You will be able to install Windows 11 on an unsupported PC... but there could be serious security drawbacks

Windows 11

When Microsoft first released details of the system requirements for Windows 11, there was a mixture of confusion, annoyance and disbelief. The need for TPM 2.0 sent people running off to find out what on Earth this is, and many were disappointed to learn that a number of relatively recent CPUs were not supported.

Seemingly aware of the frustration the minimum requirements were causing, Microsoft has relented a little. Even though there will be no official upgrade path from Windows 10 to Windows 11, it will be possible to manually install Window 11 on hardware that is not technically supported. Microsoft, of course, is hardly shouting about how to do this, and points out that the system requirements exist to ensure the best possible experience. And while these warnings are to be expected from the company and will be ignored by many people, there is one very important factor to keep in mind if you are thinking about taking advantage of a loophole to install Windows 11.

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The new comes via the Verge after the site had a briefing from Microsoft. While no official statement has been issued to this effect, Microsoft has said that if you have a Windows 10 computer whose hardware does not meet the requirements for Windows 11, you will  not be offered an upgrade via Windows Update.

There is, however, a pretty big loophole.

If you download the Windows 11 ISO and perform a manual installation, the fact that your system does not meet the minimum requirement will not stand in your way. In short, you will be able to perform a clean install, but not an in-place upgrade.

But -- and it's a big but -- there is a fairly major drawback to installing Windows 11 in this way on unsupported hardware. Microsoft says that anyone performing such a manual upgrade will not be entitled to received updates to Windows 11 from Windows Update. What is perhaps most worrying about this is that the company says "even security and driver updates may be withheld".

With Microsoft's track record of changing its mind about support and the way in which it delivers updates, it's hard to know quite what to make it of. It could be that the company is simply using this warning to dissuade people from using this upgrade loophole and updates really will not be provided. But would Microsoft be willing to leave an unknown number of computers unsecure if a vulnerability is discovered?

It is just as likely that this is an empty threat and updates will in fact be available -- but we'll just have to wait and see.

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