For everyone from the home Windows user to the seasoned IT professional, the most recent question on their minds is, “Will my computers run Windows 11?” At the moment there is no undisputed way to determine that. Do we need TPM 2.0? Does the CPU need to be generation 8 or newer? How can we easily check if our current computer is compatible with Windows 11? For apps that tell you, read to the end.
Microsoft may change the minimum and recommended hardware requirements from time to time. So the answer is a moving target. Expect Microsoft to define it more clearly soon as Windows 11 will be available to the public on October 5, 2021. That’s well before the date people are theorizing based on a Microsoft promotional image. It had the date and time of 11:11 AM and October 20, 2021.
Windows 11 Basic Requirements
At the time of writing, Microsoft tells us that if our devices don’t meet these specifications, “…you may not be able to install Windows 11 on your device and may want to consider getting a new PC.” Microsoft provides a handy link to buy new devices in the quote. For the first time, Windows also has non-hardware requirements.
|processor:||1 GHz or faster with 2+ cores on a compatible 64-bit CPU or System on a Chip (SoC). 32-bit is NOT supported.|
|Storage:||64 GB or larger|
|System firmware:||UEFI and Secure Boot capability|
|RPM:||Trusted Platform Module (TPM) v2.0|
|Graphics Card:||Must support DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver|
|Display:||Minimum 9 inch diagonal format, HD 720p with 8 bits per color channel|
|Requirements for other devices:||Windows 11 Home requires an Internet connection and a Microsoft account to complete the initial setup.
To turn off Windows 11 Home in S mode internet connectivity required.
Internet access is required to get updates and download some features for all editions of Windows 11 editions. Some features also require a Microsoft account.
Yes, Microsoft needs an internet connection and a Microsoft account to set up Windows 11. If the audience complains to Microsoft enough, they can reconsider that.
Note that these are the basic requirements to install Windows 11. As Windows 11 grows with features and updates, Windows 11 hardware needs may change. Microsoft just announced that Windows 11 will be installed on some older CPUs, but those devices may not receive Windows or security updates.
Requirements for Windows 11 Features
There will be some known and new features in Windows 11 that do not meet the basic installation requirements. If your device was new in the last 2 years, at least it has some. Following are the new features and their requirements.
|WiFi 6E:||WLAN IHV hardware and a WiFi 6E router|
|5G Mobile Support:||5G modem and 5G service nearby|
|Automatic HDR (High Dynamic Range) video||HDR Compatible Monitor|
|Instant Storage||NVMe SSD using Standard NVM Express Controller driver and DirectX 12 GPU with Shader Model 6.0 support|
|DirectX 12 Ultimate||Works for games and graphics chips that support it|
How can I test my PC for Windows 11 readiness?
It’s good to read a list of requirements and think about whether your PC meets them. Better to do a simple test that will give you the answer. Microsoft had the PC Health Check App but it got into trouble.
Microsoft has released an “…updated preview…” of the PC Health Check App† Since it’s a pre-release, re-release, it might not be that great either. We may have to wait for the full reissue. Until then, let’s take a look at some other Windows 11 readiness tests.
A developer from Turkey, who uses the handle mq1n on GitHub, has published Win11SysCheck. It works as a command line interface (CLI) tool. It may not be the prettiest app, but it works. just download Win11SysCheck and double click on Win11SysCheck.exe. The browser may prevent the download from downloading and say it is unsafe. We checked through VirusTotal and it was clear. We also ran it in Sandboxie to see if it made a call to the internet, and it didn’t. Still…no guarantees.
Win11SysCheck does not install itself, it works as a portable app. In our test, Win11SysCheck.exe reported “Unsupported Intel CPU Detected!”, which is correct for the test computer.
Another Windows 11 Readiness Checker app on GitHub is: WhyNotWin11, developed by Robert C. Maehl of Kentucky. So far, WhyNotWin11 is the most popular of these apps. It is lightweight, it is easy to use and it is easy to read. Download WhyNotWin11 and run it. WhyNotWin11 works as a portable app, just like Win11SysCheck.
WhyNotWin11 gave an accurate result for our test device. Two things that endeared us to WhyNotWin11 are the Check for Updates link and information about each check built into the app. As Windows 11 is still in development, updates to WhyNotWin11 will be coming as Windows 11 requirements may change. Hovering the cursor over the information icons will give you more details about the control and what can be done to ensure the device succeeds.
Windows PC Health Check
We downloaded the pre-release fixed version of Microsoft’s Windows PC Health Check app. It had been in the shop for repair for a while. The pre-release has apps for 64-bit, 32-bit and ARM, and for Windows that run in S mode.
It looks and works exactly like the previous PC Health Check app. It rated our test device well and has the same backup and sync, battery and storage capacity, and boot time checks as the previous version. However, it doesn’t seem to have any bugs yet. It’s a pre-release, so use it at your own risk.
Are there other Windows 11 requirements for checking apps?
In a matter of hours, the folks of the web developed the Windows 11 specification checking apps we shared. So expect more to come. As always, be careful what you download.