Want Windows 11 on an unsupported PC? Microsoft may ask you to agree to special terms

Windows 11 Wallpaper
Windows 11 Wallpaper (Image credit: Microsoft via Aggiornamenti Lumia)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has been unclear regarding the state of security updates for those who jump to Windows 11 on unsupported devices.
  • The company has made it clear users who put the OS on unsupported devices won't be entitled to updates but hasn't specified whether they will receive updates, regardless of entitlement.
  • Now, Microsoft may be requiring those upgrading to Windows 11 to sign a waiver acknowledging that if their machine is beneath the requirement floor, they're on their own.

Microsoft's latest and greatest operating system, Windows 11, is almost upon us, arriving on October 5. Between now and then, though, questions linger, such as one that's haunted those with CPUs just below W11's requirement cutoff: "What happens if I upgrade on an unsupported device?"

Based on a report from The Verge, it seems that attempting to upgrade an unsupported machine to the new operating system may prompt Microsoft to serve you with a waiver. Said waiver explicitly states what you're doing is not recommended by Microsoft, falls outside your device's manufacturer warranty, and means you're not supported or entitled to updates.

Windows 11 Waiver

Source: The Verge (Image credit: Source: The Verge)

While the wording is vague regarding whether unsupported Windows 11 PCs will receive updates (which is nothing new from Microsoft over the past few weeks and months), the fact the company appears to be reiterating this uncertainty via a waiver that demands acknowledgment does not bode well for those who plan to go the distance with the operating system on rigs below the hardware cutoff.

If more news about this reported waiver appears, we'll update our coverage. Until then, check out the updated PC Health Check app to see if you're all set for Windows 11 or will have to tempt fate and confront Microsoft waivers.

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.

  • Seems fair enough
  • Pretty stupid from Microsoft's pov, though. Millions of unpatched PCs are a botnet waiting to happen.
  • Realistically these PCs *are* still going to receive updates though. Microsoft just doesn't 'guarantee' it, which allows them to fearmonger while changing absolutely nothing.
  • Fearmongering, a lot of that going on these days.
  • Machines already on Windows 10 will still get updates till 2025, and after that… well, they'll have the same fate as machines running Windows 7 or Windows XP.
  • The difference this time for me is that I may be running Windows 10 well past 2025 unless there is a reason to update, and I specifically used update and not upgrade because it is not an upgrade.
  • If the system can download updates, I'm sure it will still get them, ESPECIALLY security updates. MS still provides those on occasion even for no-longer-supported Windows 7 to this day. But by encouraging getting hardware that better supports security, at least for enterprise buyers who will care about the liability issue (consumers won't), this will move the world forward toward greater security overall. It's a good move. Smart for the long-term, even if doesn't really do much in the short-term. Will do more to help security overall than alienate users.
  • I wonder if updates are provided even if a user is unentitled to them...
  • I can't imagine MS will block the installers so even if updates won't work through Windows Update they can still be manually installed using the .msi files from the update Catalog
  • At that point it doesn't matter if you receive updates or not. If they decide not to send updates out you already accepted the terms regardless.
  • This is any product these days. Companies want to sell you products they don't have to stand behind while removing the ability to seek damages for their abuses. The reality is Windows 10 was so good that hardware sales declined. The biggest problem at this point is that the supply chain for chip market is destroying the average consumers ability to purchase hardware upgrades to meet the requirements. Microsoft has really dropped the ball this time. I foresee this is going to be a rocky release, it's a year or two too early and nothing to offer for the update. This is really going to come to a problem in 2025 when companies don't have the money to update all their PCs just because Microsoft says so.
  • Those are the companies that wait until the last minute to upgrade their entire installed base and then bemoan the cost. Those are the ones that complain about the cost of extended support. If you start today, you can budget doing thirds for the next three years and be just fine. This is how it should be.
  • Some common sense! Now just give people updates and make the sign the waiver each time and all will be good.
  • I agree, I bet they give the updates in the end.
  • Will there not be more "unsupported" devices than new devices running the OS? If the OS makes better use of resources than why more RAM and storage makes no sense, and for those of us who don't even use bit locker (home users), why the need for TPM requirement. I think there should be two OS's one targeted for business security and a light weight version for home users
  • Are you suggesting a secure business version and a vulnerable consumer version?
  • Most consumer users who manually upgrade their OS won't care about the waiver. They'll just accept it, knowing that they're pushing the envelope. Many of them will think, "Ha, I managed to upgrade my old unsupported system without paying for a new system. Ha, I win, suckers!" Enterprise will care, not wanting the liability. But they tend not to upgrade the OS on systems anyway. They will upgrade to Windows 11 as part of buying new systems, phasing out old ones over time, using a standard 3, 4, or 5 year lifespan for PCs. (Note how Windows 10 is supported until 2025 -- see how that works?) There are exceptions to both of those, of course, but in the aggregate, I don't see this being a factor to very many users.
  • People looking for a new PC won't care. People who have PCs running just fine that will likely running fine in 2025 just won't update until there is a need.