Windows 11 system requirements may be lowered soon, Microsoft details reasons for high specs

Written by Chad Norton on Tue, Jun 29, 2021 11:04 AM

After revealing their next generation of Windows last week, Microsoft also released a PC Health Check app that was supposed to see if your PC was compatible for a free Windows 11 upgrade. Turns out that most people were left in the dark, and to top it all off the minimum requirements were pretty high for a new Windows OS.

But for any that were holding out hope that Microsoft simply didn’t test lower CPUs, they have since released a blog post detailing why those requirements were so high, but are also teasing possibly lowering the requirements by a small amount. In addition, the PC Health Check app has been removed over confusion:

The intention of today’s post is to acknowledge and clarify the confusion caused by our PC Health Check tool, share more details as to why we updated the system requirements for Windows 11 and set the path for how we will learn and adjust,” Microsoft said in a recent blog post.

The PC Health Check app was intended to help people check if their current Windows 10 PC could upgrade to Windows 11. Based on the feedback so far, we acknowledge that it was not fully prepared to share the level of detail or accuracy you expected from us on why a Windows 10 PC doesn’t meet upgrade requirements.

As such, Microsoft has temporarily removed the app in order to work on the feedback given, and will bring it back online sometime this Fall when Windows 11 officially releases.

But that’s not all, as Microsoft also added that those running Intel Core 6th gen CPUs or AMD pre-Zen processors are definitely not going to be able to install Win 11 on their systems. There’s still a possibility that Microsoft is simply not advising it here, but they have revealed the “principles” as to why the requirements are so high for W11:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

So yeah, it seems that Microsoft is biting the bullet and making the Win11 system requirements high in order to increase security and stability on PC. It’s not a terrible choice, just a badly timed one as we are still in the middle of a global chip shortage, making the latest CPUs harder to find and most of the time priced higher than MSRP.

There is a small silver lining though, as Microsoft teased that they will be looking into possibly lowering the requirements just a smidge, possibly bringing the CPU requirements to Intel Core 7th gen or AMD Ryzen 1st gen:

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.

So if you’re running on a system with Intel 7th gen or AMD Ryzen 1st gen, you’ll be able to install the Windows 11 OS during the Insider program (which has already started!), even if it turns out to not work on the official public release. At least we have until 2025 - where Windows 10 will no longer be supported - to buy ourselves a new processor, and hopefully by then they’ll be at a decent price.

What do you think? Are you excited for Windows 11? Do the high requirements make sense now? Should Microsoft lower the requirements anyway regardless of security and stability? Or is it a good thing they are high now?

Are you excited for Windows 11?

Do you think the Windows 11 requirements are too high or just right?

Do you think the Windows 11 requirements are now justfied?

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09:08 Jul-01-2021

Frankly the reason is that any older/slower PC can't handle the ad-bloated Windows 11 desktop smoothly. Displaying so many ads at once needs high-end hardware.

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10:27 Jul-01-2021

Im running windows 11 right now (official dev build from insider program) and you can disable most of the telemetry and I havent even used the new widgets. Its basically windows 10 with auto hdr and pretty corners

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13:21 Jun-30-2021

It was pretty funny to find out that my laptop's Celeron N4000 that struggles to open even Word is W11 compatible but my I7-4790 isn't. LoL

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06:26 Jun-30-2021

They should include at least 4th or 5th Generation CPUs otherwise it will be high

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04:59 Jun-30-2021

It's a crazy move that means PC's that are only 4 years old won't support it. They got slated years back for Vista having such high requirements yet these are even higher because a 4 year old PC would run Vista no problem back at launch.

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22:22 Jun-29-2021

Personally, I am fine with whole requirements, because I do think MS wants to do bit of cleanup for old compatibility and stability solutions, which can effect how new hardware performs. Like ever wondered why games don't go straight up hammering to get max from NVMe SSDs? Because they have to support ancient HDDs, otherwise experience on HDD would be terrible.

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22:26 Jun-29-2021

So I kind of don't blame MS for this. Would be nice if Win10 would get bit longer support, but still till 2025, all unsupported CPUs will be like 7+ years old. It would be nice if MS extended that for few more years and that would work fine for me, so they don't encourage more e-waste. Otherwise, I would love to see new stuff getting better used and not be held back by legacy.

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19:49 Jun-29-2021

the storage req should be 32gig not 64. windows 10 installs in less than 20 gig.

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19:12 Jun-29-2021

Would the requirements for newer CPU architecture roughly match the time period when Intel and AMD had to respond to the Spectre and Meltdown exploits that were discovered a few years back? With Windows 11's focus on security these high requirements would make a lot of sense.

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18:05 Jun-29-2021

As long as I can install it on my 4th gen intel cpu pc, then I'm good with it. It's not an ancient pc, but not the youngest either. Especially now that prices are still very high, it's not a nice move from MS to exclude older computers.

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05:59 Jun-30-2021

I second this... then again, i'm still primary on windows se7en

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01:59 Oct-08-2021

Oh my friend... I feel you, i feel you...

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