Official Windows 11 ISOs will not hard block most PCs with CPUs that aren't officially supported

Windows 11 Install
Windows 11 Install (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • PCs with unsupported CPUs will be able to manually upgrade to Windows 11.
  • While not recommended, ISOs and the Media Creation Tool will not block unsupported CPUs.
  • Microsoft says customers should buy a compatible Windows 11 PC for the best experience.

Microsoft spokespeople have today clarified that users who choose to manually upgrade or clean install Windows 11 this fall using ISO media or the Media Creation Tool will not be hard blocked based on the CPU generation requirements as laid out by Microsoft's official requirements list.

Officially, Windows 11 is supported on some Intel 7th-generation chips, as well as 8th-generation and up, AMD Ryzen 2000 series and up, and Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and up processors. This means that if you're using a PC with a CPU that isn't on the list, you will not be eligible for an official Windows 11 upgrade when it begins rolling out this fall. Luckily, that doesn't mean you can't get Windows 11 if you really want it.

Company spokespeople have said that users can manually perform an upgrade using offline media, either via the Media Creation Tool or via official ISOs on PCs with CPUs that aren't on the official list, just like Windows 10 can. The only requirements that will be checked during a manual upgrade or install are whether or not the PC has TPM 1.2 enabled, 64GB minimum storage, 4GB RAM, and a dual-core CPU.

Microsoft does not recommend or encourage users to manually upgrade to Windows 11 via offline media on unsupported PCs, and will continue to refer to the official requirements when asked. Of course, upgrading an unsupported PCs may result in a dysfunctional or broken state, though most modern PCs will likely work just fine, even if officially "unsupported" by Windows 11.

There's also the question around what will happen with Windows Updates going forward if you do manually upgrade to Windows 11 on an unsupported PC. Microsoft's stance on this is that it makes no guarentees that monthly updates will continue to come through on these unsupported PCs, but my hunch tells me monthly security updates will install just fine.

So, if you are running a PC with an AMD Ryzen 1000 series chip, or an unsupported Intel 7th-generation chip or below, you can still install Windows 11 if you really want it when it launches this fall. But for the very best experience, Microsoft recommends you upgrade to a compatible Windows 11 PC.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on Windows 11's requirements? Are you happy that you will be able to install Windows 11 manually on unsupported PCs? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads