Microsoft has seriously raised the system requirements for installing Windows 11. In addition to the mandatory TPM 2.0, the requirements for the processor of the device cause particular bewilderment. For Windows 11 will require at least the 8th generation of the Intel processor or AMD Ryzen 2000. At the same time, Microsoft does not explain in detail its decision.
So what about 7th generation processors and older processors?
Microsoft originally reported in its compatibility documentation that some older processors, including Intel 7th Gen processors, would be partially supported in Windows 11. Specifically, the company said that devices with these processors would be allowed to upgrade, but when upgraded, users would receive the corresponding warning, and the update will not be recommended to them.
The company soon deleted this information, but then changed its mind again and posted a blog post explaining the minimum system requirements for Windows 11.
On June 28, 2021, Microsoft announced that it will check whether 7th Gen Intel and AMD Zen 1 processors will be able to work with Windows 11 as part of its Insider Program. The Windows team writes:
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.
Thus, it is currently unknown whether Microsoft will allow the upgrade to Windows for devices with these processors. The final decision has not yet been made.
There is one more uncertain moment. In the initial version of this blog post, the Microsoft Windows team confidently stated that older processors are not supported:
Devices running on 6th Gen Intel processors and pre-Zen AMD processors do not meet [accepted guidelines for security and stability].
Microsoft quickly removed this line from its blog post without any further comment, so it’s unclear if Microsoft will continue to block 6th Gen and earlier processors.
Why is Microsoft imposing such stringent requirements for Windows 11?
The biggest question is why does Windows 11 place such high demands on the device’s processor. With the widespread ability to upgrade Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 computers to Windows 10, this is a rather frustrating fact.
Mostly, Microsoft talks about security. As with the TPM 2.0 chip, a modern CPU provides access to the latest security features. These are virtualization-based security technologies and hypervisor-based code integrity protection that will be used by default in all Windows 11 PCs. TPM 2.0 enables all Windows 11 PCs to support device encryption for storing files in encrypted form. Secure Boot will also be used to protect the boot process from malware.
Microsoft cites three basic principles to justify high processor requirements. The first principle is safety. The second principle is reliability. The company writes that “processors using the new Windows driver model guarantee 99.8% uptime.
Finally, the third principle is application compatibility. These are basic requirements that are irrelevant to the CPU generation, namely clock speeds above 1 gigahertz, 2 cores, 4 gigabytes of RAM and 64 gigabytes of storage.