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Sorry, Microsoft says you can’t cheat to install Windows 11 on unsupported PCs

Updated Aug 4th, 2021 10:29AM EDT
Windows 11 Requirements
Image: Microsoft

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Microsoft unveiled Windows 11 a few weeks ago, causing an unexpected controversy right after the announcement. It turned out that not all computers that can run Windows 10 will support Windows 11. Microsoft has precise hardware requirements in place. A software tool will tell you whether your PC can handle the upgrade to Windows 11.

The move surprised users, especially those with newer machines that found out the Windows 11 upgrade isn’t possible. Since then, we found out exactly why even some newer PCs might tell you initially that they can’t run Windows 11 and how to fix the problem. But older devices will stay on Windows 10. Microsoft just made it clear that it won’t allow Windows 11 installations on devices that don’t pass the hardware requirements checks.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 upgrade policy was very different. At the time, the company forced the upgrade on many people. A change of pace seems welcome — allowing users to install Windows 11 at their own leisure. But not everyone will appreciate Microsoft’s intentions.

Windows 11 hardware requirements aren’t negotiable

Microsoft explained in an ask-me-anything (AMA) session the policy regarding migrations to Windows 11. The company made it clear that the new hardware requirements are staying in place. Microsoft wants to offer users better Windows security than ever.

“We know it sucks that some aren’t going to be eligible for Windows 11,” Microsoft’s Aria Carley said. “But the great thing to remember is the reason we’re doing that is to keep to devices more productive, have a better experience, and better security than ever before so they can stay protected in this new workforce.”

Carley went on to say that IT admins and consumers will not have to bother themselves with checking Windows 11 hardware requirements and determine whether the update is available for their devices. Instead, Windows will automatically check whether the Windows 11 upgrade will work on any given machine.

“What we’ve actually done is bring some of that enforcement in box so rather than you having to even think about it, your device can be targeted with Windows 11, and it will actually be able to determine by itself before ever being offered and wasting that download” whether the update is applicable, Carley said.

You can’t cheat to install the upgrade

Carley also explained that Windows users will not be able to cheat their way into the upgrade. Modifying Group Policy to temporarily allow the update isn’t possible.

“Group policy will not enable you to get around the hardware enforcement for Windows 11. We’re still going to block you from upgrading your device to an unsupported state since we really want to make sure that your devices stay supported and secure,” she said.

It’s always possible that experienced users will find ways to bypass the Windows 11 hardware requirements. But you absolutely shouldn’t look for any sort of Windows 11 downloads online claiming to work on any device. Hackers are already targeting Windows users with malware disguised as a Windows 11 installer.

The full AMA video with Microsoft’s Aria Carley follows below:

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.