Well, for many years, Windows and Linux are two main operating systems which support many old hardware PCs. If you are familiar with the history of Mac OS and iOS, you will find how radical Apple is. Even for Android, one of the largest open source free OS, it would drop old devices very far away very quickly.
Most impressed, my old PC built in 2008 still can install and run Windows 10. Every function is good and experience is very smooth. However, good days have gone.
On official website, Microsoft lists requirements for Windows 11:
- 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 color 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.
First, we notice that the CPU is x64 only. It actually drops the support for old CPUs. But this is not a main problem because nearly all mainstream CPU running today is x64 compatible.
If you are ready to run x64 OS, you must have at least 4GB RAM, 8GB or 16GB recommended. But this is not a problem either: RAM is usually cheap, especially old DDR3 RAM. You can buy RAM to upgrade.
Then we find GPU should be compatible with DX12. Most recent GPUs, including Core Graphics Cards built in CPU, will be fine. But I’m not sure if it should be native DX12 support or just compatible with DX12. If the requirement is native DX12, I think many old GPUs need to be upgraded. And the laptops which only have old Core Graphics Cards would be dropped totally because they cannot upgrade their GPUs. The only method is to buy a new laptop.
Until now, there is no real challenge for upgrading. But the true trouble is there.
The most important thing here is that Windows 11 needs two things: UEFI and Secure Boot, TPM. These two things are very awful for old PCs because they cannot support them.
UEFI and Secure Boot usually come with motherboards produced around 2010. This means old PCs should change their motherboard. But changing motherboard means change a whole new PC because CPU, RAM and Motherboard are based on the same platform. If you change your motherboard, you change the whole platform. You would buy motherboard, CPU and RAM.
TPM usually comes with two solutions: hardware chips and CPU support.
Most of motherboards doesn’t have hardware chips on them because the chips are very expensive. And also, these motherboards would not build a preserved slot to let you install hardware chips because manufacturers think you will never buy any hardware chips.
CPU support TPM is much easier. However, it requires very latest CPU. That’s why we will find Microsoft’s support CPU list for Windows 11 is radical: 8th generation Intel later and AMD Ryzen 2000 later. I would like to say it’s very insane. But if you want your PC supports TPM, you must have those latest CPUs.
So, the truth is that Microsoft suspends old PCs. They are not allowed to install Windows 11.
But what I want to say is that it shouldn’t be like that. UEFI and TPM should be an optional requirement and they are only secure methods for PC. If you want to have best safe environment, you should have them, or you could still use your PC with new Windows 11. No functions will lose effects. If your PC can run Windows 10 well, it should run Windows 11 well too.
I don’t know why Microsoft chooses this radical policy. It’s weird.
There are three months for launching the new system, maybe Microsoft will change its minds.
The ironic thing is that even Apple is so radical to enforce every Mac device has TPM hardware chip, the Hackintosh is still so popular. Maybe there will be Hackindows in the future to let the device which doesn’t support UEFI, Secure Boot or TPM can install and run Windows 11.