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Windows 11 means over 50% of enterprise devices are screwed, says report

Windows 11 Logo 6 Fold
Windows 11 Logo 6 Fold (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Windows 11's official release happens on October 5, 2021.
  • Due to its contentious hardware requirements, many people are worried their machines won't be able to upgrade.
  • A new report estimates that over 50% of enterprise devices won't make the Windows 11 cutoff.

Ever since Windows 11 exploded onto the scene with its flashy flower-esque blue wallpaper and much-hated Start menu, people have been wondering: Can I run the new operating system? And now, with the OS but a few blinks away from its October 5, 2021 release, people are still wondering that same question.

Microsoft has released an updated PC Health Check app to let people know whether they're eligible, but lots of confusion and frustration remains around the CPU and TPM requirements. Lots of people are surprised and baffled that their recent devices don't appear to make the cutoff.

But average consumers aren't the only ones who are experiencing unpleasant wake-up calls about Windows 11. The enterprise world is as well, with IT management company Lansweeper's research showing that more than 55% of workstations aren't going to be eligible for the next iteration of Windows (via The Register).

This data comes from 60,000 organizations' estimated 30 million Windows devices. In other words, not a small sampling size. Lansweeper found that 44.4% of devices made the cut, leaving the majority out in the cold. CPU inadequacy was the biggest contributor to the high number of machines not equipped for Windows 11.

Virtual machine workstations had far worse results, with only 0.23% having what it takes to pass Windows 11's TPM requirements.

Make sure your own PC qualifies for Windows 11, especially if you're in the market for a new one (after all, no one wants to buy a machine that'll be obsolete in less than a week).

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.

31 Comments
  • The Federal Government keeps old PCs around for years meaning they don't replace them every couple of years with new models. So they may have many old Dell PCs which would not be compatible with Windows 11
  • So does State government agencies and departments. I work for a large State department. There are people here who are pissed of you tabs their Windows XP machines away.
  • I'm the IT guy of a K12 school and we're in the same boat really... We still run some computers with a 3rd Gen i3 just because they still do what they're suppose to... We're not going to replace 200 computers just to run Windows 11 (which I'm not that fond of after running the insider program on my Surface Book 2).
  • Great idea for that requirement (and meaningless update) in time when there is a global chip shortage 😵
  • They aren't screwed, windows 10 is supported for another 4 years.
  • Exactly. Tech media is really overpaying this.
  • Don't underestimate how dated a lot of machines are. Back around 2018-2019, when my work was on Office 2019, there were several places back on Office 2010 and older. Several are likely still on Windows 7, and we even had a Vista user at my work post-W10 launch (he claimed he needed some legacy software, which took me all of 10 minutes to disprove).
  • Yup. Enterprise will take their sweet time to move over.
  • Majority of enterprise are on a lease deal with their PC suppliers, majority of enterprises don't update to new OS as soon as it comes out, and during transition, majority of enterprises work with multiple OS versions while they slowly roll out upgrades. This is a non-news article that comes out every time a new iteration of Windows releases.
  • Thank you. First thing I thought of was, since when are enterprises anxious to upgrade to new versions of Windows? They weren't falling all over themselves to upgrade to Windows 10 either, and it had no such restrictions. They always move at a snail's pace anyway.
  • Articles talking about how enterprise are pissed off that they can't put off updates for longer are the norm. I think that many IT departments will be dancing in the streets that they can't upgrade to Windows 11.
  • Yesterday, the corporation I work for rolled out the 20.2H release, which surprised me. We don't do every update and when we do update, it's never to the current release. I suspect many, many corporations are in the same boat. This has no impact on our day-to-day operations. That said, when they do begin to roll out Windows 11 (somewhere around 2024 I suspect), the rollout will be gradual and older machines will remain on Windows 10 until they die. If Windows 11 turns out to be more secure, they may even replace machines before they die of old age.
  • So keep running Windows 10 until it goes EOL in, what, 2025?
  • I've worked for the military and federal government for 40 years. I've never seen any OS updates during that time. The IT staff has always just left us running whatever came on the machine until it's refreshed. We only got a new OS when we got a new box. And like what somebody else said, there's still four years of updates for Windows 10. By the time they reach EOL for W10, the boxes will already be replaced with new ones running Windows 11.
  • We have some bank clients that went from 7 to 10 in just the last few months.....and they love to act like everything they do is so secure.
  • Having worked in IT, I can safely say that this is actually good. I hated with all my heart all the calls I received about problems relating to old hardware that were basically unfixable and we had to find a way to fix it anyway or we would get a complaint. There were people using more than 15 years old hardware. PCs that originally came with Windows XP or Vista. This is not okay. It's really good that now companies will have a reason to upgrade. It will make everyone's job easier. Of course, we all know that this transition will only happen in 2025 to 2026, but it will be better for the user and for the IT admins to buy a new PC instead of trying to upgrade a 10 year old computer to a new OS, as it had happened in the transition from W7 to W10 in 2019/2020.
  • As long as our offline win xp computer keeps chugging along we'll be fine
  • That's the spirit.
  • What was this number when Windows 10 was released? Windows 7? Windows XP? How many years did those "screwed" PCs have until their final edition of Windows lost support? Writing like a teenager is generally a dumb idea, but "50% of enterprise devices are screwed" is just completely meaningless with support for Windows 10 ending in 2025.
  • If Windows 11 becomes more secured than ever, I think enterprise will welcome windows 11.
  • We are upgrading all our laptops to minimum 8th Gen Core i5 or Core i7. All the old 6th Gen systems and getting disposed of. It will be a couple of years before we start moving to Windows 11. Or current image is Windows 10 20H2.
  • HAAAAAHAAAAAAHAAAAAAHAAAAAAAHAAAA Micro$haft here to screw you again and again and again and again and again and angina and again an again and again HAAAAHAAAHAAAAAAA HAAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAA
  • Thanks for your contribution, Chad.
  • Such a thoughtful well written perspective. Must have taken a day or two for you to contemplate that response.
  • This is overblown, as MS knew this and is not gonna lose a cent over it. And this is exactly why the Windows 10 support has still a lot of years left. The article is misleading because it talks about a situation where all those PCs would be obsolete if not updated to Windows 11 on the 5th of October. And that's not true. They can still get support for W10, the same as your home PC.
    Will they be looking to update hardware for when this doesn't happen? They should. But even when W10 support ends, as happened with Windows 7, enterprises can still get it from MS by paying a fee. So this article needs to be more honest and less clickbaity.
  • It's been done before and it will happen again.
    Anyone else old enough to remember when Windows 95 came out?
    Suddenly that 386SX with 4 MB RAM and a 20 MB HD that was perfectly suited to running Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was no longer sufficient to run Windows 95 and Office 95.
    It caused a huge surge in the sales for Dell, HP, IBM, etc. on top of the mountain of money Microsoft made off it.
    We now have machines much more powerful than the software running on them, and have had them ever since Windows 7 came out (AAA Games excluded, and they just need bigger, faster GPUs more than new CPUs. There are exceptions of course, but there always are.)
    The rational for dropping support for everything older than an Intel 8th Gen CPU is, frankly suspect.
    The 7th Gen CPUs would be just as secure as later versions, and run Office applications just as well, so this is not just a Cash-Grab by Microsoft to please their WinTel partners. 6th Gen, maybe. 5th Gen. Nope. They don't make the cut security-wise.
    I suspect Microsoft it covering for an unknown security hole in 7th Gen and older Intel CPUs (like the side-channel attacks) that they can't plug due to the architecture. Also, they want to really push the Virtualization function WITHIN Windows 11 to alleviate some of the other security holes in the x86 architecture and CPUs earlier than Intel 8th Gen/AMD 1000 don't support what they really want to do in the future (sandbox and/or encrypt EVERYTHING. Just like in XBOX.)
    It sucks, but nowhere did MS (or Intel for that matter) guarantee that your purchase would be supported for more than 4 years (or even 1 year for that matter.)
    If you are on 7th Gen or earlier, you just keep running W10 which will be fully supported until 2025 (and is SURE to get some W11 features back-ported to it in the future.)
    Nobody said it was forever..........and if you are REALLY upset about it, there is always Linux.
  • I'm sure enterprise clients have the option of long term support.
  • Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC (Long Term Service Channel) 2015, 2016 and 2019 will get support until Oct. 14, 2025, Oct. 13, 2026, and Jan. 9, 2029, respectively.
  • A significant change that people don't seem to recognize is that Windows 11 will not launch with (many) exclusive new APIs or frameworks. (A stated goal of WinUI is to decouple the application platform from the operating system.) In other words, Microsoft is not using APIs as a cudgel to get people to upgrade, or using the OS upgrade cycle to force developers to adopt new APIs. So the fact that a potentially large percentage of the existing Windows 10 base cannot upgrade will not create fragmentation for developers. This is a pretty big change from prior major Windows versions, and should allow Windows 10 and Windows 11 machines to coexist gracefully in most environments.
  • "Windows 11 means over 50% of enterprise devices are screwed, says report"
    Most emprise won't update to least 2025 anyway.
    This is not a big deal 😁
  • For the home user it will be worse. We have 4 PCs here at home and only one of them passes the Win 11 test. Even a 2 year old HP laptop fails because the CPU is not good enough. I have an old 10 year old desktop that has more red flags on the tester but it runs Win 11 just fine. I'm using it now.