Windows 11: Hardware requirements

Windows[German]After the unveiling of Windows 11 on June 24, 2021 (see Yes, Microsoft introduced Windows 11), it is time to take a look at what Microsoft claims to be the minium hardware requirements for the new operating system. To start with: There was a confusion about TPM 2.0 requirement, and Microsoft seems to have said goodbye to the claim that this Windows should run on inexpensive hardware. Here is a rough overview of what has become known so far.


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The minimum system requirements

Microsoft has published the article Find Windows 11 specs, features, and computer requirements with some specifications for Windows 11 systems as of June 24, 2021. Here is an excerpt of the most important requirements:

  • Processor: 1 Gigahertz (GHz) or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
  • RAM: 4 Gigabyte (GB)
  • Storage: 64 GB or larger storage device
  • System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
  • TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
  • Graphics card: Compatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
  • Display: High definition (720p) display that is greater than 9" diagonally, 8 bits per color channel

A 64-bit capable processor is due to the fact that Windows 11 will only be released as a 64-bit version. I don't see that as a big drama. More critical are DirectX 12 capable graphics cards with WDDM 2.0 driver support. That will simply rule out a number of older systems for Windows 11.

Also, the specifications of 4-GByte RAM and 64 GByte storage space will bring the typical home devices, which were still offered in the low-cost range until the end of 2020, into the realm of overload. A box with 2- or 4-GByte RAM and 64-GByte SSD then falls out of the circle of Windows 11 machines. The RAM would still fit, but the memory size of 64 GBytes is the knockout criterion. The memory is usually divided into a Windows partition, a backup partition and an OEM partition. Often, only 52 to 56 GBytes remain free for Windows.

If you want to read everything in great detail, you can find the hardware specifications for manufacturers in this downloadable PDF document

There are then additional restrictions for specific functions, which are described here. This ranges from a 5G modem for 5G-enabled devices, to an HDR monitor for such use cases, to microphone for Cortana.

Many things won't work without the Internet

The restrictions for setting up the operating system mentioned in the article Find Windows 11 specs, features, and computer requirements are interesting. 

  • Internet connection and Microsoft accounts: Windows 11 Home edition requires internet connectivity and a Microsoft account to complete device setup on first use.
  • Switching a device out of Windows 11 Home in S mode also requires internet connectivity. Learn more about S mode here.
  • For all Windows 11 editions, internet access is required to perform updates and to download and take advantage of some features. A Microsoft account is required for some features.

I interpret these lines in such a way that Windows 11 users are clearly pushed in the direction of a Microsoft account, and especially in Windows 11 Home Edition, one will only get out of the Microsoft account constraint with pull-ups. I postulate that one can create a local user account only after the initial setup. But that has to be waited for.


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Confusion around TPM 2.0 resolved

Some confusion was caused by Microsoft with its requirement for TMP 2.0, which can be found in the list above (source is Find Windows 11 specs, features, and computer requirements). On the other hand, there is this Microsoft page with Windows 11 hardware requirements, where TPM version >= 1.2 and Secure Boot is required.

Windows 11 TPM-Anforderungen

However, Microsoft draws a clear line there and explains the following. Devices that do not meet the hard requirements for the minimum hardware configuration (Hard Flor) cannot be updated to Windows 11. Without TMP 1.2, nothing works. Devices that do not meet the minimum hardware requirements defined as Soft Floor will show the user a notification that an upgrade is not recommended. This applies to both TMP 1.2 and CPU models that are not on the list here (Intel) and here (AMD).

It can be assumed that there will be a shake-out of older hardware in the future and Microsoft is currently setting the course. The former dogma "our new Windows runs on the existing devices", which applied to Windows 8, 8.1 and also Windows 10, which should all still run on Windows 7 machines, is thus passé.

For me, quite exciting is the point that Microsoft bosses Panos Panay and Satya Nadella did emphasize the integration of people's working and living worlds in the presentation and constantly stressed how open Windows 11 is for this clientele (keyword: you could get all sorts of apps on the boxes). But with the above hardware requirements, Microsoft is, in my opinion, saying goodbye to the low-level market, which Google's Chromebooks are cultivating with increasing success, especially in the education sector. The "footprint" that Windows 11 promises will, in my estimation, be higher than Windows 10 and clearly above the resource requirements of Chromebooks.


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2 Responses to Windows 11: Hardware requirements

  1. Tom says:

    Very good and detailed info.
    Microsoft is bringing the trend initiated with Windows Vista (and of course Intel) to new highs, demanding more expensive and powerfull equipment to do the same activities – surfing the net, etc, for the most part of people. Of course gammers and professionals will need the change.
    My "old" and basic notebook (5 years use) was broke by version 20H2. Before that everything was working great…. Windows does not let use older versions of the OS so now I'm on Ubuntu and it's great, fast, easy to use, recognizes perfectly my DAC (Dragonfly) has Spotify and many other features that are way better than in Windows. Even Chrome and Edge works better in Linux. kkk

  2. EP says:

    guenni:

    from Neowin – Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and others publish a list of hardware that will support Windows 11 (published July 5)
    https://www.neowin.net/news/asus-gigabyte-msi-and-others-publish-a-list-of-hardware-that-will-support-windows-11/

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