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Microsoft updates Windows 11 minimum requirements

New OS will be compatible with more CPUs after feedback from users

Microsoft will make its new Windows 11 operating system compatible with more systems following feedback from users on its Windows Insider program.

Microsoft said it looked into whether the new OS could run on devices with Intel 7th Generation and AMD Zen 1 processors, which resulted in the company making a small number of additions to the Windows 11 compatible processor list.

It identified a set of PC models running on Intel 7th Gen processors that meet its principles: a compatible 64-bit processor, 4GB of memory, 64GB of storage, UEFI secure boot, graphics requirements, and TPM 2.0, as a minimum.

As a result, Microsoft expanded the list of processors to include Intel Core X-series and Xeon W-series processors and Intel Core 7820HQ processors. In the latter's case, only select devices that shipped with “modern drivers based on Declarative, Componentized, Hardware Support Apps (DCH) design principles, including Surface Studio 2” can update to Windows 11. These processors would have been left out under Microsoft’s original policy.

The Windows 11 team also looked at the first-generation AMD Zen processors but concluded they wouldn’t be included in the updated list.

“We will be updating the PC Health Check app to identify the correct systems with the newly added Intel CPUs in the coming weeks before the tool is released for general availability,” said Microsoft.

Microsoft also gave more details on the reliability of computers that could update to Windows 11. It said such systems were more reliable in use.

“Those that did not meet the minimum system requirements had 52% more kernel mode crashes (blue screens) than those that did meet the requirements,” it said. “Additionally, app hangs are 17% more likely, and for first-party apps, we see 43% more crashes on unsupported hardware.”

Microsoft also defended its minimum security and compatibility requirements.

“We have used the more than 8.2 trillion signals from Microsoft’s threat intelligence, reverse engineering on attacks as well as input from leading experts like the NSA, UK National Cyber Security Center and Canadian Centre for Cyber Security to design a security baseline in Windows 11 that addresses increasing threats that software alone cannot tackle,” it said.

It said this analysis was based on a data set of blocked attacks in 2020, including 30 billion email threats, six billion threats to endpoint devices, and 30 billion authentications.

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