On the same day that the Windows 11 launch date was announced, Microsoft began stopping PCs with unsupported hardware from installing early versions of the new OS.
Users currently running Windows 11 Insider builds on unsupported hardware have started receiving a notification under the Windows Insider Program section of Windows Update, which states that their PC does not meet the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 11.
It requests that they install Windows 10 to continue participating in the Windows Insider Program.
“Your device is not eligible to join the Windows Insider Program on Windows 11. Please install Windows 10 to participate in the Windows Insider Program in the Release Preview Channel,” the message stated.
The move is not unprecedented, as Microsoft said that Windows Insiders with unsupported hardware would be able to try out the OS for a limited period until general availability of Windows 11.
However, the timing is different from what was expected. Windows 11 will only start rolling out to new devices on 5 October 2021, while Microsoft expects it will only be generally available to all supported PCs by mid-2022.
Microsoft has now dropped ineligible systems from the Insider program and tells them to install Windows 10. pic.twitter.com/zfALanmcuq
— BetaWiki (@BetaWiki) August 31, 2021
Users with unsupported PCs might be able to install the final version of OS using an official ISO from Microsoft’s site.
However, they may not receive important updates automatically.
Microsoft recently told The Verge that unsupported devices wouldn’t be entitled to updates, which could include critical security and driver updates.
It may still be possible for users to install updates manually.
The company has been taking flak for its strict Windows 11 minimum requirements, with many users reporting they can run the OS without any issues on older hardware.
The biggest issue is that Microsoft requires at least an Intel 8th-generation or AMD Zen+ CPU, which means many processors from 2017 and earlier excluded.
Microsoft has maintained the minimum requirements are based on a set of established principles, including security.
It stated that Windows 11 requires hardware that can enable protections like Windows Hello, Device Encryption, virtualization-based security, hypervisor-protected code integrity, and Secure Boot.
According to Microsoft, the combination of these features has been shown to reduce malware by 60% on tested devices.
For this reason, Windows 11 requires CPUs with an embedded Trusted Platform Module, support for secure boot, and support for virtualization-based security.