Current installation requirements will make it impossible to install the new version of Windows even on PCs sold just two years ago.

B.T.The world

At first glance, there is not much difference between the minimum requirements of Windows 11 versus the current Windows 10. The new version of Windows, announced last week and due to arrive as a free update later this year, requires a minimum of a 1Ghz 64-bit processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of memory.

Many users with computers that seem to meet these specifications, however, they are going to be met with the unpleasant surprise that their systems cannot be updated, even if they have enough power. The problem even affects many PCs in the Surface range, made by Microsoft itself that were launched just two or three years ago.

This is the case of one of the most ambitious models in Microsoft’s own catalog, the huge Surface Studio 2. This machine is aimed at designers and creatives, with a huge 28-inch touch screen and on which you can draw with precision thanks to the help of the Surface Pen digital pen.

It went on sale in 2018 at a price of $ 3,500. Its users, however, will have to live in the limbo of Windows 10 (which will continue to receive updates and support until 2025), despite the fact that the team has more than enough power to move the new version of the operating system.

THE SMALL PRINT

Where is the problem? In order to upgrade to Windows 11, computers not only have to meet those requirements listed above. They must also be equipped with a TPM module (Trusted Platform Module), a small encryption coprocessor designed to protect computer hardware and has been present for some years in many PCs on sale, although not in all.

It is normally built into the motherboard of the machine, and separate from the CPU. It stores encryption keys, user identities and is in a way a first line of defense against many attacks, especially those that aim to modify the firmware of the different components of the equipment. Windows 11 requires the most advanced version of this module, TPM 2.0.

Microsoft has asked PC manufacturers for years to include this component in all computers that ship with Windows 10, but not all comply with this standard.

Users who have built their PC in pieces may also not have one, as some motherboards are sold with support for this type of module but do not include a factory one.

Even if they do, the module may not be enabled by default and activating it requires making modifications to the system BIOS, a step that not all users know how to perform.

All this has made that many users who had a PC apparently compatible with the new specifications, have found themselves with an incompatibility warning when using the tool that Microsoft has made available to the public to check if a PC will receive the update.

In some cases the solution simply passes through aActivate the TPM module if it is disabled. In others, however, even this does not alleviate the problem.

The reason is that Microsoft also requires Intel processors to be eighth generation (released in 2017) or more modern. This could leave out many machines that are just two or three years old, such as the aforementioned Surface Studio 2 or the Surface Pro 4 tablet, also relatively recent.

BAD TIME

Coinciding with the launch of the first beta version for Windows 11 developers, the company has published an article on its website explaining in detail the why of these requirements and clarifying possible doubts in this regard.

The company waits with Windows 11 significantly improve security on computers and for this it requires certain hardware elements that were not present in processors and boards only a few years ago.

At the moment the requirement of 8th generation Intel processors (or Zen 2 in the case of AMD) remains, but the company will allow some machines with older generation processors to install beta versions of Windows 11 to study the possibility of lowering the requirements in the final version.

“Windows 11 raises the bar for security by requiring hardware that can enable protections such as Windows Hello, Device Encryption, Virtualization Based Security (VBS), Hypervisor Protected Code Integrity (HVCI), and Secure Boot. of these features reduces malware by 60%. To comply with these measures, all Windows 11 compatible CPUs must have a built-in TPM, support secure boot, and have VBS-specific capabilities, “the company explains.

It’s a good idea in theory, but the time to demand these features couldn’t be worse. The computer industry faces serious problems in the supply of chips, with numerous delays in key components and a reduced inventory of motherboards and processors.

Following the announcement of the requirement for a TPM 2.0 module, for example, the price of motherboards equipped with one or the separate TPM modules to plug into already installed boards has skyrocketed. Shen Ye, product manager at HTC, denounced him at the end of last week on Twitter. On eBay, TPM 2.0 modules quadrupled in price in just 12 hours since the announcement of the new version of Windows. Windows 11 is available today for developers enrolled in the Windows Insider program.

The new operating system debuts a new simpler design, a taskbar centered on the screen, a new notification system and better integration with the Themes videoconferencing tool, although this functionality is not yet present in this first version.


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