Installing Windows 11 on an unsupported PC

Installing Windows 11 on an unsupported PC

When Microsoft announced Windows 11 it surprised many tech enthusiasts with its strict minimum specs. TPM 2.0, 4GB RAM and most controversial was anything older than an 8th gen Intel processor or and recent AMD processors where supported, so if you have an 7th gen Intel process or older Microsoft said Windows 11 would be able to be installing on the device. This excludes many perfectly capable devices and while Microsoft has its reasons for the cut off there are still many people that want Microsoft’s latest OS on their device.

Can you install Windows 11 on an unsupported PC?

Is possible to install Windows 11 on an unsupported PC? Well yes, there are 3rd party tools, registry hacks and most helpfully solutions directly from Microsoft.

Should you install Windows 11 on an unsupported PC?

The next question is, should you install Windows 11 on an unsupported PC? The answers depends on your hardware and how technical you are. If you are comfortable installing Windows from media like a USB drive or ISO file you should be ok. I have successfully installed Windows 11 on an old Lenovo Yoga book with 4GB of RAM and an Atom CPU, it also worked on Surface Pro 4 both of which are unsupported devices. I also managed to get Windows 11 on an old Lumia 950XL phone but that is another story!

Microsoft say you will not receive updates to your OS if you install Windows 11 on an unsupported device. From my tests monthly cumulative updates install ok via Windows Update but I expect a major update to the OS would not install.

How to install Windows 11 on an unsupported PC

Installing Windows 11 on an unsupported machine means manually updating the operating system, and not going via Windows Update.

There are two methods of upgrading a Windows 10 PC to Windows 11 on unsupported devices:

  • Create Windows 11 media
  • Download Windows 11 ISO

Before you start the install off the upgrade you need to make a registry change so the in-place upgrade will get past the system checks, Microsoft has posted the setting you need to change:

Once enable the TPM 2 and processor check when installing Windows 11 are skipped. As ever with the registry you must be careful. You can seriously mess up your installation with regedit!

From search and run Regedit

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\MoSetup

Right click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\MoSetup and select New

Create a key: AllowUpgradesWithUnsupportedTPMOrCPU of type DWORD with a value of 1

One of my machines already had the key with a value of 1. Once you have done the registry change you can upgrade Windows 11.

Upgrading Windows 10 to Windows 11 via ISO

Head to the Windows 11 download page and download the Windows 11 ISO. This will download the Windows 11 install media as an .ISO file which you can double click on, and it will mount it as an install DVD.

Now you can install Windows 11. From Windows Explorer you will see the mounted ISO file. Double click on it and it will kick off the Windows 11 upgrade.

Upgrading Windows 10 to Windows 11 via the media creation tool

Go to the Windows 11 download page and download the Media Creation tool. After downloading run the downloaded file and the tool will start the Windows 11 setup.

Accept the licencing agreement and select your language options. You will then be asked if you want use a USB stick or an ISO. If you want to upgrade multiple machines then a USB stick is the way to go, just make sure its 8GB of larger.

If you want to upgrade the Windows 10 machine you are currently using then download the ISO. When you select ISO the app creates a file called windows.iso. Once download double click on the ISO file and the Windows 11 install tool will be kicked off.

Before Windows 11 installs you will need to Accept the warning from Microsoft:

Maintaining Windows 11 on an unsupported PC

Once Windows 11 is up and running you continue to receive minor updates eg Windows monthly cumulative updates but once Microsoft releases a major update to Windows 11 your PC will not get the new version. The next major update to Windows 11 will probably be the 2nd half of 2022. Probably the only way to then upgrade the machine to new version will be using the same method as you updated to Windows 11.

This is the risk with installing Windows 11 on an unsupported PC, you don’t exactly know how long your PC will continue to receive Windows 11 updates. Also Microsoft haven’t tested Windows 11 on your configuration so you could hit other issues. So if you are willing to take a risk, especially if it’s a device you don’t frequent use its worth giving it a try.

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