How to check whether a PC you want to buy is Windows 11-compatible?

New computers with Windows 11 out of the box are coming soon this fall once Microsoft releases the new operating system to manufacturers. Still, many people need a tablet, laptop, or desktop right now, and they want to make sure the computer will get Windows 11. If you are looking for a Windows PC and wonder whether a particular model will get a free upgrade to Windows 10, this article is here to help you.

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Windows 11 hardware requirements

CPU generation

If you shop for a laptop or tablet, there is one thing you need to consider: CPU generation. Just make sure a PC of choice has an Intel 8th gen or better CPU. The only exclusion is Intel Core i7-7820HQ, Core-X, and Xeon-W Series. Computers with those processors will get an upgrade to Windows 11 through Windows Update.

When it comes to AMD, Windows 11 supports all processors based on Zen+ and newer architectures (Ryzen 2000 Series and up). Important: Ryzen 2000 processors found in laptops are first-gen Zen CPUs. Those do not support Windows 11!

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Most new laptops and tablets run much more modern hardware than the one listed in Windows 11 minimum hardware requirements. To make sure you have made a safe choice, check whether a CPU inside a desired computer shows up in the list of supported processors from IntelAMD, and Qualcomm. Some manufacturers also market their laptops and tablets as Windows 11-compatible, which are also a safe bet.

Desktop computers

As for desktop computers and DIY, things are almost the same, with one noticeable nuance: You need to configure a motherboard to receive Windows 11. Even with the latest generation of Intel or AMD CPUs, Microsoft might flag your system as incompatible if Secure Boot and TPM are off. Most manufacturers ship their systems with those features disabled by default. In such a case, you need to learn how to enable Secure Bood and TPM to update a PC to Windows 11. Alternatively, install available BIOS/UEFI updates from your motherboard manufacturers. Many OEMs are already shipping new firmware that enables Secure Boot and TPM automatically.

Once you finished building a computer with supported hardware, use a PC Health Checkup tool to ensure your build is Windows 11-compatible. The program will let you know whether you need to tweak settings in BIOS to get the newest operating system from Microsoft.

What about older and used hardware?

You can still use Windows 11 on a computer that does not officially support the operating system. For example, on a second-hand laptop with a 6th gen CPU from Intel. Once Windows 11 is out, you can use official ISO files to clean-install Windows 11. Microsoft officially allows that (but not recommend), although you might get no support. Microsoft is yet to clarify whether Windows 11 on unsupported hardware will be getting updates and security patches.

For some users, a safer option will be to remain on Windows 10 as long as it remains supported (until October 2025). Still, those willing to risk it can install Windows 11 without significant limitations as long as a computer meets the following requirements:

  • CPU: dual-core x64 processor with 1GHz or faster.
  • RAM: 4GB or more.
  • GPU: DirectX 12-compatible discreet or integrated GPU with a 720p or higher screen resolution.
  • Storage: 64GB or more.

That's it.

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Author: Taras Buria

Taras is here to cover stories about Microsoft and everything around, although sometimes he prefers Apple. You can stay in touch with him on Twitter.

One thought on “How to check whether a PC you want to buy is Windows 11-compatible?”

  1. Clean Install using ISO is is doable but you have to reinstall all your apps again!

    Has a hack been found to “Upgrade” an existing Win10 pc using an a Win11 ISO as opposed to doing a clean install?

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