Windows 11 is Coming

But don't get too excited...

Yes, you did read hat right. Windows 11 was announced last week, and as you might expect, the nerd world was all excited about the announement. After all, Windows 10 is approaching it's ten year anniversary, and is now set to reach end of life in 2025. 

For the release followup to 'the last operating system you buy for your computer' (Microsoft's words, not mine), this test to the 'Windows Insider Program' members is intriguing. From the online screenshot it's a beautiful operating system - with some much needed improvements. We'll not be discussing that here. Let's start with the hardware requirements, first.


Minimum system requirements

Minimum system requirements
Processor 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
Memory 4 GB RAM
Storage 64 GB or larger storage device
System firmware UEFI, Secure Boot capable
TPM Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
Minimum system requirements
Graphics card DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x
Display >9” with HD Resolution (720p)
Internet connection Microsoft account and internet connectivity required for setup for Windows 11 Home

Certain features require specific hardware, see detailed system requirements.


And now, the rest of the story...

The basic hardware requirements listed above are misleading, at best. You cannot look just at the Windows 11 Introductory page to determine whether your current computer meets the seemingly fair requirements. Yes, a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) is required. This device is intergrated either into CPU's or motherboards, and some motherboards have a header for them, that store encrypted data as a security method to protect your system and data from malicious software and hackers.

Secure boot, using a UEFI BIOS and GPT drive partition is another security feature that was introduced roughly ten years ago. Most modern PC's have this already.

Actually, most modern PC's meet the processor (CPU) requirement, as stated by Microsoft (dual core, equal to or greater than 1GHz clock speed). One major problem with the CPU requirement, that isn't as easy to find, is the CPU generational requirement. Each time a CPU manufacturer makes improvements to their CPU architecture, that is a generational improvement. Intel and AMD are the two major CPU manufacturers in the Windows PC industry, and each are a nunmber of genereations into their most recent platform architecture.

As I stated above, PC's since 2009 are running multiple cores and much higher speeds. However, what they lack is the proper generational improvement of the CPU. Intel CPU's, for example, MUST be 8th generation or newer. You can still buy BRAND NEW PC's off the shelf with 7th gen CPU's in them. AMD based Ryzen CPU's must be at least the third genereation or newer.

Let's put this into a little perspective. I have a one year old ASUS laptop with a Ryzen 5 3500 with Vega 10 graphics, and 8GB of RAM (which is shared with the graphics card). This laptop will accept Windows 11, according to the Microsoft compatibility tool. My desktop is running an AMD FX-8350 8 core (made in 2012), 4GHz CPU with 32GB of RAM, and a Radeon RX570 graphics card with 4GB of RAM. Even though this computer will outperform my laptop in every aspect, I cannot install Windows 11 on it.

That problem is what a LOT of people are going to be facing. Granted, Windows 10 support will last until 2025, so it's not imperitive to upgrade now. But you have to wonder if this is what Microsoft meant when they said that Windows 10 is the last operating system you'll buy for your PC. Meaning the one you currently own.

If you're in the market for a new PC, and like to early adopt with the latest and greatest, be cautious.