Thanks for Testing Windows 11, Now Leave

Posted on September 1, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 11 with 62 Comments

Image source: BetaWiki on Twitter

Microsoft is alerting users in the Windows Insider Program with unsupported PC specs that they can no longer test Windows 11.

“Your PC does not meet the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 11,” a new message in Windows Update explains to impacted users. “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.”

This seems to fly in the face of Microsoft’s previous communications. Yes, the software giant did say back in June that unsupported PCs would be allowed to test Windows 11 until the final release and would then have to switch back to Windows 10 manually. But last week, Microsoft said that those with unsupported PCs had two paths forward: They could stay in the Insider Program or, when available, manually upgrade to Windows 11 using a publicly-available ISO. (The ensuing controversy over a related miscommunication is sort of beside the point.)

This is perhaps a hint that Windows 11 “1.0” development is winding down. After all, Microsoft will need to finalize the initial version of this platform in time for PC makers to preload it on hardware and ship it to retailers for the October 5 launch. That process most likely takes several weeks.

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Comments (62)

62 responses to “Thanks for Testing Windows 11, Now Leave”

  1. monosoftware

    While I have mixed feelings about these requirements, I keep reminding myself that Apple does this all the time and nobody complains.

    • vladimir

      nobody complains about microsoft either. 99% of windows users don't even know that windows 11 exists. Maybe, apple enthusiasts are just more likely to always but the latest iDevice (whatever that is) in comparison with microsoft enthusiasts

    • vivienm

      Apple has fairly consistent ~6-7-year software support lifecycles. e.g. my mid-2014 MacBook Pro will not be supported for Monterey but got Big Sur. That seems fair to me. (Plus I suspect the battery on that thing is swelling again so it would need its second battery replacement...)

      Meanwhile, my i7-7700 is dropped by Microsoft about 4.5 years after I built what I expected would be a top-of-the-line system that would last me 10 years with a few upgrades here and there. And so, I have two options - i) stick to Windows 10 for another 4 years (which is the ultimate insult to any enthusiast) or ii) buy something new I don't need (and at a time when Intel's lineup is weak). So basically, Microsoft has obsoleted what was supposed to be a nice high-end system half-way through its expected life expectancy. Something they have never done before, as I'm sure many people still running Windows 10 on Core 2 Duo/Quads would attest to.

      Oh, and just to add insult to injury, a N4050 celeron from a year or two newer with 4 gigs of RAM and 64 gigs of eMMC is supported, but Microsoft tells me my i7-7700 with 64 gigs of RAM, NVME SSD, a shiny new GTX 3070, etc is e-waste.

      • lvthunder

        Where did they say older systems are e-waste? 10 years is not a reasonable time to expect a system to stay on the latest version of an OS. There is very little if any software that will run on Windows 11 that won't also run on Windows 10.

        • jaredthegeek

          My Surface Go is 2 years old, made by Microsoft and not supported.

        • vivienm

          How about past history?

          A Core 2 Duo system from 2006 may have started with XP, could run Vista (2007), 7 (2009), 8/8.1 (if you don't mind it being turned into a tablet), 10 (2015), etc. So yes, you're looking at being able to run a 9-year-old OS with another 10 years of security/etc updates. A C2D from 2006 can be perfectly supported and operational until 2025, i.e. 19 years, and possibly longer if it wasn't for this Windows 11 cut-off. Would it have performed great? Who knows - I suspect with 8 gigs of RAM and an SSD it would probably have been fine for a lot of purposes.

          When I built my i7-7700 in early 2017, it was replacing a C2Q 8300 I bought in 2010 running on a motherboard I bought in 2008 that was starting to get very slow in part because it was limited to 8 gigs of RAM. So I was replacing a 9-year old motherboard that was capable of running the latest OS, so why wouldn't I expect my i7-7700 to have a 10 year lifecycle? I even spent extra money to get a motherboard with Thunderbolt 3 because I thought that might be good future proofing. The idea that 4.5 years later, my high-end system would be stuck on a particular version of Windows (with a final drop dead date of 2025, i.e. 8 years from when it was built) while a $300 laptop that's a year newer is able to run the latest version would have been unimaginable.

          When is the last time Microsoft put a hard cutoff on hardware? Frankly, I don't think they ever have, or if they have it was laughably low such that no reasonable person would want to try something below the cut-off. I think Vista media couldn't boot on P3 machines, but those could only do 512 (i815) or 768 (440BX) of RAM anyways. I don't know if I have ever tried Win7/10 on pre-C2D/C2Q hardware - frankly unless you need a spaceheater there's no reason to run Pentium 4s/Ds for anything and hasn't been for over a decade.

          And as I said in my earlier post, as an enthusiast, I consider "not able to run the latest OS" to be the equivalent of e-waste. Every Windows machine I have, including the C2Ds/C2Qs unplugged in my closet and a trio of nice 10-year-old quad-core Sandy Bridge laptops, is capable of running Windows 10 21H1 and doing it perfectly nicely. And at 4.5 years, when they consider an N4050 Celeron supported, I view this as an insult. Especially when their OS runs just fine on a VM on a 4590 host with BIOS/MBR and no TPM and is fully-supported there.

          Oh, and let me add one additional detail - the only supported system I have is a Dell Inspiron 3780 I should never have bought. That thing crashes every few days running Windows 10. It is a complete piece of junk. All my other aging systems are rock, rock solid under Windows 10 21H1. And Microsoft tells me "stability" and "reliability" is why only newer systems are supported?!?

          This whole thing seems to be driven by money - Lenovo, Dell, and HP see Apple getting away with a 7 year hardware lifecycle and they're annoyed that their machines, especially things other than laptops with built-in batteries, have a much, much, much longer lifecycle nowadays. So here comes Microsoft having decided that every pre-2018 system will be total e-waste in 2025 (unless you want to run Linux).

          • navarac

            So here comes Microsoft having decided that every pre-2018 system will be total e-waste in 2025 (unless you want to run Linux).

            I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments. Me - I'm going totally Linux in 2025. No OneDrive, No Office, No Windows, No cost.

            • vivienm

              Ironically, in my case, this will probably complete what Windows 8/8.1 started and push me further into the Apple camp.

              I already got my MacBook Pro largely in response to the 8/8.1 tablet interface fiasco, I had always been contemplating iMacs but never actually bit the bullet and instead built the 7700 when it looked like Windows 10 had ended the 8/8.1 idiocy. I suspect that what may happen is that I will go down to one 11-capable gaming box by 2025 and that may be it for Windows systems.

              • hrlngrv

                The problem since Windows Vista and Office 2007 is that MSFT became fixated on providing one and only one UI. Apple does this right: providing different UIs for non-touch Macs and touch iPads. MSFT is just pig-headed about providing one and only one desktop UI in Windows. MSFT seems on a mission to disprove the proposition one size fits all only works for tube socks.

              • curtisspendlove

                This is where I’m at. I only run Windows on my gaming rig (dual-booted or VM for Linux for productivity). And my next build will reverse that. It will be Linux on the metal with a VFIO pass through Windows VM having direct access to my video card.

                It’s sad that they have decided Windows is more supported in a VM than on metal.

        • hrlngrv

          How much software which can run adequately under Windows 11 couldn't run under Windows 7? Flipping that around, I've been using a few programs since the early 2000s which still run adequately under Windows 11 which ran under NT4.

          I'll stipulate (because won't take the time to try) that MSFT 365 Office programs may not run under Windows 7 or older, but that'd likely be due to version checking within those programs which won't allow them to run under unsupported OSes rather than Windows 7 lacking support for any new system calls.

          MSFT does an outstanding job with backwards compatibility in Windows, but who wants to be able to run 20 year old application software with 20 year old OS security? I'm willing to accept that Windows 11 could be more secure AND more efficient with very recent processors. I'm skeptical that UEFI does much more than make it harder to dual boot Linux.

      • stvbnsn

        Same, I built a 7700 in 2017 with great specs, and now I’m off the upgrade path. I’ve been eyeing Ryzen chips to start anew, but my non-gaming stuff I can just as easily do on a Mac laptop and it’s going to be supported for several years at this point.

        • ezzy

          It's kind of silly if you ask me. If MS had just named this Windows 10: High Security (HS) no one would have a problem with hardware not meeting the minimum specs. That is the only real advantage to Windows 11.

          Other than that, it's just not a great upgrade. Widgets are awful, as they've always been. Some Teams functionality being integrated, but still available elsewhere. Let's see, oh, a Start Menu that looks exactly like your smart phone. And .... new icons and by God ROUNDED CORNERS!

          Oh and a lot of functionality you're used to being moved a few more clicks away in the name of "simplicity".

          You aren't missing anything.

          • curtisspendlove

            I actually like the look of Windows 11.

            And I’m expecting that most (if not all) new features will be coming to 11.

            So I think it is a bigger issue than some think.

            Maybe not, maybe all new stuff will run on 10 and 11. But I highly doubt it.

    • RobertJasiek

      I do complain about Apple's OS politics. For example, their preinstallation of "children protection" malware in i(Pad)OS 15 prevents me from upgrading from 14 to 15 and is the most important reason discouraging purchase of a new iDevice.

    • randallcorn

      I remember one Mac OS update where it did not support any printer drivers from the previous versions. Even before printer companies made the new drivers for Mac.

  2. lezmaka

    I have Windows 11 (22000.168) installed on my Surface Pro 4 and I just get the yellow "your PC does not meet the requirements, there may be issues and bugs" message.

    • Alkaidia

      Same on my Surface Pro 5, in the Release Preview Channel. Maybe this is only for those in the beta channel, as they're switching to next year's builds this week, (according to the Insider email they sent last week)?

  3. Lauren Glenn

    As a former temp worker, this was always common. You come in and work your butt off thinking you'll get hired full time, but nope.... you served your purpose. :/

    Still glad I haven't seen this on my Mac M1 in Parallels 17. Seems like their changes caused that to work well. No popup for me. Yet

  4. Lauren Glenn

    Good thing about Windows 8+ is that you can just take the drive you have and put it in a new machine which does have a TPM and CPU requirements met. Not ideal, but you can restore/backup an image from a unit that doesn't have a removable drive too. As long as the second machine is licensed to 10 Pro/Home, it should just go to release build.

    This all just seems like MS is trying to ditch some legacy code.... and I see why they're doing it. But in the next 5 years, you'll probably get a new machine.. and when you're ready, swap drives to upgrade to the new one and then you're fine.

    • vivienm

      They are not ditching legacy code. VMs running BIOS/MBR, no TPM, etc are fully supported. (So basically, if your CPU reports that flag indicating there's a hypervisor present, none of those requirements apply.)

  5. garethb

    Looking forward to Microsoft making a reg key available to turn off automatic upgrades to Win11.

    Not keen on waking up one morning and finding and unwelcome upgrade happened overnight.

    • hrlngrv

      If you powered off just before going to bed, those pesky updates couldn't happen, not to mention you'd waste less electricity. Yes, a sleeping PC uses little power, but hundreds of millions of sleeping PCs adds up.

  6. blue77star

    Microsoft clearly does not want Windows 11 to succeed. So be it.

  7. blue77star

    The amount of hacked copies of Windows 11 is going to be crazy. This won't help security at all not to mention that people will be getting Windows Updates other ways. Microsoft is not doing a favor to anyone.

    • hrlngrv

      You need to sprinkle on a little cynicism: given the hardware requirements, Windows 11 usage uptake should be slower than Windows 8.x. However, a lot of enthusiasts hacking it onto unsupported hardware could improve apparent usage uptake. I suspect MSFT believes the frustration trying to maintain Windows 11 on unsupported real hardware will actually lead to more such frustrated users buying new PCs than just forcing them to continue using Windows 10.

      IOW, MSFT figures this sloppy approach will maximize its Windows revenues.

      • vivienm

        I think the critical question will be the grandmother test, i.e. will they break Windows 11 enough on older hardware that an enthusiast would not be comfortable giving an older machine running Windows 11 to his/her grandmother?

        If they actually disable security and other patches on unsupported hardware, then yes, eventually grandma will have to buy a new PC rather than keep running some off-lease Sandy Bridge desktop. Whether that happens in 2022 or 2025, I'm sure Microsoft doesn't care . But I'm sure they are very happy that a new PC/license will have to be bought for grandma at some point in the next 4 years.

        One thing people haven't talked about is the effect this will have on the market for off-lease 'refurbished' desktops. The ones available today are 6xxx and 7xxx Intels, so those things will be e-waste in 4 years when otherwise, with an SSD, they could probably give someone 10+ years of reliable service .

        • hrlngrv

          Refurbished PCs may become Cloud Ready OS devices, almost like Chrome OS, but with some capacity for running Linux software, but easy to use and easy to update. What more would granny need?

          • vivienm

            If Microsoft thinks that there's a possibility that serious numbers of 'too-old' PCs might survive running some Linuxy/Chromey/etc OS, then I'm sure Windows 11 23H1 will magically require a TPM 1.2 or less, no secure boot, and a sandy bridge.

            As was shown when they dug XP out of the graveyard when netbooks running Linux started to look like a threat and with all the special licensing rules they cooked up so that low-end el-cheapo systems since would be running (more like crawling) Windows, Microsoft isn't about to let their greed create a market opening for a Linux-based alternative.

  8. faustxd9

    Tried to update my Surface Go 1.0 a few weeks ago and got this same message while not allowing me to join the insider Win 11 track. I wonder if this is a remnant of the previous restriction before they changed the insider program.

  9. winner

    Ever since Microsoft changed the default upgrade screen for Windows 10 to trick reluctant customers into upgrading, it's been clear that Microsoft's non-corporate customers are just fodder to be manipulated and used as necessary for corporate goals and target numbers.

  10. spiper

    While I have no desire to recreate my Windows 10 desktop as a Linux (KDE) machine that is the choice that will come. I'll ride out the dual Windows 10/11 thing. Maybe there will be an OMG moment by Microsoft when they realize the moving to Apple was easier than this BS and they add a little toggle at install that says "ok, I'll take the risk." By the way - Ryzen 1950x, 64GM RAM, 2 TB NVME 2 SSD, nVidia 1080 Ti. Yeah, it's obsolete...

  11. scoop

    I am not as much of an "enthusiast" as once I was, or as much as some who post to this site, but Win 11 is not worth getting worked up about, from any direction.

    That might change if the Android app compatibility develops and matures. Until then, run Win 11 if your hardware meets specs and you like it. Otherwise, run Win 10 (or 8.1 if you simply must control updates) or Linux. Or a Chromebook or Apple or whatever.

    My PCs run a mix of Win 10, Linux Mint Xfce and Xubuntu. All are groovy. All can be customized to meet the quirks of any enthusiast/tweaker. (My phone and tablet run Android.) I tried Win 11 in beta and found some good things and some not-so-good. I will install it someday on the one PC I have that meets specs.

    But it's not worth buying a new PC to get it. Or getting excited about it. Those with touchscreens might feel otherwise.

    • robincapper

      Agree, the lifespan of Win 10 support is more of an issue than not getting 11. PC's got to 'good enough' for most people (email, office use etc) maybe a decade ago. Win 10 end of life will consign them to scrap.

      Written on a decade old i5 desktop, running Win 10, happily remoting to a CAD workstation for design work. Reckon it would be good for another decade otherwise....

  12. adamstaiwan

    I'm testing in an unsupported VM and so far I haven't seen this message.

    • hrlngrv

      For many, many reasons, VMs are the ideal way to run Insider builds.

  13. SvenJ

    What I don't understand, is that I have Win 11 on unsupported hardware right now, in the Insider program, and somehow I am no longer allowed to run that. Not sure what will happen. Will it fail to boot? Won't get further Insider builds? BUT, come Oct 5th, I can get the Win 11 ISO and install Win 11 on this same hardware. There is some threat of not getting some updates, but not sure how that is going to work. Is MS intentionally ensuring there are insecure PCs out there. What really would be the difference in letting me continue to run Win 11 on Insider, and y 're-installing' it on Oct 11? If they want me to run an insecure PC, what difference does it make if it is an Insider release preview Win 11, or a 'RTM' Win 11?

  14. javial

    Not allowing updates in non-supported hardware makes Windows 11 the most insecure OS. Good job, Microsoft.

  15. wbtmid

    This whole episode was idiotic! What angers me the most on this, is the time Insiders (including me) spent testing Windows 11 on "unsupported CPU's" and reporting to Microsoft and on these and other forums that we were seeing NO problems! Only to find at the end, the Jackasses at Microsoft had NO intention of changing their asinine and unnecessary hardware restrictions! Sorry, but honesty and integrity are not apparent. Not to mention I could have tested on "supported hardware" to begin with and saved the grief of reinstalling Windows 10, or in my case swapping out the processor on my "insider" machine testing Windows 11 Yes I am a masochist, but I want to see what other horse manure Microsoft will try to pull on its users in the future! Also taking a serious look at LINUX! Using a new Apple M1 Mini as well. Don't like some of Apple's policies, but overall much less drama and far better communication for their users! I have ONLY one program I really need that is ONLY on Windows! Haven't found a replacement on MAC or Linux yet. Sigh!

  16. thretosix

    This will be the first time in decades I won't be updating the system to the new OS... Why? Because it won't run on any of my PCs. I'm also not going to buy a new PC just to use Windows 11 when Windows 10 is working fantastic. In 2026 I'll very likely still be on Windows 10. That's besides the fact buying a parts to build a PC on eBay because of the current supply issues is a bit too rich for me.

  17. LocalPCGuy

    The "high security" of Windows 11 is not going to stop people from clicking on bad links or allowing scammers claiming to be from Microsoft to take over their PC's. Ignorance is not lessened with a new OS.

  18. blue2cat

    I have an interesting observation about Win11 upgrade requirements. I am currently in the Beta channel with Win11 on a computer that was deemed too old (CPU compatibility is the only reason). I have been watching the drama over the past week, and I was expecting to not receive any more builds and be forced back to 10. Today I got the email directing me to switch versions. I went to check my Windows Update and there are no messages whatsoever about compatibility. I checked for updates and got several CU updates. I wonder MS is simply trying to get as many people as possible to switch, but not really enforcing the issue, effectively creating a "loophole." So far, all the discussion about changing versions seems to have no technical backing that I can see. 

  19. rmlounsbury

    I don't mind the requirements for Windows 11. I take exception that Microsoft has strung on enthusiasts to say "hey, you can totally get Windows 11 on insider on an unsupported PC" and then turn around and say eff'you. That time you invested in Windows 11 pre-launcher was nice for us but you can go to hell.

    This impacts a small number of people (and is a bigger deal for business) but Microsoft never should have run with the whole narrative of surey you can, maybe you can't, no you can't. It's just bad.

    • navarac

      It might have been a small number of people, but the problem is that they are the most vocal. I left the Insider Program a year or so ago. A/B testing meant that I was not seeing much to test. As far as I'm concerned, Microsoft can go eff themselves nowadays. They couldn't communicate what day it is.

  20. polloloco51

    Windows 11 is basically the Moxie soda of Windows OS's.

    Was ok at first, left a horrible, bitter after taste afterwards! Would not touch again.


    Hopefully, Microsoft sees their way clear, and allows 7th generation processors (with TPM 2.0 & secure boot) to install!

  21. wunderbar

    Microsoft is mind numbingly bad at PR a d communications.

    • hrlngrv

      You're assuming MSFT wants to communicate clearly. Decades of watching and reading MSFT communications have led me to demand that you provide some empirical support for your assumption because the alternative hypotheses that MSFT either intends to be unclear or just doesn't give a rat's @$$ about communicating clearly are far more likely.

  22. navarac

    My final comment on Windows 11 - I promise it is negative, of course :-)

    What their terrible PR people really mean is: We've used you and squeezed all we can out of you. After teasing you all along about 7th gen CPUs, now we don't need you any more. So bugger off, use an old version of Windows, or go to Linux or Apple. Alternatively, spend £($)2000 on a new machine to appease our hard-done by Hardware manufacturing Partners. We don't care about sorting Windows 10's security, either.

    • usman

      Just a quick tongue and cheek, moving to a 5600x and b550 is about £400-500, quite far from that £2000 ?

      • navarac

        True, but I was going by my current purpose-built Gaming Rig. Obviously I will replace it eventually, hopefully with Windows 12 after 11 has been "de-hobbled"! (My laptops are all Linux.)

      • curtisspendlove

        The point isn’t the cost. The point is any version of a Linux can go on the “old” system and probably perform better than Windows.

        • navarac

          I put Ubuntu on a Surface Pro 3 - it runs like a dream - certainly better than with it's original Windows 8.x or even Windows 10. It'll last a couple of more years, anyway.

      • wbtmid

        Only $189 plus tax for the Ryzen 5 2600. A BIOS update on the existing motherboard and I was good to go. But shouldn't have had to!

      • wbtmid

        I upgraded to a Ryzen 7 2600 for $189 USD plus tax. And an BIOS upgrade on original motherboard. Sould NOT have had to do so!

  23. vivienm

    Meanwhile, no such message on the virtual machine I've been running Windows 11 on. This is an i5-4590 host, the VM is set up with BIOS/MBR booting, no TPM. In other words this VM fails... every single one of the requirements.

    (One of the aspects of this that has been overlooked is that VMs are exempt from all of this, so Microsoft is going to continue to include/support the code for MBR booting, no TPMs, etc going forward.)

    • hrlngrv

      Re VMs and support for legacy boot, MBR vs GPT is a fair point, but wouldn't Windows need to support DATA drives, whether internal or external, which use MBR? That is, won't Windows need to use drives with MBR partitioning well into the future? I figure READING partition info on drives with MBRs is NBD. Windows just uses extra logic to ensure the bootable drive is a GPT partition on real hardware and skips that logic for virtual drives.

      I have no idea whether virtualized TPM would be possible or not, but I'm reasonably sure direct access from VM to real TPM would be a bad idea. IOW, TPM just may not be practical for VMs. It seems MSFT needs Windows 11 to run in VMs under Azure, so if TPM is impractical for VMs, Windows 11 just won't use TPM in VMs. Security is nice, but Azure revenues are better.

      • roundaboutskid

        I am running Windows 11 through Parallels on my M1 Mac Mini. Got the message after last update today.

      • vivienm

        Re GPT vs MBR, I agree that the ability to read MBR drives once the OS is booted is important. That doesn't mean that you need the BIOS + MBR boot code though. Officially, the only supported to boot is UEFI from a GPT drive... but yet, all the boot code for BIOS + MBR is still there for VMs.

        I actually don't think there is any code that checks hypervisor or not except in the installer and maybe Windows Update. If you can get it installed on bare metal (which requires trickery above my skill set unless the bypass secure boot registry key is somehow enough to also remove the UEFI/GPT requirement), I suspect Windows 11 will boot just fine BIOS/MBR on bare metal.

        In terms of TPMs and virtualization, there are options out there for virtual TPMs, at least on commercial hypervisors like Hyper-V or VMware. Not sure about more open sourcey KVM/QEMU-type things, but again...

        Modern hypervisors can do UEFI/GPT/TPM. Including Microsoft's hypervisors that I'd expect them to want to push. If they wanted to streamline the code base, they could just require that and if anybody wants to run Windows 11 or Windows Server 2025 or whatever it will be on an older hypervisor, tell them to take a hike just like my i7 7700 and give them some BS about how modern hypervisors provide greater safety and reliability and lower crashes. Yet Microsoft... has very conspicuously chosen not to do that.

        • hrlngrv

          This may boil down to exactly what the boot loader does. If all it does is identify the block of sectors on disk which it needs to load into RAM, that wouldn't be much code for either MBR or GPT. Cynical me, I figure since Windows ALREADY could boot from drives using MBR or GPT, the Windows 11 boot loaded may be unchanged from the Windows 8 boot loader. Alternatively, MAYBE this happens during Windows installation: when running on real hardware, the installer insists on UEFI and GPT, and installs a boot loader which uses them; when running in a VM, the installer just installs the legacy BIOS+MBR boot loader. Now that I think about it, I'd be willing to bet that's exactly how this works.

          • vivienm

            I think that's right - they just have the same code they've had since 7 or 8 (7 theoretically could do UEFI/GPT though almost no one ran it that way) automagically install the appropriate boot loader. Then they've added a new couple lines of code where if your processor isn't reporting it is a hypervisor, it will error out instead of installing the MBR/GPT option.

            (That also makes me wonder - can someone create a custom boot loader-type thing that somehow reports the hypervisor flag when it's really a bare metal system?)