Windows 11’s Steep System Requirements – Can Your Machine Cut It?

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Last week Thursday, Microsoft unveiled its latest and upcoming OS – Windows 11. The reveal took place during a virtual event hosted by the monolithic tech corporation.

Windows 11 is a massive overhaul of Microsoft’s existing OS, with new visuals, new capabilities and new features in almost all corners of the system.

New System Requirements

One of the key takeaways from the reveal is that Windows 11 will be a free update for anyone running a legitimate copy of Windows 10. However, now with the official system requirements for Windows 11 announced by Microsoft, it seems that the free update might not be able to run on all machines running the current OS.

Some older machines may not be able to run Windows 11 at all. There will no longer be support for a 32-bit version of Windows, although 32-bit apps will still be supported. The processor speed remains the same as Windows 10, running at 1GHz, however now two or more cores running a 64-bit processor or System on Chip (SoC) will be necessary to run the updated OS.

The minimum RAM requirements have been quadrupled – from 1GB for the previous OS to 4GB. A stocky increase for a Windows OS, though generally under what is expected of new PCs today.

The storage requirements for Windows 11 will be another big barrier for users, needing a whopping 64GB to install. Windows 10 64-bit only requires 20GB. Storage space for further updates, which there inevitably will be, is not taken into account.

In terms of graphics, DirectX 9 will no longer be supported. Systems running Windows 11 will need to have a GPU compatible with DirectX 12 or later, and supported displays must have a resolution of 720p or greater. Windows 10 only needed 600p for display.

See the full list of requirements below:

“To install or upgrade to Windows 11, devices must meet the following minimum hardware requirements,” writes Microsoft.

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or system on a chip (SoC).
  • RAM: 4 gigabytes (GB) or greater.
  • Storage: 64 GB or greater available storage is required to install Windows 11.
    • Additional storage space might be required to download updates and enable specific features.
  • Graphics card: Compatible with DirectX 12 or later, with a WDDM 2.0 driver.
  • System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable.
  • TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0.
  • Display: High definition (720p) display, 9″ or greater monitor, 8 bits per colour channel.
  • Internet connection: Internet connectivity is necessary to perform updates, and to download and use some features.
    • Windows 11 Home edition requires an Internet connection and a Microsoft Account to complete device setup on first use.

Evaluation Tools on their way

Microsoft says that there are plans underway for the creation of tools that will allow users to gauge how compatible their PCs are for running Windows 11. The company believes that “most devices purchased in the last 18-24 months will be compatible with Windows 11.”

“Enterprise organizations looking to evaluate device readiness in their environments can expect this capability to be integrated into existing Microsoft tools, such as Endpoint analytics and Update Compliance. This capability will be available when Windows 11 is generally available,” the company says.

By Luis Monzon
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