Windows 11 new system requirements has a loophole for unsupported PCs

Despite the somewhat controversial UI changes, interest in Windows 11 has mostly been positive. Unfortunately, Microsoft botched that early on with its rather confusing set of minimum system requirements as well as an equally confusing PC Health Check app. Since then, the company has been working to clarify the baseline for PCs that are eligible for a Windows 11 update. It is now more or less setting its foot down on computers with older processors, but a "loophole" will give ineligible users a chance to run Windows 11 at their own risk.

The bad news is that, after testing the possibility, Microsoft is now declaring that AMD Zen 1 and 7th-gen Intel processors are, once and for all, not compatible with Windows 11. In a nutshell, these chips, most of which are three years old or more, don't meet the company's established principles of reliability, security, and compatibility. Fortunately, that isn't exactly the full story for users that fall under that unsupported category.

For one, Microsoft is making an exception for the Intel Core X-series and the Xeon W-series. Additionally, the Intel Core 7820HQ is also declared to be compatible. The latter should be a relief to owners of the expensive Surface Studio 2 that uses this processor.

Microsoft, however, will also provide other means to get Windows 11, like through its Official Media Creation tool. It won't block users who will use these ISOs to upgrade their unsupported Windows 10 devices, but it won't publicly mention this method at all. The ISO will have more forgiving system requirements, including TPM 1.0 and older Intel and AMD processors, but Microsoft will focus on the "normal" upgrade path instead.

That loophole, however, doesn't come without a price. Microsoft already hinted that unsupported PCs were tested to have 52% more kernel mode crashes while supported ones exhibited a 99.8% crash-free experience. The company also ominously warned The Verge that unsupported PCs upgraded to Windows 11 might not be able to get Windows Updates, including critical security fixes. Microsoft has yet to clarify what that exactly means, though that might be enough of a deterrent for some users.