Following the public release of the first preview build of Windows 11, Microsoft provided more information about the system's hardware requirements. According to the official documentation from Microsoft, Windows 11 officially supports devices with Intel 8th gen / AMD Ryzen 3000 processors and up. Still, some of Microsoft's employees showed their Surface Studio 2 with Intel 7th gen CPU running Windows 11 without any issues. The latest blog post from Microsoft explains the situation.
According to Microsoft, Windows 11 "raises the bar for security" by requiring hardware with modern security technologies and protections. To upgrade to Windows 11, your PC should support Windows Hello, Device Encryption, virtualization-based security, hypervisor-protected code integrity, and Secure Boot. Also, Microsoft wants Windows 11 to be as "crash-free" as possible, so the system supports only processors with the new Windows Driver model and active support from manufacturers.
Microsoft "is confident" that devices with Intel 8th gen, AMD Zen 2, and Qualcomm 7/8 Series meet all the requirements to run Windows 11. Also, the company wants to test devices running Intel 7th gen and AMD Zen 1 processors (Ryzen 1000 and Ryzen 2000) with Windows 11. That means you can download and install Windows 11 preview builds on a computer with Intel 7th gen / AMD Ryzen 1000/2000 Series CPUs.
As for Intel 6th gen and AMD's pre-Ryzen processors, Microsoft explicitly says those models do not support Windows 11. While enthusiasts may find a way to install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware, you will not get the official upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 once the latter is out.
If you are curious to find whether your CPU is in the list of supported processors, check the official documentation from Microsoft. The company has a comprehensive list of supported CPUs here (Intel) and here (AMD.)
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