It seems Microsoft is very serious about the hardware compatibility cut-off for Windows 11. Days after telling users installing onto an incompatible PC using an ISO file will mean no update support, Microsoft is taking another tough stance. Specifically, the company is dropping users with out-of-date hardware from testing Windows 11 on the Insider Program.
With Windows 11 scheduled for launch on October 5, Microsoft is ramping up its gatekeeping for who is allowed to the upgrade party. We already know that Windows 10 users can upgrade for free, but some will be shut out because of hardware requirements. Chief among them a 4GB of RAM and TPM 2.0 requirement.
Microsoft has said the platform will only be available for laptops with Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 or higher chips. Admittedly, that is most modern-era laptops, but hundreds of millions use Windows 10. That means there will be millions on hardware that cannot upgrade to Windows 11.
As Microsoft clamps down on these requirements, the company is now dropping PCs on the Windows Insider Program is they are no compatible. Until now, any Insider could help test Windows 11, including those on incompatible hardware. That is no longer the case:
“Your PC does not meet the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 11,” says Microsoft's clear warning. “Your device is not eligible to join the Windows Insider Program on Windows 11. Please install Windows 10 to participate in the Windows Insider Program in the Release Preview Channel.”
Microsoft is pointing Insiders that do not meet Windows 11's requirements back towards Windows 10. The company says it will continue to support the now legacy platform until 2025. Microsoft's reasoning for the TPM requirement is security. The company is taking security to the CPU level and says it will not compromise on this stance.
Earlier this week, Microsoft warned users they will not get security or feature updates if they install Windows 11 via ISO file on an incompatible PC. The company now says it could withhold Windows 11 updates for users who take advantage of this technicality. Furthermore, Microsoft points out if may also withhold security and driver updates.
As I said at the time, I am skeptical about the last threat. It is very unlikely Microsoft will not roll out security patches platform-wide just to ensure stability across the ecosystem. However, not being able to receive feature updates seems a more credible threat.
Tip of the day: Is your system drive constantly full and you need to free up space regularly? Try Windows 10 Disk Cleanup in extended mode which goes far beyond the standard procedure. Our tutorial also shows you how to create a desktop shortcut to run this advanced method right from the desktop.