Just in case you thought the Windows 11 upgrade and hardware compatibility situation couldn’t get any more confusing and complicated, Microsoft decided to do a Microsoft.
This morning, Microsoft revealed a change of plan to The Verge: it won’t technically abandon those millions of PCs, because you’ll be able to manually install the downloadable Windows 11 ISO on whatever you want. The company’s also extending its official CPU compatibility list to a bunch of Intel’s most expensive Xeon workstation processors and its most expensive line of Core X desktop CPUs — and, tellingly, the less powerful Intel chip it shipped in its Surface Studio 2, so it no longer has to defend the idea of abandoning a flagship product that it still continues to sell brand-new.
That sounds like a nice gesture, since it will enable anyone – even those who do not technically comply with the TPM requirements – to install Windows 11, even if it has to be a fresh installation (which you should probably do with new Windows versions anyway).
However, it turns out there’s a major caveat here. While yes, Microsoft will allow you to install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware, these installations might not get updates – not even security updates.
First and perhaps most important, Microsoft informed us after we published this story that if your computer doesn’t meet the system requirements, it may not be entitled to get Windows Updates, even security ones. We’re asking Microsoft for clarification on that now. But secondly, it still sounds like Microsoft will be encouraging millions of people to replace their perfectly good Windows PCs.
Other than yet another theme third parties aren’t going to adopt, there’s not a whole lot in Windows 11 as it is, and with all this confusion around upgrades, supported hardware, and access to updates, Windows 10 users are probably better off sticking with Windows 10 for a little while longer. Or, you know, switch to an operating system that doesn’t treat its users like garbage.