Microsoft Kicks Unsupported PCs From Windows 11 Testing Program

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The Windows Insider program is usually a good way to see what’s next in the world of Microsoft’s ubiquitous operating system…unless you’re trying to run Windows 11 without the right hardware. As the October launch date for Windows 11 grows closer, Microsoft is standing firm on the new software’s spec requirements. In fact, anyone running the beta on unacceptable hardware is being booted from the program, and their only option is to accept defeat and reinstall Windows 10. 

Windows has traditionally accepted all comers. Even a toaster with a sufficiently powerful CPU could run Windows, albeit slowly. With Windows 11, Microsoft is narrowing its focus to newer hardware. To run Windows 11, PCs need to have a 64-bit processor, and that CPU needs to be at least an 8th generation Intel or Ryzen 3. There’s also support for ARM chips starting with the Snapdragon 7c. The other sticking point is support for Trusted Platform Model (TMP) 2.0. 

Anyone who thought they could get away with running the dev or beta Insiders channels on old or unsupported hardware is in for a rude awakening today. These systems are getting update notifications that tell them the free ride is over. “Your PC does not meet the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 11,” Microsoft’s warning states. “Your device is not eligible to join the Windows Insider Program on Windows 11. Please install Windows 10 to participate in the Windows Insider Program in the Release Preview Channel.”

Technically, anyone running the Insiders build of the OS will be able to use a disk ISO to install the final version when it launches. However, these systems still won’t be eligible for Windows Update, and that means no guaranteed security patches. As everyone should know at this point, running an unpatched version of Windows online is a great way to end up with viruses and ransomware. Thus, the recommendation that these systems revert back to Windows 10. 

It could be worse. Windows 10 has gone through years of updates, and it’s well-supported and stable at this point. With its expanded “classic” hardware support, Windows 10 will provide security patches for all users through 2025. 

This is all undeniably annoying, particularly for Insiders who are often the biggest Microsoft fans. At the same time, we have seen Microsoft flub numerous updates to Windows 10. Perhaps narrowing hardware support a bit will make it easier to keep the OS running smoothly. We can only hope.

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