Home / Technology / Windows 11 Will Leave Millions of PCs Behind, And Microsoft Is Trying To Explain Why

Windows 11 Will Leave Millions of PCs Behind, And Microsoft Is Trying To Explain Why

Microsoft has had six years to prepare for the release of Windows 11, but the company is still struggling to explain the new hardware specifications. Will Windows 11 officially support Intel 8th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs or Zen 2 or higher? by dumping the millions of PCs sold during the release of Windows 10.

It’s an unusual surprise if you’re buying a new PC for Windows 10, or perhaps you have an even older fully capable machine. Windows 11 will require an Intel 8th Gen Coffee Lake CPU or Zen 2 or higher. , Support TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module), 4GB RAM and 64GB Storage

Microsoft generally does not enforce these specific processor requirements with Windows — Windows 8 and Windows 1

0 both require a 1GHz processor only, 1GB of RAM (2GB for 64-bit), and 16GB (20GB for 64-bit) storage. Windows and IT admins have raised expectations of being able to upgrade to the latest operating system. no matter what hardware they use. Looks like it’s coming to an end with Windows 11.

Microsoft generally doesn’t enforce strict CPU requirements.
Illustration by William Joel/The Verge.

After a lot of confusion last week, Microsoft attempted to explain the hardware specs again yesterday. And it seems that the main driver behind these changes is security. Alongside Microsoft’s hardware requirements is a push to enable a more modern BIOS (UEFI) that supports features such as Secure Boot and TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module).

When you combine TPM with some of the virtualization technologies Microsoft uses in Windows, there are some understandable security benefits that we discussed in detail earlier. -based security, hypervisor-protected code integrity (HVCI), and Secure Boot “showed 60 percent reduction in malware.”

Obviously, you need state-of-the-art hardware to enable all of these protections, and Microsoft has developed it up until now for years. TPM support has been a requirement for OEMs to be Windows certified since Windows 10 was released. But Microsoft doesn’t force businesses or consumers to activate it.

Microsoft’s decision to force Windows 11 users into TPM, Secure Boot, etc. comes at a crucial time for Windows, as Microsoft’s operating system is often attacked by ransomware and malware. And things will only get worse if the security level of Windows hardware isn’t increased.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 won’t support Windows 11.

The delicate balance of security and general openness of Windows is something Microsoft will face in the next decade. It struggles with modernization of Windows and an understandable backlash. Although Microsoft waived new hardware requirements during the Windows 11 preview phase, we still don’t know exactly which devices will be supported when it launches later this year.

Microsoft tried to shed some light on the matter yesterday. But it’s not the level of detail we’d hoped for. “As we roll out to Windows Insiders and partner with our OEMs, we will test to identify devices running 7th Gen Intel and AMD Zen 1 that might meet our principles,” the blog post said. According to the Windows team, that could be good news for the Surface Studio 2, the $3,499 device Microsoft still sells with a 7th-generation chip that isn’t on the Windows 11 list.

The same blog post also revealed that version 7 could go back as far as Microsoft is willing to admit. “We also know that devices based on 6th Gen Intel and AMD pre-Zen will not meet Microsoft’s minimum system requirements,” the blog post said prior to the edit to remove this line. It’s not clear why Intel’s 6th-generation chips aren’t on the list. But part of this decision may have to do with Specter and Meltdown, two major computer processor security flaws that have affected nearly every device for 20 years.

“Microsoft’s choice of CPU for Windows 11 has nothing to do with performance. But it looks like a security mitigation for side-channel attacks,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. “It also allows chipmakers to focus on their drivers in the future, not the past.”

Side-channel attacks such as Specter and Meltdown were exposed before Intel used hardware mitigation to prevent attacks to speculate on some 8th-generation chips in 2018, although Intel’s 8th-generation chips do not include it. Reducing these hardware, but Microsoft has set a specific shortcut of version 8 and above. Microsoft hasn’t fully explained that decision. And now the company is telling people to wait and see if older machines can be included during testing. by any means There will be a CPU intersection that will affect millions of PCs.

Specter and Meltdown may be related to Windows 11 CPU changes.
Illustration by Alex Castro/The Verge

Critics of Microsoft’s approach noted that this move would create unnecessary e-waste. As consumers shift to upgrading PCs that are more capable of running Windows 11, the complexity of TPM and UEFI is still being debated by IT administrators. especially if the device is idle. set up to use these technologies

Security expert Kevin Beaumont, who spent nearly a year working at Microsoft during the pandemic. has criticized the company for the hardware requirements of Windows 11. affected With a global chip shortage, Microsoft [is] Trying to get people to replace things for questionable security reasons,” Beaumont said on Twitter. “Buy a Surface? It doesn’t create a better operating system.”

Microsoft’s hardware changes come just weeks after Apple announced macOS Monterey, supporting the Mac Pro released in late 2013 and beyond, and Mac Minis released in late 2014. Apple doesn’t need to support as many hardware configurations as Microsoft does, but the latest version of macOS will still run on systems that are eight years old. Microsoft’s change means that some PCs that are only three years old will not be included in the Windows 11 upgrade.

Although Microsoft’s new rules do have some exceptions, “Windows 11 does not apply hardware compliance checks for virtual instances either during setup or upgrades,” the Microsoft document (PDF) states about. The minimum hardware requirements are for Windows 11, which means if you’re running Windows 11 as a virtual machine. you can do it Ignore CPU and Security Requirements That faces Microsoft’s big security push here, but the truth is that most consumers and commercial customers won’t be using Windows 11 in their VMs.

Microsoft still has a few months left to test Windows 11, and the preview feedback tells us that. “Any modification [Microsoft] It should meet our minimum system requirements in the future.” The software manufacturer has removed the PC Health Check app, which has caused a lot of confusion about the Windows 11 upgrade. The level of detail or precision you’d expect from us as to why a Windows 10 PC doesn’t meet the upgrade requirements,” the Windows team said.

That leaves Microsoft a gap between now and launch. And there’s enough time for testers to play with Windows 11 free of these new restrictions. But what if you’re testing Windows 11 right now with an older CPU that isn’t officially listed? Chances are that you will need to reinstall Windows 10 at the end of the preview period.

Microsoft allowed testers to access Windows 11 on a variety of hardware during the preview. But it is planning to apply these new restrictions when it launches. I’d be surprised if there’s a big change in these hardware specs later this year besides Microsoft stepping down to 7th-generation chips, so enjoy testing out Windows 11 while you can.

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