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.
Microsoft going from bad to worse. Wind back a few years and a large part of the Windows 10 initiative was to turn pirated and unpatched copies of Windows into official versions of Windows. Now Microsoft is issuing an official OS which will be unpatched. Talking about going backwards!
One interesting thing about all this is contract law… Microsoft openly stated in the past it essentially relied on home users and office drones to copy Windows both to create an environment which persusaded and pressured business into using Windows in preference to other OS People using pirated Windows were also not using the competition so depriving the copetition of Mindshare. Then there is the statement by one Microsoft executive Microsoft never quibbled which is Windows 10 would be the last version of Windows. A lot was implied in this entire narrative timeline forming an understanding based on joint enterprise and verbal contract. It will require a court case to confirm but contracts of this type have been upheld.
On more routine grounds I definately feel there is scope for regulatory action both of Mirosoft’s abuse of its market position and throwing people’s perfectly good hardware obtained in good faith in the bin, since partially rectified, but also the opportunity loss, emotional distress, and risk this only partial rectification is placing end users at. It is also discriminatory (racist for those who don’t want to mince words) as less wealthy nations such as Latin America or Africa will not be able to afford Microsoft’s paying for what is effectively a bribe to hardware vendors to maintain Microsoft’s market position. Then on the domestic front there is the digital divide between rich and poor including but not limited to those in low wage jobs or on limited incomes such as the retired.
I don’t think Intel should escape the fire either as they knew perfectly well they were exposing customers to risks with badly designed CPU’s and potentially other components. I’m pretty sure Intel is hoping everyone has forgotten or ignored this as they collude with Microsoft to sell new hardware. Not only has Intel dodged a worse horror than the Pentium bug but they are double dipping by getting customers to pay to rectify mistakes on Intel’s part.
There are supplementary issues such as Microsoft’s abuse of its position to attempt to destroy OpenGL/Vulkan, buy its way with monopoly profits into the game industry, and via this continue to “farm” end users in the form of gamers to direct and push both technology and keep “the market” addicted to Microsoft compliant solutions which vendors are also twisted into providing via the “deal of the century” which goes all the way back to BeOS and earlier.
There is no “we didn’t know”. Microsoft executives are not ignorant. You do not climb up the greasy pole in a company like Microsoft by walking around with your eyes shut. These are very deliberative people informed by the best lawyers and marketers money can buy. It’s not a whoops or slip of the pen. It is calculated. It is ruthless.