Windows 11 preview: Why older PCs should try it

This week the folks at Microsoft released Windows 11 preview, an early-release version of the operating system for Windows Insiders. This preview version of Windows 11 has the same minimum system requirements as the expected first public release version of Windows 11. You, a person with an older PC, with minimal specs, may want to consider trying this Windows 11 preview for one key reason: You could assist in opening the update window wider.

If enough people with PCs use the Windows Insider version of Windows 11, the early release test version of Windows 11, on their old PC, Microsoft will "learn how Windows 11 performs across CPU models more comprehensively, informing any adjustments we should make to our minimum system requirements in the future."

If Microsoft finds that people with low-spec PCs try Windows 11, and find it to be a decent experience, Microsoft COULD potentially adjust the minimum specifications for final release – adjust them to allow MORE devices to use the OS. Once the preview expires, we could potentially find that Microsoft's minimum requirements for Windows 11 are lower than they are even here and now.

Per the now-removed specifications checker tool, users will absolutely need TPM 2.0 and a supported processor from AMD, Intel, or Qualcomm. Processor requirements aren't nearly so confusing as requirements for TPM 2.0, which appears to have at least a tiny special exception for certain custom images.

If you'd like to join the Windows Insider Program, you'll need to be an administrator on your device. Once you're sure you're an administrator, go to Settings – Update & Security – Windows Insider Program. From there, you'll be guided through the optional early builds you can use, including the Beta Channel, Release Preview Channel, and Dev Channel.

Make sure you understand the risks of using this early version of Windows 11 before you do any of this, of course. This is a good way to try Microsoft's operating system as early as possible, but it IS also a quick pathway to finding yourself running software you don't recognize on a machine that you might very well need for work or school. If you're using a spare PC, then STILL be aware of what you're getting into, and let us know how it goes!