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Windows 11 not an option for many Windows 10 users
A few of those new system requirements will make the upgrade impossible - how and, most importantly, why?
Microsoft has announced Windows 11 a few hours ago and people are still collecting bits and pieces of information about the new operating system from around the Web - one thing becomes perfectly clear, though, after going through a number of reports surfacing on technical outlets rather than mainstream ones: the successor of Windows 10 will not be available to everyone after all. Despite the fact that Microsoft will be offering an upgrade free of charge, a considerable portion of the Windows 10 user base may not be able to make use of it.
It all has to do with the system requirements of Windows 11. These really are quite modest for today's PC standards, yes, but they set a few prerequisites that practically prevent PCs that are, say, 6 or 7 years old to run Windows 11 (even if they now run Windows 10 with no problems). Quick reminder: these requirements call for a 64-bit 1 GHz or faster dual-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, a DirectX 12 compatible graphics card, a UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot capability and a Trusted Platform Module (v1.2 or better).
At first glance, the biggest problems seem to be the last two requirements, the Secure Boot function and the Trusted Platform Module. Both have not become commonplace until 6 or 7 years ago, which means that any kind of PC manufactured before e.g. 2013 might not be eligible for the Windows 11 upgrade. It bears mentioning that a lot of PCs do offer these security elements, but they have to be activated through their BIOS settings - so for people who have run Microsoft's PC Health Check app and got a warning of incompatibility, a visit to the BIOS menus of their computer might be worth their while.
Even if Secure Boot and TPM are present and activated on a PC, it might still not be eligible for that Windows 11 upgrade if its processor is not included in Microsoft's compatibility list. This list is kind of difficult to summarize in a few words - the Redmond giant has different pages for Intel processors, AMD processors and Qualcomm processors because there are, well, so many different ones - but, in a nutshell, it's like this. AMD processors have to be second-gen Ryzens or better, Intel processors have to be eighth-gen CoreiXs or better and Qualcomm processors have to be seventh-gen Snapdragons or better. There are a few exceptions here and there (such as some Celerons or Athlons) but if a CPU is more than five years old, it's quite possibly not supported by Windows 11.
It's an approach that's quite different from the one Microsoft followed with Windows 10. Not only were that OS's system requirements lower, but they were low enough to clear for PCs manufactured way, way before the Windows 7 launch in 2009. Truth is that computers built before 2010 never offered an optimal Windows 10 user experience, yes. But if consumers owning those systems were willing to put up with less than stellar performance, they would still have access to the most modern and secure Windows version available. Now PC users with much better hardware at their disposal than that of the 2007-2010 period will not have access to Windows 11, despite the fact that it's clearly based on Windows 10.
Whether Microsoft's decision about these new system requirements was the right one or not depends on one's perspective. On one hand, Secure Boot, TPM and several advanced technologies found in recent processors do guarantee that Windows 11 will be the most secure operating system the Redmond giant has ever offered to the mainstream market. So, if security was indeed a top priority in Microsoft's agenda with Windows 11, its choice is clearly defendable. On the other hand, it's hard not to feel that the core differences between Windows 10 and Windows 11 are not great enough to justify leaving hundreds of millions of consumers' PCs behind. Windows 11 could have probably offered to those people most of the new stuff it brings to the table while remaining more secure and more capable for people with modern hardware. But hey. It's not like a new version of Windows historically drives new PC sales, right?
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