Windows 11 on Slightly Older Gen Processors


Has Microsoft given an actual, valid, believable reason for why Windows 11 cannot run on an i7-7700 or a i7-6700 versus a i7-8700. Or a 6th and 7th gen Intel vs, a 8th?


Other than the system crashes statistics?


Also, the rumored Spectre Meltdown bug reasons?


I have personally yet to be convinced otherwise. Especially as, I’ve tested Windows 11 on a 7th generation i5, with no serious issues. This was on a laptop with world class security too.

Comments (23)

23 responses to “Windows 11 on Slightly Older Gen Processors”

  1. StagyarZilDoggo

    I've heard of two possible reasons, but the 8th generation cut-off doesn't make sense in either case.

    Spectre mitigations were only introduced in the 9th and 10th generations, not in the 8th.

    Hypervisor-protected Code Integrity (HVCI) could be another reason, as it causes a bigger performance hit in earlier generations than later ones.

    But it's also available in Windows 10 - it's just turned off by default.

    It will only be turned on by default in Windows 11, but only on 11th gen and newer CPUs.

  2. fpalmieri

    Honestly, I understand the desire as a consumer of Windows to want it to keep supporting "older hardware" for as long as possible and 7th gen from 2017 seems like it could / should be supported. But as someone that's been developing commercial software, primarily on Windows for a long time, the testing and support costs, even for Microsoft, for supporting older hardware and OS versions are quite high. Getting our customers at the time to migrate off of XP to Win 7 was a protracted, years long process but small company I was at could not continue to support multiple operating systems. and the really weird issues that start to pop up on older hardware as drivers are updated, etc. Most of our customers were actually happy because they had a reason to get new hardware versus the older stuff they were stuck running for years and years.

    Certainly not what we are used to on the Windows side since the requirements haven't changed for the most part since Windows 7. So yeah, you could say the 7th Gen should be included - The person with the 6th gen wants that included, and so on. Will Microsoft make money if a lot of enterprises upgrade hardware to use Windows 11? Sure. Personal / Home computers probably less so TBH but some there as well. And they have given an "out" of sorts apparently if you want to run Windows 11 on "unsupported" configurations - most of the people that read this newsletter know how to do that if they want to. I need an "excuse" myself to motivate me to buy a new computer so I'll be upgrading sometime this fall since I mostly use my company computer for software development, my personal computer is a bit long in the tooth. The wide variety of hardware that Microsoft does support is and has been amazing compared to Apple - Linux is a whole other thing but Red Hat, etc. also have lines that they support with RHEL and if you want to support older hardware, you can do it if needed but you are rolling your own for the most part. So, someone somewhere made a decision - I certainly would like better communication from Microsoft as to why they made that decision - but communication has never really been their strong suit to be honest.

    • MikeCerm

      Microsoft no "officially" supporting older hardware means that your job as a developer remains more difficult. Because Windows 10 was available to all Windows 7 users, developers were free to end Windows 7 support on whatever timeline made sense, because you could always tell users to upgrade to Windows 10. There was an upgrade path for everyone who wanted it, and it was even free. Windows 11 is the first version of Windows in 15 years (since as long as I've been paying attention) for which there is literally no upgrade path for the vast majority of users. There are still some stragglers on Windows 7 because they chose never to upgrade. There are going to be a lot more people running Windows 10 indefinitely, even after EOL, because they will have no choice.

      • fpalmieri

        The certainty of Windows 10 being "unsupported" by Microsoft in 4 years is way more valuable than the way the transition between XP and 7 was handled way back when. A software vendor has got 4 years to transition the userbase over to the new OS, can work with customers to plan that out and make a smooth transition. Customers can budget for new hardware with no surprises. Anywhere I've been that supports Linux (including where I'm at now) only supports a very small rigid list of Linux distro's and versions for basically the same reason. The software may run on something else but if you are running on another distro, then you need to reproduce the problem on a supported configuration to get support. While unsupported configurations may run, those bright lines are very valuable.

  3. driftsk

    Curious if anybody tried to run Windows 11 on an older generation, borderline unsupported hardware?

    I did.

    Chuwi LapBook 12.3, 6GB RAM, 256GB SSD, quad-core Celeron N3450: the latter is officially not supported.

    Windows 11 on this machine with the appropriate device drivers, right after boot and with no apps running: 3GB RAM occupied and CPU hovering around 15-20% at idle. System response is sluggish as CPU frequently spikes to 100% and stays there for extended periods; apps launch slow and all actions respond with noticeable delay; it works, but general performance is very poor.

    Windows 10 on the same machine, right after boot and with no apps running: 2.1GB RAM occupied and CPU around 2-4% at idle, system response is snappy, the same apps tested on Win11 launch and respond reasonably quick (for a N3450, that is); system is perfectly usable for basic tasks.

    I agree the general push is a marketing ploy and the hardware cut is mostly a line in the sand that Microsoft had to draw, but there are some hardware reasons.

    • polloloco51

      Windows 11 is supposed to run better than Windows 10, according to Microsoft.

      Did you clean install Windows 10 or the in place upgrade?

      What insider version of Windows 11 did you install? There are other reasons why the CPU is not idling optimally.

      Windows 10 and 11 are largely the same OS too, with some changes of course (mostly cosmetic).

      • driftsk

        Both installations are clean install with a minimal set of drivers required to replace the class drivers. Initially I have tested the Win11 Dev channel, but later I repeated the installation from the Beta channel and obtained exactly the same results.

        It seems apparent Windows 11 is more demanding than Win10 on each CPU core already at the kernel level, as that high idle load is from the kernel.

        "Supposed to run better" doesn't have a clear technical meaning nor an explanation to back the claim up. What is "better"? With higher minimum requirements it is expected to need a beefier hardware, which is matching my experience.

  4. lvthunder

    My guess is they have features in the pipeline that needs the newer processors. Also since Windows 11 is going to be supported for 10 years I'm guessing Microsoft doesn't want to support 7th gen processors in 2030.

    • MikeCerm

      That doesn't really make sense, because there's nothing different from a hardware perspective between supported and unsupported processors. That is, there's no actually hardware-level feature (like AVX-512) that marks the cutoff between supported and unsupported, it was really just an arbitrary decision. Like, anything Gemini Lake can do, Broadwell and Skylake can do at least as well, so there's really no logical reason not to support everything back to Intel's 5th or 6th gen, at least.

    • navarac

      ....or 8th gen in 5 years?

      • usman

        You mean 10 more years since if Windows 11 is supported for 10 years then the 8th gen processors still run for 10 more years.

  5. madthinus

    Support cost. Nr 1 reason to do the limitation. Smaller subset of devices, running newer type drivers makes support and validation cheaper.

  6. StevenLayton

    I believe the official press release read something like "Its my ball, and if you don't want to play by my rules, you can always go over there and play with Apple or Linux,"

    • usman

      You mean just Linux, since Apple does that anyway with their products and newer operating systems. Remember Windows 10 is still supported for another 3-4 years

      • polloloco51

        "Remember Windows 10 is still supported for another 3-4 years"

        Sorry, this is just completely unacceptable!

        Microsoft willingly allowing millions and millions of PCs to become zombie computers is very, very bad for security as a whole. It would be woefully irresponsible for Microsoft to let that happen!

        Microsoft is creating a serious security threat by cutting PCs off like this! They should be compelled legally to continue supporting PCs instead of letting this spiral out of control, in 2025.

        It's mind boggling some think, people have disposable income to buy brand new PCs every few years! Filling up landfills and polluting the environment with potentially toxic chemicals!

        With the chip shortage, hanging onto a PC longer is the best option right now for a lot of people!

        • usman

          There's quite a bit of a strawman here.

          "Sorry, this is just completely unacceptable!

          Microsoft willingly allowing millions and millions of PCs to become zombie computers is very, very bad for security as a whole. It would be woefully irresponsible for Microsoft to let that happen!

          Microsoft is creating a serious security threat by cutting PCs off like this!"

          - Yes I agree, I never opposed that, I just said that you can either use Linux or keep running Windows 10 for another 3-4 years before you decide what to do next with that hardware.

          "They should be compelled legally to continue supporting PCs instead of letting this spiral out of control, in 2025."

          - I don't think that's really the realm to do so. Unfortunately, EULA and software licensing don't really give additional rights apart from what's already part of the EULA.

          "It's mind boggling some think, people have disposable income to buy brand new PCs every few years! Filling up landfills and polluting the environment with potentially toxic chemicals!"

          - I never said anything about buying new hardware or creating more e-waste. I literally said go with Linux and also there are 3-4 years of licensed support on Windows 10. That means you've got time to decide what you would want to do. If anything I literally said to avoid Apple, as you are buying a product that will no longer be officially supported after 7 years or so.

          "With the chip shortage, hanging onto a PC longer is the best option right now for a lot of people!"

          - Yes, which is why I pointed out you still have 3-4 years of Windows 10 support, the same operating system that you have been running day to day, will still work as is with security patches for another 3-4 years. That means you keep your existing hardware as-is for another 3-4 years. Current PCs aren't going obsolete the moment Windows 11 launches.

          If you're an enthusiast and understand the risk of not getting software and security patches, you can unofficially run Windows 11 on older hardware. I'm currently doing that right now on my Intel 5960X PC, I'm also weighing up options to move to Zorin OS if the Windows 11 install doesn't get security patches.

          I do find it rich from other people on here complaining about e-waste, but then opting to purchase a product from Apple which is the king of anti-right-to-repair and e-waste.

      • yaddamaster

        >> Remember Windows 10 is still supported for another 3-4 years

        I've never understood this argument as a defense for what Microsoft is doing.

        I don't care about running Windows 10 any more than I care about running Windows XP. I want to run the most recent Microsoft operating system for as long as possible until the performance on my machine sucks so bad that I upgrade my machine.

        Microsoft should either let performance suck so bad or if there is a particular feature that simply cannot be supported due to missing hardware requirements then disable that feature.

        What this does for me is continue to broaden my exposure. I'm now, for the first time, considering getting a Macbook Pro as my personal machine. It's growing on me after using it at work. Experimenting with variants of Linux. et al

        This recent behavior of Microsoft is truly puzzling to me.

        • usman

          I can understand opting for Linux, but I don't understand opting for a Mac when Apple has a history of doing the same thing you've just complained about.

          • wright_is

            I already switched to Linux. But I am also keeping an eye on the Apple side of the fence, to see what is happening there.

            A bit of history, I've been a Mac user on-and-off since 1987. I've been a Windows users since 1987. I've been a Linux user since 2001, and it was my primary system between 2002 and 2007, when I bought an iMac 24", then I went back to Windows in 2010 as my main system.

            I got stung by the switch to Intel. I bought a first generation iMac 24", which was mixed 32/64-bit and Apple dropped them like hot cakes after a few short years. One reason why I didn't buy an M1 Mac, when they were launched, even though I was very impressed with the technology.

            I'll be waiting until at least the next chip generation, before I make a decision about whether to try Apple again.

            I am fairly happy with Linux, but I also do a lot of amateur photography and the tools on Linux just don't compare to what is on Windows and macOS - I was using CaptureOne and Affinity Photo on Windows (I would probably use a similar set-up on the Mac). I am currently looking at Darktable on Linux, for example, but it has huge holes in the features available.

      • StevenLayton

        I was going for more humor that accuracy ;)

  7. wbtmid

    Sadly Apple appears to be more tone deaf than Microsoft. And except for Apple giving thin lip service to being "environmental responsible" cares less about e-waste, sustainability and the ability to repair their devices with unreplaceable batteries, memory and storage, and massive amounts of glue. security screws and the like to keep people out of their products! Please I am NOT in any way praising Microsoft for their stance on Windows 11 and older processors. Both of which are ridiculous and encourage significant e-waste! And, Microsoft's offer of a "recycled ocean plastic mouse" tries to tries to suggest that they actually care. , But obviously they don't!

    • txag

      I'm typing this on a mid-2013 MacBook air which (with the addition of a new battery from I installed myself) works more or less like new. I'm running Catalina and can upgrade to Big Sur, which I plan to do next week. When I do that upgrade, I'm good for a year or two more, which can bring me to 10 full years of operation. I expect it to be working well when I have to retire it after it is no longer able to get OS updates. But I'm satisfied with a 10 year lifespan for a laptop that I use nearly every day.

  8. navarac

    Real reason is

    "we are greedy, don't give s**t about ewaste, and want more PC sales for us and our hard-done by partners."