Will my PC run Windows 11?

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Windows 11 is out now. Microsoft officially announced its new operating system last June, although we had to wait until October for it to start rolling out.

The new operating system represents the biggest change we’ve seen in Windows in many years, although there aren’t many differences below the surface. The Start menu and taskbar have been redesigned, the gaming experience improved, and the ability to run natively supported Android apps – although the latter is officially limited to the Amazon Appstore.

Free upgrades for compatible Windows 10 devices were expected to take until mid-2022 to ship, but Microsoft is ahead of schedule. In January 2022, the company announced that Windows 11 was entering “its final phase of availability”, although you download Windows 11 now on all hardware that meets the requirements.

These are significantly stricter than Windows 10, with Microsoft prioritizing security. But does that mean your device won’t be able to get Windows 11? Here’s everything you need to know.

What are the hardware requirements for Windows 11?

Microsoft has updated the minimum system requirements for Windows 11. All current and future PCs will need the following to be compatible:

  • A 1 Ghz or faster processor with at least 2 cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or system-on-chip (SoC)
  • At least 4 GB of RAM
  • At least 64 GB of on-device storage – more may be needed for future updates
  • DirectX 12 or later compatible graphics card with WDDM 2.0 driver
  • UEFI Firmware
  • Secure Boot support
  • TPM (Trusted Platform Module) version 2.0
  • Display at least 9 inches at 720p resolution and with 8 bits per color channel
  • Video camera (usually at least 720p)
  • Internet connectivity – required on Windows 11 Home, needed for many features on Pro and Enterprise versions

Key information about your device can be found in Settings > System > About, but that won’t tell you everything. It can be very difficult to determine if your PC or laptop meets all the hardware requirements.

However, Microsoft offers a free “PC Health Check” app that can tell you exactly that. It is available for download from the bottom of the main Windows 11 page and is much more reliable than the first iteration.

It may now tell you that TPM 2.0 is not enabled but your processor supports it. To change this, you’ll need to head into the BIOS settings. This varies by manufacturer, but usually involves pressing Esc, Del, or a function key (often F2) while your PC is turning on. It is usually called “PTT” on Intel processors, while it may be called “PSP fTPM” on AMD-powered devices.

Enabling Secure Boot is also required to run Windows 11 and can also be accessed through BIOS (or UEFI) settings. However, it is worth checking if it is already on first. Just search and open the System Information window from the Windows 10 desktop, then check the “Secure Boot Status” under “System Summary”.

Will my laptop run Windows 11?

These processor requirements mean that only recent processors are supported, although Microsoft has recently expanded the list. It is currently as follows:

  • Intel 8th Generation (Coffee Lake)
  • 9th Gen Intel (Coffee Lake Refresh)
  • Intel 10th Generation (Comet Lake)
  • Intel 10th Generation (Ice Lake)
  • 11th Generation Intel (Rocket Lake)
  • 11th Gen Intel (Tiger Lake)
  • 12th Gen Intel (Alder Lake)
  • Intel Xeon Skylake-SP
  • Intel Xeon Cascade Lake-SP
  • Intel Xeon Cooper Lake-SP
  • Intel Xeon Ice Lake-SP
  • Intel Core X-series
  • Intel Xeon® W-series
  • Intel Core 7820HQ
  • AMD Ryzen 2000
  • AMD Ryzen 3000
  • AMD Ryzen 4000
  • AMD Ryzen 5000
  • AMD Ryzen 6000
  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2000
  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3000
  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3000
  • 2nd Gen AMD EPYC
  • AMD EPYC 3rd Generation

This shouldn’t be a problem for most people – the vast majority of Windows 10 laptops are compatible with Windows 11. If a device you like is only available with Windows 10 out of the box, Microsoft offers now the possibility of directly accessing the new version during its configuration.

In most cases, there is no need to buy a new device that has Windows 11 pre-installed. Learn more in our separate guide: Should I still buy a Windows 10 laptop or PC?

However, if you’re looking for a new laptop, the vast majority of new devices run the operating system out of the box. This includes many of the best laptops you can buy, as well as many top-tier Surface products.

Will my desktop PC run Windows 11?

Almost all of the same hardware requirements for laptops also apply to desktops. You’ll still need a recent Intel, AMD, or ARM processor, along with at least 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

However, you will also need a compatible motherboard. Some of the major motherboard manufacturers have confirmed which existing models will be compatible with Windows 11. Here’s the full list so far:

  • Asus (Intel): C261 Series, C422 Series, X299 Series, Z590 Series, Q570 Series, H570 Series, B560 Series, H510 Series, Z490 Series, Q470 Series, H470 Series, B460 Series, H410 Series, W480 Series, Z390 Series, Z370 Series, H370 Series, B365 Series, B360 Series, H310 Series, Q370 Series, C246 Series
  • Asus (AMD): WRX80 Series, TRX40 Series, X570 Series, B550 Series, A520 Series, X470 Series, B450 Series, X370 Series, B350 Series, A320 Series
  • Biostar (Intel): Z590 Series, B560 Series, B460 Series, H510 Series, B250 Series
  • Biostar (AMD): X570 Series, B550 Series, A520 Series, B450 Series, X470 Series, X370 Series, B350 Series, A320 Series
  • Gigabyte (Intel): X299 Series, C621 Series, C232 Series, C236 Series, C246 Series, C200 Series, C300 Series, C400 Series, C500 Series
  • Gigabyte (AMD): TRX40 Series, 300 Series, 400 Series, 500 Series
  • MSI (Intel): 500 Series, 400 Series, 300 Series, 200 Series, 100 Series, X299 Series
  • MSI (AMD): 500 Series, 400 Series, 300 Series, TRX40 Series, X399 Series
  • ASRock (Intel): 300 Series, 400 Series, 500 Series, X299 Series
  • ASRock (AMD): 300 Series, 400 Series, 500 Series, TRX40 Series

What if my PC is not supported

If your PC isn’t eligible for Windows 11, it’s probably because you’re using older or less powerful hardware. Some people will be able to upgrade their desktop computer to meet the new requirements, but most others will need to purchase a new device.

However, judging by a recent video, it looks like Intel’s older Pentium 4 processor might still work with Windows 11 – those chips were discontinued in 2008. YouTube channel Carlos SM Computers posted what claims to be the final version of Windows 11 running on one of these older processors. It even shows Microsoft’s PC Health Check app suggesting it’s compatible.

The poor performance here makes it unusable for most people on a regular basis, but it does raise the possibility of running the OS on other devices that aren’t officially eligible. Read more about it in our tutorial: How to download Windows 11 on an unsupported PC

However, Microsoft is cracking down on users running Windows 11 on unsupported hardware. They will soon be treated like an unactivated version of Windows, with frequent reminders in settings and a watermark right on the desktop. Although most features will still work fine, it is recommended to downgrade to Windows 10 in this situation.

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