Windows 10’s successor, Windows 11, is on its way. It’s slated to arrive Oct. 5 of this year, and will provide a host of changes to the operating system that most users will want to experience. That means millions of people will want to upgrade their PCs from Windows 10 Operating System to Windows 11 Home or Windows 11 Pro Operating Systems. Be sure to pre-order if you want the physical version.
Every major operating system update has its hardware requirements. Some of them are simple, and some are more complex. In this article, we’re going to cover both—and provide some suggestions for hardware requirements that might be more difficult to meet with older machines.
Windows 11 minimum requirements
Microsoft has made some changes to Windows 11 that should make it perform better on existing PCs that support it. Those changes are rather technical, but basically Microsoft has tuned Windows 11 to give more CPU, memory, and other system resources to the apps that are running in the foreground. In addition, the instant-on experience has been improved by keeping the RAM powered even when the PC is sleeping. Finally, the app disk footprint has been reduced across the operating system and the browser cache.
Nevertheless, Microsoft has increased the Windows 11 minimum requirements over Windows 10. The changes are noted in the table below.
|Windows 10||Windows 11|
|Processor||1GHz or faster CPU or System on a Chip (SoC)||1GHz or faster CPU with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or SoC|
|Memory||1GB RAM for 32-bit OS or 2GB RAM for 64-bit OS||4GB RAM|
|Storage||16GB for 32-bit OS or 32GB for 64-bit OS||64GB|
|Graphics card||DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver||DirectX 12 compatible graphics card or later with a WDDM 2.x driver|
|Display||Minimum 800 x 600 resolution||Greater than 9 inches with HD (720p) or greater resolution, 8 bits per color channel|
|Webcam||Optional||Required HD (720p)|
While the requirements have increased, they’re still well under what most relatively modern PCs provide. Some requirements can be resolved if you’re running an older PC, such as upgrading your display, graphics card, RAM, or storage, or adding a webcam. Processors are a little trickier, and we’ll cover those in the next section.
We’ve got all the PC Components you need
Windows 11 CPU restrictions
In addition to these general minimum requirements, Microsoft has restricted the CPUs that will run Windows 11. You’ll need to have an 8th-gen Intel Core processor or later (or selected Atom, Celeron, and Xeon CPUs), an AMD Ryzen 2000 series or above (or some Athlon and EPYC CPUs), or a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 SoC or later. Microsoft has published a list of Intel CPUs that Windows 11 supports, as well as a list of supported AMD processors.
So, what can you do if you don’t have a supported CPU? If you’re using a laptop, then there’s absolutely nothing you can do. You’re stuck on Windows 10.
If you have a desktop PC, then you can check the motherboard to see if it has a socket that supports a supported CPU. If it does, then you can purchase the newest supported processor and make the swap. That will not only give you Windows 11 support – as long as the next requirement is met, which is particularly tricky – but you’ll have a faster PC as well.
If you’re building a new PC, then simply choose the latest CPU and motherboards and you’ll be fine. Of course, you’ll want to make sure all the other requirements are met, but again, it’s likely that the components you select will be well above these minimum requirements. Our advice is the same as always: buy the most PC you can afford to ensure that it will last you as long as possible. Do that, and the Windows 11 question will take care of itself.
What is TPM 2.0?
Windows 11 requires support for the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 or later standard, which is perhaps the most controversial Windows 11 requirement and will disqualify a number of PCs that would otherwise support the new OS. Microsoft has insisted on this requirement given the new hybrid world where PCs are used at both home and work and the increase in the number and types of malware attacks.
Some PCs have a TPM 2.0 or later chip installed, which means it will support Windows 11. This is particularly true with laptops, where newer models tend to have TPM on board.
Things are more complicated with desktop PCs. Intel started building TPM 2.0 support into its processors with the Skylake release (the Core 6000 series), the Pentium 4000 series, and the Celeron 3000 series. Of course, you’ll still need a newer CPU than these to run Windows 11. AMD has supported TPM 2.0 since its Ryzen 2500 series.
TPM 2.0 support typically needs to be turned on in the BIOS. You’ll find Intel’s version listed as PTT (Platform Trust Technology) or IPT (Identity Protection Technology). AMD’s version is fTPM (Firmware TPM). Switch these on in your BIOS and that should enable TPM 2.0 support in Windows. You may also need to turn on other settings, such as Secure Boot. Refer to your motherboard manufacturer for the BIOS settings required to enable TPM 2.0, if supported.
If your processor or motherboard don’t support TPM 2.0 or later, then you might still have an option. It may be possible to add a physical module that provides TPM 2.0 support, but only if your motherboard provides an SPI TPM 2.0 header. Again, check with your motherboard manufacturer to see if this is a possibility.
If your PC doesn’t support TPM 2.0 and it can’t be added, then you won’t be able to run Windows 11. Microsoft has made this a firm requirement and isn’t going to back down.
How to check if your PC supports TPM 2.0
One way to check if your PC supports TPM 2.0 is to use the Windows button + R combination to open the Run command, type in tpm.msc, and you’ll get a report on your PC’s TPM status. If it lists TPM 2.0 or later then you’re all set. If not, then you’ll need to check your BIOS to ensure that it’s turned on, if available.
While the minimum requirements for Windows 11 aren’t a significant hurdle, the CPU restrictions and TPM 2.0 requirements limit which PCs will be able to run the new OS. This is different from past upgrades, which were far less restrictive. Many more users will be unable to upgrade, which will likely result in quite a few sales of new, supported PCs.
Find all your PC necessities and more at Newegg