Besides TPM 2.0, Windows 11 also requires some other things about the CPU. Specifically, Windows 11 requires your computer to have an Intel 8th generation CPU or higher or an AMD Ryzen 2000 or higher. Microsoft did not explain the reason, so many users were confused.
In this article, Thewindowsfan will help you understand why your CPU is not supported by Windows 11.
What CPUs does Windows 11 officially support?
Initially, Microsoft gave inconsistent information about CPU requirements to run Windows 11. However, later, everything was listed more clearly.
According to Microsoft, Windows 11 only guarantees support for the following CPUs:
- Intel 8th Gen CPU or later
- CPU AMD Ryzen 2000 or later
Please see the List of CPUs compatible with Windows 11：
The above information is listed on the official website of Windows 11. Besides, the Windows 11 ARM version will only support certain Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs.
Intel launched 8th generation CPUs in 2017 and AMD launched Ryzen CPUs in 2018. This shows that Windows 11 only supports new CPUs released in the last few years. This is a big change because Windows 10 can support most CPUs running Windows 7.
What happens to 7th Gen Intel CPUs or earlier and older AMD CPUs？
Initially, Microsoft’s compatibility documentation said some older CPUs, including 7th Gen Intel CPUs, would be partially supported. Specifically, Microsoft said that people using older CPUs are allowed to upgrade, but the upgrade process will warn that the CPU is not properly supported and advise users not to upgrade.
But Microsoft quickly corrected the above content. Instead, the software giant posted a blog post that explains the minimum configuration requirements of Windows 11.
Microsoft also said that it is testing the compatibility of 7th Gen Intel CPUs and AMD Zen 1 CPUs with Windows 11 through the Insider Preview program. The test results will be updated in detail by Microsoft.
In general, information about Windows 11’s ability to support older CPUs is still quite vague. Microsoft has yet to release any official statements on the matter other than blog posts with inconsistent information.
Why is Microsoft tightening Windows 11’s minimum configuration requirements?
More specifically, why does Windows 11 only support new CPUs?
All Microsoft is asking users to think about is security. Just like the TPM 2.0 requirement, Microsoft requires a new CPU to ensure users have access to the latest security features. These include virtualization-based security and hypervisor-protected code integrity, which are always enabled by default on all Windows 11 computers.
Thanks to TPM 2.0, all Windows 11 computers have the Device Encryption feature to store files in encrypted form. Windows 11 computers will also have the security feature Secure Boot, which protects the boot process from malware.
Security is the first principle that makes Microsoft tighten CPU requirements. Reliability is the second principle. Microsoft says the new CPUs with a modern Windows Driver model help achieve a 99.8% error-free experience.
The third rule is that the CPU should be compatible with the applications you use.
Microsoft did not say anything about the Specter vulnerability, but this could be the main cause
Still not convinced enough? Do Microsoft’s security requirements really require for one CPU made before Windows 11 was released?
The answer is yes. In theory, this is one of the reasons:
In early 2018, security experts discovered that modern CPUs have serious design flaws that lead to side-channel attacks. They named the vulnerabilities Specter and Meltdown.
Microsoft had to release patches for Windows. These patches solve security issues in the CPU but slow down the CPU’s speed.
Not only Specter, but a ZombieLoad attack with a similar method was also discovered in 2019. After ZombieLoad was announced in 2019, experts concluded that only completely new CPUs could overcome it against ZombieLoad, Specter, and similar attacks. To really patch these vulnerabilities, Intel (and other CPU makers) will have to refactor their CPU designs.
Intel says Spectre and Meltdown have been addressed with hardware-level changes from 8th Gen Intel CPUs onward.
It’s interesting that Windows 11 requires Intel CPUs from the 8th generation onward. We think these two things are related.
Basically, Microsoft doesn’t want you to know that your old CPU, running Windows 10, is not guaranteed to be secure at the hardware level compared to the new device. This is not good for their business. Instead, Microsoft wants to quietly push people to switch to new devices by just letting Windows 11 support the new CPUs.
Windows 10 is still supported until 2025
You also don’t need to worry if you are using a computer with an old CPU because Windows 10 is still supported with security updates until October 14, 2025. We think this is enough time for you to plan your shopping for a new computer to run Windows 11.