Windows OS has been the preferred operating system of many computer users across the globe. Many have anticipated the upgrade of the operating system for a long time. Finally, the wait for the newer version of the OS – Windows 11 – is over. Microsoft recently announced the release of Windows 11. The new OS is available as a free upgrade for compatible PCs, but does that include your PC or laptop?
Windows 11 is the first new version of this operating system in six years. This upgrade comes with many new features, including new appearances, improved performance, desktop design, functionalities, etc. Unfortunately, Windows 11 came with many compatibility questions. Since the release of Windows 11, there has been an increase in uncertainty regarding compatibility among PC users.
However, if you plan to purchase a mainstream laptop or desktop now, your new PC might be compatible with Windows 11. Also, if you bought your laptop or desktop in the past four years, chances are it is compatible with Windows 11.
How Do I Know If My PC is Compatible with Windows 11
Is my PC compatible with Windows 11? That is a very common question amongst many PC users. Fortunately, there are several ways to know if your PC is compatible with Windows 11. Microsoft initially released a compatibility checker tool – PC Health Check. Unfortunately, the tool was problematic, and Microsoft took it down. People complained that the app did not give them much information about why their PCs were incompatible. However, Microsoft has significantly improved the tool, and it is now back online.
The app tells you if your PC is compatible and can run Windows 11. If Your PC is not compatible with Windows 11, the tool will tell you why and what you can do to fix it (in some cases). However, there are other ways to check if your computer is compatible with Windows 11. Here are the different ways to check if your PC can run and handle windows 11.
1. Microsoft’s PC Health Check App
The easiest and most common way of checking if your computer can run Windows 11 is using Microsoft’s PC Health Check application. You can download the app on Microsoft’s official website. The first step is downloading the app. After downloading, run it as an admin, agree to the terms and conditions, and click the “install” tab. After installation, check the “Open PC Health Check” box and hit the “Finish” button.
The app has a simple interface, and you do not need to be tech-savvy to find your way around. After the app opens, click on the “Check Now” button. If your device is compatible, you will be given a link to download Windows 11 upgrade for free. However, if your device is not compatible, you will be notified with the message, “This PC does not currently meet Windows 11 system requirements.” You can click on More Information to see why your computer is not compatible.
Microsoft officially released Windows 11 on October 5, 2021. However, the company is planning a staggered rollout, and many PCs will not receive this upgrade until mid-2022. If your computer is amongst the first few to receive the upgrade, you can download, install, and enjoy the upgrade free of charge.
The WhyNotWin11 app is an open-source application that you can use to check if your PC is compatible with Windows 11. This app is a great alternative to Microsoft’s PC Health Check. The app is Github-based, and the developer is not affiliated with Microsoft. This app is not as user-friendly as the one from Microsoft, but it gets the job done. It even provides more information about why your PC is not compatible (if it is not compatible).
3. Check Windows 11’s System Specifications
Another way to find out if your PC is compatible with Windows 11 is to check the minimum system specification on Microsoft’s official site. Microsoft has some Windows 11 requirements, which your system has to meet to be capable of running the latest version of Windows.
Windows 11 Requirements
As mentioned earlier, your computer needs to have the expected features and firmware to run Windows 11 upgrade. Windows 11 comes with some robust security features, and your PC’s hardware and firmware need to be compatible to run this upgrade. Here are the minimum Windows 11 requirements:
|System firmware||UEFI, Secure Boot-capable|
|Processor||A processor of 1 GHz or higher. The processor should also have a minimum of two cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or SoC (system on a chip).|
|Storage||A minim of 64 GB of on-device storage. More storage space might be required for future updates.|
|RAM||A minimum of 4 GB of RAM.|
|Graphics Card||Graphics card compatible with DirectX 12 or higher with WDDM 2.0 driver.|
|TPM||Trusted Platform Module version 2.0. TPM was introduced in 2009, and this chip is only available in PCs released at least six years ago. It is an advanced security chip designed to keep hackers out of your PC.|
|Display||A minimum of a 9-inch display with a 720p resolution and 8 bits per color channel.|
|Internet Connectivity||You need a stable and fast internet connection to download and run the upgrade. Windows 11 Home requires an internet connection to complete device setup on first use. All Windows 11 editions require internet connectivity to check and download updates. You also need a Microsoft account to complete the setup.|
You can find core information about your PC in Settings>System>About. Nevertheless, you might not find all the information you need there. It can be somewhat challenging to determine if your laptop or PC meets Windows 11’s hardware requirements. Nevertheless, the Microsoft PC Health Check application is there to make things easy for you.
Windows 11 CPU List
One of the common incompatibility issues of many systems is because of their CPUs. Windows 11 supports only recent CPUs. The Windows 11 CPU list is elaborate; you can check the full list here. However, here is a sum-up of the supported Windows 11 CPUs.
- Intel 8th Generation (Coffee Lake)
- Intel 9th Generation (Coffee Lake Refresh)
- Intel 10th Generation (Comet Lake)
- Intel 10th Generation (Ice Lake)
- Intel 11th Generation (Rocket Lake)
- Intel 11th Generation (Tiger Lake)
- Intel 12th Generation (Alder Lake)
- Intel Xeon Skylake-SP, Cascade Lake-SP, Cooper Lake-SP, and Ice Lake-SP
- Intel Xeon W-series
- Intel Core X-series
- Intel Core 7820HQ
- AMD Ryzen 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, and 6000
- AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2000 and 3000
- AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3000
- AMD EPYC 2nd Generation
- AMD EPYC 3rd Generation
How Do I Check My PC’s Processor
Processor is the most common barrier for most PC’s upgrade to Windows 11. For the non-tech-savvy, a processor is also known as a CPU (Central Processing Unit). If your PC is running on an old processor, it might not be compatible with the latest version of the most used operating system in the world.
If you are not sure of your PC’s processor, you can quickly check with the click of a few buttons. Press the Windows key on your keyboard or click on the Windows symbol on your taskbar. That action will bring up the Windows Start Menu at the bottom left corner of your screen.
Search “View processor info,” and a “View processor info” tab will appear. Click on it, and it will take you to your device’s processor information center. After finding your processor’s details, you can crosscheck on the list of supported CPUs or search for it in the Windows 11 compatibility checker.
Does My PC Need a TPM to Run Windows 11?
Besides processors, the next common reason many PCs cannot upgrade to Windows 11 is TPM. Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is additional security needed to run Windows 11. This security feature supplies a unique code known as a cryptographic key whenever you turn on your PC.
If there is no issue with the PC, the unique code will unlock the drive encryption, and your PC will start up. However, if there is an issue with the key, maybe your PC is stolen and the drive encryption is tampered with, the computer will not boot up. This security feature is available in two forms: a firmware piece built into the PC’s motherboard or a physical chip separate from the CPU.
The process of determining if your computer uses or has TPM is not straightforward. Nevertheless, your computer might have a TPM if manufactured less than six years ago. Some PCs have this feature but need to enable it to run Windows 11. The latest PCs come with this feature, but they might be turned off or not configured. You need to enable the feature or configure it for Windows 11 to recognize it.
The TPM settings adjustment is made in the PC’s BIOS (the BIOS is the firmware the motherboard uses). Accessing and tweaking a PC’s motherboard is quite tricky, as every BIOS is different from PC to PC. Hence, you might want to check online on how to access your PC’s BIOS and configure or enable your TPM.
Read more about operating systems at OS – Computer tips & tricks (computer-tricks.com)
What Should I Do If My PC Is Not Compatible with Windows 11?
Your laptop or computer needs to meet all Windows 11 requirements to be eligible for the upgrade. Not meeting even one of the requirements will deny you the chance to upgrade your Windows experience. If you cannot upgrade to the latest version of Windows because of the requirements, you only have three key options.
1. Continue Using Windows 10
If your PC is not compatible and you are not able to upgrade to Windows 11, one of the main options you have is to continue using Windows 10. Windows 10 is one of the best OS versions from Microsoft, and the company will continue supporting it through to 2025. Hence, Windows 10 will keep receiving new features and security updates for the next few years.
2. Upgrade the Unsupported Component(s)
The next major option you have is to upgrade hardware and firmware component(s) that Windows 11 does not support. You can run some hardware upgrades quickly and cost-effectively. However, some upgrades can be challenging and expensive. If your PC’s RAM is below the requirement, you can get a replacement or insert a new RAM (if your PC has an empty RAM spot). A simple RAM upgrade can fix your RAM issues.
If your computer does not have the required memory storage, you can get an affordable replacement and install it. However, there isn’t really much of an upgrade you can do. Besides the storage space or memory, you cannot upgrade the other components of the PC, such as the display, firmware, graphics card, and TPM.
3. Get a New PC
If you are not satisfied with the first and second options or the second option does not resolve the issue, the last option you have is to purchase a new PC. However, when buying a new PC, you need to opt for one that supports Windows 11 out of the box. While there are not many Windows 11 PCs on the market right now (because the OS is relatively new), most new PCs that come with Windows 10 out of the box are compatible with Windows 11.
If you cannot find a PC with Windows 11 out of the box, opt for the latest option with Windows 10. Check the specs of the PC to ensure it is compatible with Windows 11. Fortunately, after the purchase, you can upgrade to Windows 11 for free. All you need for the free upgrade is an internet connection.
Windows 11 comes with many impressive features. It is a worthy upgrade and brings many significant changes to the operating system. However, your PC needs to meet the Windows 11 requirements to enjoy all the new features and performance it offers. You can upgrade to this new OS from your Windows 10 (if compatible) for free.
If your PC is not compatible, we recommend upgrading the unsupported components and trying again. If it is still incompatible, you can continue using Windows 10 (which would be supported until 2025) or purchase a new PC that supports Windows 11.