Unsupported devices running Windows 11 may not receive updates

Windows 11 Update Checkforupdate Dark
Windows 11 Update Checkforupdate Dark (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft recently confirmed a method for getting Windows 11 on unsupported devices.
  • Given the unsupported nature of that method, there are risks.
  • One such risk is that updates may not be guaranteed.

Microsoft recently unveiled its updated PC Health Check app to help consumers gauge whether their machines are ready for Windows 11. The company also announced that those with devices traditionally ineligible for Windows 11 aren't completely out of luck, as there will be a way to force an upgrade for those interested in doing so. However, it seems there may be consequences linked to dragging the operating system onto a device it's not natively built for.

In a PCWorld report, it is said that Microsoft responded to a request for comment with regards to the specifics of what happens when an unsupported machine makes the jump to Windows 11.

Microsoft is reported as saying that putting Windows 11 on unsupported devices should be a temporary measure and that said devices running the OS won't be guaranteed Windows updates. Microsoft elaborated on this point by saying security and driver updates may not be included for unsupported devices.

All of the above commentary involves wishy-washy language that leaves the reality of the situation unclear, though if this is Microsoft's vaguely worded way of preparing users for a harsher, stricter reality, it appears unsupported devices are soon to face some drawbacks that will make their Windows 11 future a somewhat unsavory one.

We recently ran a poll asking users whether they'll go ahead with Windows 11 on unsupported devices now that it's confirmed to be possible. The question is, will you do so if you're not going to get updates? Will you risk it from a security and feature standpoint?

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

  • You either give people updates or just don't on unsupported devices. Allow this but not the other. Microsoft is pretty bad on communication and decisions when it comes to windows 11.
  • Microsoft is pretty bad on communication and decisions.
  • Probably on purpose. Get people to panic and buy newer devices
  • Clearly, MS has decided that W11 will be the "premier" product, and W10 will be the "Legacy" product going forward.
    This makes sense as W11 can then be freed of the "boat-anchor" parts of W10 that they no longer want to keep sinking money into supporting as it costs MS tons of money to keep dragging the old "comparability" code forward, and is also a HUGE and on-going attack vector for Malware.
    I find it "interesting" that many of the same people who are "ok" with Apple dumping Intel-CPU support for custom M1 ARM CPUs and only supporting Intel code in a sandboxed "emulation" mode, are "Mad As Hell and Not Going to TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!" about Microsoft trying to do the same thing with Win32 (or Dog-Forbid Win16 support.)
    I get it, you want to keep running your old stuff from the Window for Workgroups 3.11 days.
    Well, go ahead and run it, just not on Window 11.
    I also understand that 2025 is not that far away, and W10 support "officially" ends then (trust me, they will do the same thing they have done with Windows 7/Server 2008. Offer a "extended support" contract to any Enterprise who want to pay for license so they can download the patches.)
    Just wait till you see what is coming in 2025. You have a preview of it now with "Windows 365": Windows As A Service (WAAS.)
    If you are really that upset about it, LINUX is just a download away, or you could go out and purchase an Apple MAC since they will support Intel CPUs foreve...........oh, wait.
  • But Apple is still supporting their Intel machines, in fact they are still selling intel machines. I am not saying it is right, but the difference between Apple and Ms is that Apple OS only work with Apple hardware, officially.
    Ms have locked out a lot of machines that are only a couple of years old, sure Windows 10 will be supported until 2025, so I presume by that time, these machines will be getting on a bit, but they will still be good machines. Windows 11 is still Windows 10 at it's core and will never be free of legacy code, like Windows 10 will be an unfinished OS, and will be just as much of a miss match. Most people will not go for Windows 365, people are not going to pay to run an OS on their own machine, Maybe for people that wants a bit more power, but your normal home user are not going to do that. Linux is a nice idea, but not for most people, getting it to work on different hardware is a pain in the neck and the lack of software is a problem. i have set up Linux machines for various people, and they are happy with them as they do pretty basic stuff, but sadly it is not going to replace windows. I am looking at a Mac mini myself, I just feel like a change from Windows and I want to see what this M1 chip can do.
  • I'm using an M1 right now, it's a really decent experience so far. At least Apple is willing give something in return for the trade-offs.
    Apple: We have a 2 year transition plan from intel, but look at what you're getting as a replacement
    Microsoft: We don't support this massive list of processors anymore, you need TPM 2.0 and you have to use an MSA to register new windows 11 home installs. By the way if you try to install Windows 11 on an unsupported processors will cut your feature and security updates.
    What does the Windows user get? To much stick not enough carrot.
  • Since when is "We will support your current product, with full security patches and help, until 2025." "abandoning" a product? 4 YEARS is more than 2 in my HS Math.
    Nobody is forcing you to give up W10, nor are they forcing you to purchase W11.
    MS supports a MASSIVE AMOUNT of hardware for W11. (Just go read the supported CPU List.)
    They are just cutting away the old baggage from a NEW Product (just like Apple is doing with M1 Systems) but, I guess since it's Microsoft, they are EVIL and Apple is pure as the driven snow in their pursuit of profits.
    Go Figure.
  • That's not true. Apps especially first party apps will no longer support the old system first, and many services will shut down before that. That's how it feels during the last years of Win10Mobile. It would only be an empty OS after 4 years, then the empty OS would lose the security and any feature update. (well Windows 10 will be much better since legacy desktop apps would still works, and you can still use the OS even without being online, but still, it would be pretty hard after 2 years when you found any new apps from Microsoft are not running on your old OS).
  • It's possible to download cumulative updates from Windows catalog for offline installation.
    The updates are OS specific, not device specific.
  • I am still going to install Windows 11. As far as security updates, I will install them manually unless Microsoft blocks us from doing that. I am sure community will build a tool to automate installing the patches (if not, I will try build one).
  • There is always a way, I doubt I will use Windows 11 as my main OS on this machine, still to many things that I don't like, and I doubt they will be solved, so I will stick with windows 10 and start is back for the start menu.
    That is until I get a Mac mini, saying that I will still keep the P.C in place.
  • I've recently decided to stay with the windows insider program for as long as I can before they close it, but I wish I can be in the testing of windows code for some good time. So yes I wouldn't install Windows 11 onto an unsupported device
  • I have. I have dual boot of Win 10 and 11. If my PC doesn't get any updates after the win 11 release I'll just boot back to Win 10 and delete the Win 11 partition.
  • I get it from a commercial, business and practical stand point. How ever, in terms recycling and e-waste it doesn't help much in the long term then again this is not a new issue - we had this every time there is a substantial change in the o/s. So therefore in the short term it's really not a problem as W10 extended support does not run out for awhile. But, the only difference from previous cycles is that we are talking about substantial amounts of extremely capable hardware (people have reported running W11 on extremely old hardware like sandybridge era cpus) arbitrarily cut off due to Microsoft stubbornness in re-hiring dedicated QA teams and programmtic testing teams. Additionally, many of these PCs and laptops are utilized by many organizations such as schools. Who cannot afford to have the latest in spec hardware. In terms of long term e-waste reduction - many of these ex-lease pcs and laptops can be used by poverty stricken regions. But, now they will have to run the gamut of running insecure W10 installs after extended support ends or insecure W11 installs. Lastly, many can't simply afford to have in-spec W11 pcs - reason why low spec gaming exists. For many a typical monthly salary in dollars is their annual income. In my view, Intel's greed and stubbornness in slow as molasses progress in the cpu core front has come to bite Microsoft in the rear end.
  • I think the reason we think e-waste is a really issue this time, compared to phone / tablet, is because
    1. Many desktop PCs / laptops are way overpower (and upgradable except CPU), so even after 5 years they are still much more powerful than necessary (except few 3A games). Phone and tablet are still underpower (and not upgradable) and will no longer have enough power to run new OS / apps.
    2. A useless desktop is about hundreds if not thousands times of the size compared to a useless phone. That's a huge waste, and also very hard to recycle. Even if I change a phone every half year, I could put all of them in one bag after 20 years. That's not possible for a single desktop.
    3. And the real fear that these devices are really dead. It's different from an old phone that you can keep using it with outdated OS. They may no longer have new features or security update, but you also know that with good practice (e.g., no jailbreak / install apps from unknown source), the likelihood that your phone being hacked is low as well. But for a PC without security update, it could be hacked anytime when a serious security flow being found. So they would be really dead at that time.
  • In June I bought a mini PC with Win 10 Pro assuming I would be able to upgrade to Win 11. It has an Intel Celeron J3455 CPU (4 cores) and 8 GB RAM. It also supports TPM 2.0 and secure boot. Ran the upgrade advisor and learned the J3455 is not on the supported CPU list while the Celeron J4005 (2 cores, smaller L1 cache) is. The key difference is the J4005 has the HD 600 GPU while the J3455 has the HD 500 GPU. From what I read online there is no performance differences between the two GPUs. If this is true, I cannot see why the 2 core J4005 is on the compatibility list and the J3455 isn't. I went to Microsoft CPU site and the J3455 isn't on the compatibility list for Win 11, Win 10, Win 8.1, etc. I hope Microsoft isn't going to let possible bookkeeping errors prevent Win 11 upgrades.
  • Some of the cut offs are arbitrary... as they make zero sense. Microsoft seriously needs to rehire the QA team.
  • Great. Then I will happily continue using W10, thank you very much.
  • No upgrades, no win 11. My sb1 is working great for me to replace it.
  • This Windows 11 story is getting more trashy by the minute. Microsoft should just shut up and think about everything first, but they don't do that, because they "oh looooooove feedback soooooo much". Idiots.
  • This will result in an unmitigated disaster. Really there's no other way for this to go, since they won't support older CPU'S the updates won't include fixes for those CPU's and vulnerabilities will expand and expand until they become overwhelming. Additionally, products like backup software and antivirus software will become untenable. There should be a hard block on installing on older hardware with a post-boot check to shutdown if someone manages to bypass the initial check or swaps disk drives, uses an image to overlay the disk.
  • That's one solution, the other is rehire the damned QA team lol and programmatic testers. Ever since these were axed we have had countless updates causing severe issues for end users. With the QA and programmatic testers in place - the devs can focus on optimisation, fixes and features. But the damned bean counters would rather cut the wage bill for short term stock price gain.
  • Looks like MS has already started to drop updates from "unsupported" devices as my old desktop that's been running Win 11 fine since early July on the Dev channel got a message today say it would not longer get any further updates as it didn't meet the hardware requirements.