2025. Updates for Windows 10 have been something of a nightmare. Multiple updates have been pulled or delayed due to bugs, and Microsoft seems hellbent on making everyone install them. Windows 11 will start rolling out on Oct. 5 on supported devices, but the update will come in waves. Even if the PC Check app says you’re all set, it might be months before the new OS reached you. Or you could buy a new PC, which Microsoft encourages a bit too readily if yours doesn’t pass muster.
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